Freightliner’s Brad Thiessen Awarded Prestigious Service to Industry Award

One of the trucking industry’s most dedicated partners was honoured last night with the Ontario Trucking Association’s most prestigious award.

Last night, at the OTA’s 96th annual executive conference, Brad Thiessen, Vice President and General Manager (Canada) of Freightliner Trucks, was called on to accept the 2022 OTA-Solera-Omnitracs Service to Industry Award.

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.

Born in Winnipeg, Brad grew up in the trucking industry, but his ice hockey talents took him on a journey across North America, playing the game he loved. After a short professional career, which included being drafted by The LA Kings and a stint with the Toronto Marlies in the late 1970s, he returned home to Winnipeg to help run his father, Edgar’s, truck dealership. After learning the ropes, Brad moved to Ontario where he worked for various equipment suppliers, including CAT Engines. He went on to manage Freightliner Mid Ontario in the 1990s and eventually became VP of Freightliner Trucks Canada.

Watch a video of Brad Thiessen’s friend and family explain why he’s deserving of the  2022 Service to Industry Award:

Over his nearly 40 years as an industry supplier and OTA Allied Trades/Team Ontario member, Brad has developed a reputation for being one of the strongest supporters of the OTA and the trucking industry. He has been a familiar face at virtually every industry occasion, while Freightliner is routinely a valued sponsor at OTA’s, CTA’s and most other provincial association events.

“There is no higher honour that can be bestowed upon a member of the trucking industry than the Omnitracs-OTA Service to Industry Award,” said Zeina Gharzouzi, Senior Account Executive, Solera-Omnitracs, in presenting the award. “Throughout his career – in both good times and in rough economic cycles – Brad’s steadfast support of the association, his customers and his company has always been counted on.”

As a “true gentleman and a man of his word” – as Challenger Motor Freight’s Dan Einwechter describes him – it’s not surprising that most of his customers among OTA carriers also consider him a close, reliable friend, who is willing to do what it takes to meet the needs of customers while balancing the interests of his own company.

“Brad is always thinking, ‘win-win’. He personifies the art of the possible,” says Rob Penner of Bison Transport.  “He looks for the right angle and I’ll say he does that with the highest degree of integrity. He’s understanding of what a real partnership is, and then works hard to get it done.”

The Canadian market and its standing among Freightliner’s large North American customer base has always been a top priority for Brad, says long-time Freightliner co-worker, John Bennett.

“The thing that Brad was excellent at was sticking up for Canada.  We know we’re one-tenth the size of the U.S. when it comes to market, but Brad was always there at our corporation saying, ‘hey, don’t forget Canada’ .. and he would always make sure our customer base and our dealer base were well-represented any chance he got.”

Brad is officially retiring at the end of the year. While he plans on spending more time with his family after nearly four decades on the road, it’s unlikely it’s the last time members of the OTA will see him at industry events.

“I look forward to many more years of beating him at golf,” says Penner.

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