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President's Message - July

Posted by Rob Penner, President & CEO on Jul 16, 2020 4:46:19 PM

In People

It is now mid-July and we are well into what has been anything but a routine summer. Our team has done an excellent job keeping you all up to date with business updates, Bison Live events and what’s new in our COVID-19 environment, so I thought I would take a moment to share a quick story.

I had the opportunity today to have lunch with several people who are very special to me. It was a casual outdoor lunch with a couple of friends who also happen to be coworkers of mine. Garth Pitzel, our Director of Safety and Driver Development and one of our professional Drivers and his wife, who shall remain nameless out of respect for them both. Let’s just say these are people that I have worked with, and on behalf of, for as long as I have been with Bison. As is always the case whenever you hang with Garth, there’s plenty of laughter mixed in and among the seriousness of conversation, of which this one was truly meaningful to me. Meaningful because this professional Driver I speak of happened to have taught me a lot about leadership and personal accountability, especially in my early days here. He entrusted us with his professional career and he stuck with us when many of us were just finding our way in this business. His pride in his own work and in the company he represents is second to none and he still directs his passion and energy into our business each and every day. The chat was easy with the usual mix of topics ranging from how’s the family, truck talk, what’s new in the industry, how is our business really doing and how are our people doing inside this business. To us industry folks, seems like a pretty routine conversation when you get a long-term Driver, a safety guy and an old ops guy together, but if you factor in that this particular Driver is dealing with his own imminent mortality you cannot help but count your blessings…

How lucky am I to have spent my entire Bison career working alongside someone who cares as much about this business and how this business is viewed by others as I do? How lucky are we to have someone with the courage to speak up and the willingness to invest the time and energy it takes to openly share their perspective from the Driver’s seat, in the hopes that our people and our company would get better each and every day? How lucky are we to work alongside someone with such fierce pride in what they do? I am grateful… Thank you for all you have invested in me. I value and respect the lessons learned and the contributions you have made. We are better because of you and YOU know who you are…

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a quick shout out to Garth Pitzel. I remember the day I asked him to step away from operations and take on the challenge of being our Director of Safety. He told me I was crazy and that I would regret it. I take pleasure in pointing out that he was wrong. For all the right reasons, Garth has been referenced by our leadership team as the conscience of our Driver program. To see him in action bears witness to that reference. Leadership comes in all forms and these two leaders are real examples of difference makers! Thank you both!

Lastly, this acts as a powerful reminder about all of those battling cancer. It's important for us to show our support and make a different as so many of us know someone we've lost in the battle. The Challenge for Life initiative is a simple way to make a difference. To register please send a message to Paul Arsenault parsenault@bisontransport.com or Lisa Kozyra lkozyra@bisontransport.com.