My first look into the world of transportation began at the age of 17 when I decided school was not a place I enjoyed being. As a so called coloured kid in white middle class school it took a lot of energy and brain power to fit in with the other kids. Life at school for me was not a happy time although I did my share of partying. I seemed to come into my own with the world of transportation. Starting in the moving industry anyone like me that was almost six foot tall was regarded as a prime candidate to carry furniture out of your house. Now I didn’t come from a long line of truck drivers, in fact in my household nobody knew what a truck was. My dad was a hard working accountant, my Mum worked for the airline, and there are many scholars in my family’s history. I just needed a job; there was no grand plan at this point. I had one thing going for me aside from my size, I enjoyed talking with people. From day one in the industry I learned the importance of customer service; the public is good for that – training! My father brought me up with a great work ethic and that carried me through in life to this day. As I put all of my energy into my job I was encouraged to move up and become a driver for the company eventually moving from Atlas Van Lines to North American Van Lines. As a driver I was paid a percentage for regional moves and learned the art of negotiating with helpers for pay, assessing costs for trips, and time management. As I moved further into my career I got my “A” license and even owned my own truck with a partner at the ripe young age of 20 years old. Salt and Pepper Trucking was our actual legal name, go figure! That business lasted for two years before I got out and decided to move to the freight side of the industry. Due to my young age it was hard to break into freight so I started in the city working for Queensway Cartage and Lakehead Freightways now known as Manitoulin Transport. From there through a connection I started my highway career hauling magazines throughout the US for a private carrier. I loved that job and finally had moved into the working with the big trucks with all the chrome. After the company shrunk its fleet I moved over to a smaller company where I learned the art of driver, dispatcher, and more, but found I always had to fight for my pay. So I made a bold move and started with J. Syvret & Co that lasted for six years. I enjoyed those years but kids came along and I found I wanted to be home more. An opportunity came up to run for a private carrier again and I joined the forces of Nalco Canada with their Chemtrak fleet. I have hauled chemicals for most of my career so I was a good candidate for their fleet. Since we were regarded as sales in a way my customer service skills moved me up the corporate ladder quickly finally arriving as Team Leader for the fleet. I flourished in that position but frustration with company policies I decided to leave after a 13 year employment with the company. I took the daring leap into entrepreneurship.
Now I had started using my art again in 1998 after going through a divorce, I even returned to school to get my degree. In 2003 I started an art business part time and after leaving my job in 2006 I decided if I could work that hard for someone else I can be successful on my own. So I started Bruce Outridge Productions doing editorial illustration, cartoons, caricatures, and more. Realizing by accident that I enjoyed public speaking I found I had 25 years of knowledge that I could share with new drivers and owner operators and opened Outridge Consulting Services in 2009. I now spend my time operating both divisions as needs arise. I absolutely love being an entrepreneur, being creative, and helping people. After adding Outridge Translation Services with my wife Carmen’s expertise we tied all the divisions’ into our parent company Outridge Enterprises Inc. The businesses have since launched many products and services from cartoon strips for many of the industry magazines to publications like Collar to Collar magazine to representing the OS Program for Owner Operators. I am privileged to write columns and blogs for many industry magazines and businesses and offer presentations and training for clients in business and leadership. In 2011 I was honoured as a recipient of the “Trucking Ambassador of the Year Award” by the Road Today Media Group. People ask why I am still in the industry when I don’t have to be. The answer is simple, the people.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a business and leadership consultant primarily focused in the transportation industry. he assists Owner Operators and entrepreneurs in operating successful businesses and small to medium sized business with marketing and recruitment. More information can be found on his websites at www.outridge.ca, www.bruceoutridgeproductions.com, www.outridgeenterprises.ca