Theodore Roosevelt once summed up his approach to successful foreign policy by quipping: “speak softly, and carry a big stick.”
Brian Taylor, founder of Liberty Linehaul, is also known for his diplomacy and getting results – minus the stick. Soft spoken and thoughtful, when Brian Taylor has something to say, everybody listens – because they want to.
One of the most respected men in trucking, Taylor was honoured last night by the industry he spent his life serving with the prestigious Omnitracs-Ontario Trucking Association Service to Industry Award at the OTA’s 91st executive conference in Toronto.
The award pays tribute to an individual who, by their commitment, vision, leadership and unstinting service, has made an outstanding contribution to the development and success of the truck transportation industry.
“As a person, Brian is modest. But he commands a tremendous amount of respect for his balanced and progressive approach to issues, especially concerning safety and carrier accountability,” says OTA president Stephen Laskowski. “He has tremendous insight into how we should advance as an industry.”
Brian grew up in Kitchener, Ont. He was the son of a cattle farmer and truck driver who loved everything his dad did and wanted to follow in his footsteps. He reportedly could drive a truck long before he could drive a car. Supposedly, he first piloted a commercial truck at 8 years-old.
As a young man, Brian had only two gears – work and playing hockey. He started hauling gravel and worked as a diesel mechanic. Brian formed Liberty Linehaul in 1987 as an LTL and truckload carrier specializing in international freight between Canada and the United States. The company currently has a fleet of 48 tractors and 95 trailers operating out of Ayr, Ont.
Brian served as chairman of the OTA between 2010-2012, proving that small carriers had a strong voice at the association. But his influence dates back years before he took the helm of the organization. One of his first roles came during the so-called “wheel-off crisis” of the mid-1990s, where he drew on his background as a former mechanic to try find solutions.
He was ultimately appointed to the OTA’s executive committee and championed landmark safety initiatives such as mandatory speed limiters and helping to map out the EOBR mandate as well as combating the driver shortage. He has also been a strong advocate for trucking and has worked to improve the industry’s image in media and through public relations.
One characteristic that has remained a constant throughout Brian’s life is his passion, unrelenting dedication and his work ethic. It has propelled his company to punch way above its weight in both business and as a leader in the industry.
“His integrity, his honesty and his loyalty are unquestionable,” says longtime friend Dan Einwechter, CEO of Challenger Motor Freight. “He leads by example and inspires everyone around him to elevate their game as well.”
Adds Mike Ham, VP of Omnitracs: “Brian is living proof that you don’t need a lot of trucks to influence change. His commitment to serving the OTA, the industry, and his customers is remarkable. On behalf of Omnitracs, I am so proud to present him with this most deserving award.”