I have been with Northern Resource Trucking (NRT) for the past 23 years.
I began as the Executive Assistant in 1999 and have moved to several different roles within the company. Currently, I am the HR and Safety Manager.
My favourite part about working in the transportation industry is the drivers. We have the funniest, grumpiest, most hard-working people in the country, and because they spend so much time on the road, people don’t get enough time to appreciate how great they are. As an HR Manager, I have learned that what makes a person a good truck driver doesn’t always make them a good ‘people person,’ so my job has never been boring. With that being said, I would rather work with a difficult driver who gets the job done safely every day of the week. Most of our guys are just trying to get a job done, and they tend to shake their heads at the HR reminders I give them.
NRT is an Indigenous-owned trucking company that was initially created to service the uranium mines in Northern Saskatchewan. We were originally a partnership with the Lac La Ronge Indian Band and Trimac Transportation but then expanded to include several Northern Saskatchewan communities.
NRT has been operating successfully since 1986. We are a medium-sized trucking company that likes to operate as a small one. Our main office is in Saskatoon, where we have five traffic supervisors, an administration staff of about ten people, and about 150 drivers and owner-operators. We also have a branch based out of Winnipeg with two traffic supervisors and about 20 drivers and owner-operators.
I joined the Board of the Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA) last year. NRT has been actively involved with the STA for many years, as our current Vice-President of Operations, Glen Ertell, is on the Board, and is a past president. As he looks toward retirement, it seems like a good time to step in. As a Board member, I am on the HR and Training Committees.
One of the issues we continually discuss with the STA is the current labour shortage; I think we need to market this job to the right people. Not everyone wants to spend years in college or work in an office environment. There is peace on the road if you approach it with that mindset. Drivers that are goal-oriented and safety-conscious can make great money.
If you’re considering a career in this industry, I would suggest approaching some companies in advance and seeing who can take on new drivers. Often companies that specialize in dangerous goods or specialized equipment need experience, and that can be frustrating for new drivers. Once they have that in hand, an accredited training program is essential and, in some provinces, legally required. Then there are several companies out there with excellent training and onboarding programs that will get them the skills they need.