Eccentric. Creative. Passionate. But most of all, an insatiably hard worker.
Those are just a few of the many words that friends, industry colleagues and family effortlessly offer up to describe Jim Thomson, co-founder and CEO of trucking and warehousing powerhouse, Thomson Terminals and the esteemed winner of the 2019 Omnitracs-OTA Service to Industry Award.
The prestigious award, which represents the highest honour that can be bestowed on a member of the trucking industry, was presented to Jim and his wife Sally last night at the Ontario Trucking Association’s 93rd annual executive conference in Toronto.
“He ticks a lot of the boxes of the type of carrier that you want participating in your industry,” says Scott Smith, president of JD Smith & Son and chairman of the Canadian Trucking Alliance. “I met Jim very early in my start (in the industry) and I learned quite quickly that Jim is very focused on business values and helping others.”
Jim met his wife Sally in 1962 in grade 9 science class. He went to work for her family delivery service business at 15 years old as a mechanics apprentice. In 1985 he and Sally ventures on their own with a single truck and started Thomson Terminals. Today it is a leader in freight transportation full-service logistics and warehousing services with a fleet of over 150 trucks in Etobicoke, Ont.
“The relationship they have is a fantastic one. It’s very hard for a husband and wife to work together as closely as they do,” says long-time friend and partner on many charitable causes, Eric Conroy. “They work so well together and know each other so well that they can finish each other’s sentences.”
A proud member for many years of the Ontario Trucking Association board of directors, Jim has been passionate and vocal about many industry causes over the years, but highway safety and technology has been a particular interest. Jim champions on-road safety for all vehicles and is a key driver of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, whose mission is to stamp out transportation related injuries such as those due to lack of training and distracted driving.
Jim is renowned in the trucking industry for his strong work ethic and charitable goodwill.
“He never, ever stops working, he’s a machine. It’s in his DNA to never stop,” says his daughter Samantha Thomson, director of Thomson Terminals. “He loves trucking; he is definitely a trucker through and through. He started out as a driver, so he loves to be with them. It’s like family for him.”
Speaking on behalf of the membership of the OTA, president Stephen Laskowski expressed how proud he was to present Jim with the honour. “Jim is truly one of the good guys of our industry. “Always innovative and thinking outside the box, Jim has been a thoughtful and influential advocate of many of the association’s and industry’s causes.”