Between saying and doing, many pairs of shoes get worn out, says an old proverb.
It’s for that reason (and the fact he wears size 13.5’s) that it’s nearly impossible for most people to fill the shoes of Mark Seymour, a man who is well known in the trucking community for backing up his strong words with real action.
For his many years of dedication and leadership the Kriska Transportation CEO was honoured with the 2015 Shaw Tracking/OTA Service to Industry Award last night at the Association’s annual executive convention at the Ritz in Toronto.
“Some people are destined to lead and Mark is one of those people. I have had the distinct pleasure of watching and learning from Mark as he evolved from a rather shy new guy on the OTA board to one of the greatest leaders the industry has ever had,” says OTA president David Bradley.
“Mark has all the traits of a great leader. He was clearly born with a strong work ethic. He’s a visionary. He has integrity. He is self-deprecating and has a wonderful sense of humour. He is a great communicator. When Mark speaks, people listen. He commands respect. Mark is a giant of a man and a giant of our industry.”
In presenting Mark with the award, Kate Rahn, Shaw Tracking’s national director, Sales & Marketing, added: “Mark exemplifies what this prestigious award is all about. His commitment and tireless support have inspired many others to take leading roles in the issues that are vital to advancing the industry.”
Mark grew up in the small eastern Ontario town of Kemptville. At 17 he left home to pursue a hockey career at the Major Junior “A” level. Thankfully for those opponents on the receiving end of his body checks, Mark returned home in 1983 with a desire to join the family fleet founded by his father Ken – a demanding, but highly respected leader in the Ontario trucking industry. Mark started off as a driver before moving onto a variety of positions.
By 1995, Kriska’s fleet of 100 trucks was generating $20 million in annual sales and Mark was appointed president. It wasn’t long before Kriska’s identity started to reflect Mark’s influence and he quickly made a name for himself as part of the next generation of bright, up-and-coming OTA executives.
A natural born leader, Mark is a vocal advocate for responsible trucking and a driving force of many progressive improvements within the industry and OTA. He was twice chairman – in 2006 and interim chairman in 2010 – and he is the current chair of the CTA. Armed with a passion for innovation and safety, Mark was a key architect of OTA’s speed limiter proposal and is a dedicated advocate for universal ELDs. A catalyst behind the CTA’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Driver Shortage, Mark is also famous for putting driver issues front and centre and demanding respect for the difficult job they do. As a result of his public support for drivers and demand that their time not be wasted throughout the supply chain, Mark is regularly asked to appear on panels dealing with shipper-carrier issues.
“Mark doesn’t ask to lead, people look to him to lead and he’s selfless in his willingness to put all his energy into causes that affect the industry in a positive way,” says Mark’s close friend Scott Smith, president of JD Smith & Sons and last year’s recipient of the same award. “Mark deserves this award because of the enormous amount of passion and time he’s put in and how he’s answered the call time and again.”
Pillars in their communities, Mark and his wife Kathy are generous to the core. Their unrelenting support for local charities, palliative care programs and youth hockey is well-known. Among other charitable roles, Mark is also on the board of the Trucks for Change Network, which connects trucking firms with registered charitable organizations requiring transport services.