Scott Tilley, co-president of the Tandet Group of Oakville, Ont., is the new chairman of the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA). He was inducted today at the association’s annual general meeting in Toronto.
Connectivity and relationships are things Scott feels are important in business. He bristles at the suggestion some people make that OTA is just an “old boy’s” club. “That may have been partially true prior to deregulation, but with a thousand members and a board of over 70 carriers representing all segments of the carrier community, it’s sure not true today,” he says. “What is true is that as part of the OTA process, you do get to meet a lot of carriers and some of them become business associates and friends – I see that as a huge benefit.
“That connectivity, those relationships, has helped my business and I’ve had fun too,” he continues. “In addition to all the other things OTA does for the industry, it’s the indirect things, which happen all the time, that are often overlooked.”
The sustainability of OTA over the long-term is one of the priorities Scott will focus on in his time as chairman. One of the first things he looks forward to is chairing a special meeting of the new OTA Executive Committee to review and refresh the association’s vision and mission. The meeting will take place early in 2015.
“OTA has a great history and is one of the most effective trade associations in any industry,” he says. “While I’d put OTA’s track record up against any other association, organizations need to be dynamic to stay on top; they need a vision of who they are, what they stand for, where they’re going and what they need to do to get there.”
Scott joined Tandet in 1985, when it was essentially a leasing company, and in the 1990s was given responsibility for growing the company’s fledgling trucking operation. Today, the fleet is comprised of over 100 trucks and 250 trailers (vans, hoppers, tanks, B-trains) that operate within Canada and into the U.S. The company provides a broad range of service offerings including dedicated fleet services as well as liquid and dry bulk transportation and employs over 300 people. It serves customers in numerous sectors – agriculture, aggregate, food processing, chemicals, plastics and other manufacturing from terminals in Sarnia, Newmarket, Oakville and Winnipeg, Man. Tandet’s trucking team also provides railcar transloading operations and a warehousing operation.
The company is and always was a family business. It was started by Scott’s father, John. Today Scott shares the president’s role with his brother Kirk who concentrates on the equipment side of the business, providing services to both for-hire and private fleets across Canada.
“Being in a family business is challenging enough; being in a family business in the trucking industry can bring even more challenges,” says Scott. “Many trucking companies are family-owned and operated. The OTA has allowed me to meet and share experiences on the challenges of a family trucking business, while also sharing and learning from corporate OTA members. I have found this mix to be enormously helpful over the years.”
And now, Scott’s son Ryan has also joined the business. “He has really enjoyed and benefited from participating in the OTA Next Generation Program,” says Scott. “This is where many of our industry’s leaders of tomorrow can receive training and make the connections that will develop into business relationships. This will be invaluable over the course of their careers.
“I was a participant in the first Next Generation program back in the 1990s, when as an industry we were ahead of the times. Now everyone has a sustainability/development program for their Next Generation. Our first go at this has already seen three participants become chairs of the OTA. And now as I talk about my son and the current program, I am excited to see how it will continue to develop over time. Who knows; perhaps one day we’ll establish a sort of OTA university as a place to learn and connect.”
In addition to serving on the OTA Board of Directors for the past 20 years, Scott is also a director on the board of the Canadian Trucking Alliance and the Trucks for Change Network, as well as a trustee on the OTA Education Foundation. He holds an engineering degree from Queen’s University and an MBA from McMaster University. Scott and his wife Pam have three grown children and reside in Burlington.