APTA Driver of the Month
The Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA) selected Charlie Girouard as the September 2017 professional driver of the month. For the past 10 years Charlie Girouard has been employed as a professional driver for Seaboard Transport Group, working out of the Moncton Terminal.
Currently, Charlie works primarily on dedicated reefer work, hauling loads off Prince Edward Island and making two trips to Montreal per week. Charlie has also completed LCV training and on occasion fills in on LCV assignments, delivering into the Montreal region.
Charlie says the LCV requires breaking the unit at Edmundston, New Brunswick, and continuing onto 20 Highway in Quebec with the lead trailer, and then returning to Edmundston for the second trailer and reassembling the LCV and going on to deliver in Montreal.
“Once in a while I will also fill in hauling tanker when there is a need,” Charlie said.
While Charlie maintains a busy work schedule, he pointed out that Seaboard will schedule an entire weekend off upon request. Charlie began his trucking career some forty years ago at sixteen years of age, working for his father who had assumed management of the Moncton-based Al Girouard Transfer, which was established by Charlie’s grandfather in 1925. Charlie went on to work ten years as a driver for Co-op Atlantic, and then eleven years for JP Baughan Transport.
“Safety is the number one focus with Seaboard. They maintain a driver scorecard which incorporates both performance and safety aspects of the job. Drivers can earn a substantial bonus through the program, and as result drivers approach safety very seriously,” explained Charlie.
Seaboard transports a good deal of dangerous goods including chemicals and petroleum products, and the high degree of training and safety relating to transporting those types of cargoes is shared throughout the entire company culture.
Charlie pointed out that a good deal of the input to the scorecard is derived from reports from their Electronic Logging Devices. Charlie has been logging his work time with ELDs for more than five years.
“Seaboard was one of the first fleets in the Maritimes to adopt ELDs, and while at first they were a challenge to get comfortable with I now like working with them far better than paper. If for some reason the ELD goes down or breaks, I find it very frustrating to go back to paper logs, even for a short period. ELDs are a lot less work for the driver, and they work very well for the most part. When it goes down it kind of drives me nuts,” commented Charlie.
Charlie trained as a driver trainer with Seaboard five years ago. The training occurred in three, three day sessions, and was an enlightening and positive experience. Due to his work schedule, however, he has not been able to work one on one with trainees.
Charlie has been married to his wife Denise for twenty-nine years and they have two grown children. “Having a supportive and understanding partner is important for this type of career. She takes very good care of me.”
Rick Johnson works as general manager at Seaboard’s Moncton Terminal. He refers to Charlie as a professional driver who always arrives for his work assignment well rested and ready. “Once Charlie sets off on his trip I don’t have to think about him. I am confident that his assignment will be completed on time and with everything in order. He is a professional ambassador for Seaboard. We consistently receive positive comments from the customers he deals with,” commented Johnson.
Charlie has also served several years as the driver rep to the Moncton Terminal safety committee. Johnson said that the committee meets monthly and Charlie contributes positively to the meetings and is effective in communicating issues brought to his attention by other drivers. “He always demonstrates a high level of dedication to his job duties and he goes beyond the call when doing his job. He’s great dealing with customers, operations and everyone in between.”
Seaboard Transport Group
Seaboard Transport was incorporated in 1964 as Seaboard Liquid Carriers and operated with one truck and trailer transporting petroleum products throughout Cape Breton, NS. Seaboard currently employs nearly 1500 people in its subsidiary companies across Canada and in the United states.
Through the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s Seaboard continued to grow by expanding their customer base and acquiring various transport companies. In the 1990’s the business name changed to Seaboard Transport Group to better represent its diversified business which included specialization in petroleum and bulk mining commodities, along with a specialized freight division. In the 1990’s the Seaboard acquired Lake City Transport and Harmac Transportation, solidifying its position as a major bulk petroleum, liquid chemical transporter and a bulk carrier with coverage from Ontario to Newfoundland as well as into the United States. Their marketing image became Seaboard/Harmac, growing into a leader in bulk petroleum and chemical products transportation in Atlantic and Central Canada.
In the early years of the new century expansion of the business continued with the acquisition of Great Western Resources (propane), Tudhope Cartage, (petroleum, Ontario and Quebec), A.J. Weigand, (bulk chemical, Bolivar, Ohio), GA Foss Transport, (bulk carrier) Mantei’s Transport (based in Alberta), Wiebe Transport, (petroleum, Alberta) and R and G Transport (petroleum and bulk liquid, Saskatchewan). Through this ambitious business growth period Seaboard has maintained their focus on sound safety programs and sustainable business practices.☚