Trucking industry leaders last night honoured a man who helped shape the image, and document the story of an industry he spent a lifetime supporting and championing.
Jim Glionna, founder of Newcom Media, was named the 2023 recipient of the prestigious OTA-Solera-Omnitracs Service to Industry Award last night at the OTA’s 97th annual executive conference.
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.
Years after following his late father Al into the publishing business, Jim started his own company, New Communications Group, which in 1987 launched magazines, Today’s Trucking and Truck & Trailer. By recruiting Rolf Lockwood from a rival publisher and a trio of other enthusiastic partners, the new Today’s Trucking title made an instant impression on an evolving trucking industry undergoing an innovative, entrepreneurial revolution.
“The idea to start his own a magazine coincided somewhat around the rise of the owner-operator and the changing of the landscape in the trucking industry from the old guard to the new startup companies. I think Jim realized that the whole industry was changing and morphing and there a way that he could utilize that change and promote and grow his business,” says longtime friend Brian Taylor, founder of Liberty Linehaul.
The early days of the young startup were not easy, however, as the economy teetered towards recession and the new for-hire industry grappled with seismic shifts like deregulation and new competition stemming from NAFTA. Yet, Newcom persevered and quickly grew despite the challenges and uncertainty.
“It was very difficult for everybody; they were very trying times,” recalls Rolf Lockwood. “But because of all the changes to the economy and the market and all this political maelstrom, the editorial ground—it was so rich.”
Today, nearly 40 years after Newcom was born, an inscription on the company’s lobby wall in Mississauga preserves Jim’s most sacred business maxim: “We Serve Our Advertisers Best by Serving Our Readers First.”
“Jim’s idea back when we had our first meeting in 1986 was this was going to be a magazine for everyone – one truck or 6,000 trucks – it didn’t matter,” says Lockwood. “We weren’t simply observers. We weren’t just journalists describing an industry. We were trying to help an industry, analyzing its issues, and trying to find solutions. We had to be independent, but that didn’t mean that when the opportunity arose, we couldn’t work together with the industry and improve things. And we did.”
As an Allied Trades member, Jim has been one of the staunchest and most vocal supporters of the trucking industry and the OTA, specifically, says Taylor.
“There were so many times that people don’t even know about, where Jim engaged with us and through his magazine helped our industry,” says Taylor. “He has offered his services to help us further certain causes. He just cares about people; and it’s not just customers. He cares about truck drivers. He cares about what’s right. He’s very moral, and he’s very focused on the people in our business.”
Jim is in retirement today and the company is run by his son Joe Glionna, who accepted the Service to Industry award last night on his father’s behalf.
Over the years, Newcom has expended to publish many additional titles serving other sectors and consumer markets, outside of transportation. It also continues to run the immensely successful Truck World trade show it purchased from OTA in 2003.
“My first OTA convention was in 2005 and my dad walked me around and introduced me to people, including some of his colleagues’ children, who I’m friends with today. And the point was to educate me on the importance of supporting the association and what you can accomplish when have the support of the broader industry,” Joe Glionna says. “It’s certainly an honour and very humbling to be in front of OTA and many of my father’s peers to accept this award honouring everything he has achieved and in this great industry.”