Category Archives: Employee Spotlight

Our people move freight. These are their stories: Joy Ravelo

Polaris Transportation Group is a stepping stone for many young people on their chosen career path… we’re happy to have their talents and help them develop usable skills they can apply to their chosen field. It’s a good trade. Joy-spotlight is one such story!

When Joy was about to head into her senior year of high school, she heard about a summer job opportunity at Polaris. Her mother, Pablita Ravelo, was employed with Polaris at the time. Joy got the job as a part-time member of Polaris in the PARS and PAPS department.  Joy transitioned from summer student into a part-time employee as a customs clerk. She collected shipping documents, sent them to the Customs broker ensuring goods were cleared at the border without delay and communicated clearance status’ with drivers. Joy quickly learned the ropes and developed great organization, communication and time management skills.

Years followed, Joy continued her education and left Polaris due to time conflicts when she began clinicals in nursing school. Joy’s path in healthcare was chosen, her schooling finished and her time with Polaris complete.

Packing up her life here and heading west, Joy is in her element helping people recover from illness and return to their “norm” while encouraging and supporting them to make healthier lifestyle choices. Earlier this year, Joy accepted a full-time position as a registered nurse in Northern Saskatchewan.

What Joy learned through her time with Polaris and her schooling was “Continue to do your best. Follow your passion, work hard and you will be able to achieve it.”

Our people move freight. These are their stories: John Florentine

John Florentine Polaris

John Florentine – Willoughby, Ohio

John keeps the rubber on the road in more ways than one!

John joined our team in June of 2016 and manages the daytime highway and city dispatch at our U.S. headquarters in Ohio. Reporting to terminal manager Tim Erich, John is very comfortable combining his planning and technology skillsets to keep communications in the forefront and our Polaris trucks running on schedule.

John has an interesting background. He served in the U.S. Navy out of ports in San Diego and Pearl Harbor. He held the rank of 3rd Class Petty Officer and was the helmsman on a submarine. That means he maneuvered in restricted waters and other conditions requiring precise steering. He did his duty with 130 crew members on board during the Gulf War. After serving 4 years in the Navy, John received his Associate of Business from Lakeland Community College. His career in Transportation started with Polaris and he is quickly approaching his one year anniversary.

John is an Ohio native and is married to Kelley, his wife of 12 years. John is an avid runner and is doing his part to raise funds for the American Legion in the upcoming Cleveland Marathon (26.2 miles) May 21, 2017. According to John, “I love the fast-paced environment, being on the Polaris team and part of a great company.”

Our people move freight. These are their stories: John Giunta

Polaris Transportation driver John Giunta has had the nickname of ALLEYCAT ever since he was a boy playing with walkie-talkies. You’ll see it displayed on the side of his truck and is still his CB handle today. John is a 30-year veteran tractor-trailer driver and has been a part of the Polaris family for the past 10 years. He has been on the same run since joining Polaris and confirms this was one of the main attractions for accepting the position. John currently lives in Courtice, Ontario with his wife of 19 years and their three children but was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, where he visits frequently to see family.

John GPolaris Transportation could not be more proud to announce that John has been selected as a finalist for the prestigious OTA Road Knight Team! In case you’re wondering, the OTA Road Knights are a team of first-class Ontario professional truck drivers who are dedicated to safety and professionalism in the industry. The Road Knights are ambassadors throughout the trucking community who travel the province to educate the public on topics such as how to safely share the road with trucks, professionalism, the numerous careers in transportation and the critical roles played by the industry. Their mission is to make Ontario’s roadways safer by encouraging all road users to become partners in safety. Each Road Knights Team member is employed as a full-time truck driver. During their two-year term, they step out of their cab one or two days each month to participate in media interviews and speaking engagements. The OTA Road Knights speak to community groups, safety organizations, schools, etc., relaying their knowledge and experiences.

It was Polaris’ Director of Risk Management, Kevin Wartman who got the wheels turning on John’s application to joining the Road Knights. “John is a very good speaker and his passion for Polaris and the industry are second to none. I will be very surprised if he is not selected as a Road Knight on February 28,” said Wartman.

“I take my career very seriously and look forward to every trip. If anyone was to ask my family, friends or work colleagues, they would tell you they have never heard me complain about trucking,” said John.

“When I pull a Polaris trailer out of the door with multiple customers’ freight on board, I feel a personal connection with each customer and take great care to ensure their freight arrives on time, without any damage. Working at Polaris is a great experience. We are tasked with online training every month, all year long, which is an excellent opportunity to learn more about our industry. Trucking demands constant training and current knowledge of the regulations of today’s modern industry. To me, this is exciting!”

John filled out the application and was delighted when Kevin sent him an email from the OTA informing them that he was chosen as one of the finalists.

“Considering Polaris has many drivers who would qualify, I am very humbled and honoured to be chosen. What appeals to me the most in joining the Road Knights is speaking with young men and women who are considering a career in trucking. Becoming a Road Knight will allow me the chance to share my experience and my enthusiasm with the next generation of drivers.”

John himself will tell you that even as a young boy, he had always wanted to be a truck driver. It had always been his passion and to this day, he still gets excited when he turns a corner and sees that 53-foot trailer following in his mirror.

On February 28, 2017, as part of the selection process, John will be required to present a five minute speech in front of the OTA Road Knights selection committee. The committee is comprised of representatives from the trucking industry including former Road Knights, trade media and the Ontario Trucking Association.

When asked for a “spoiler” on what he plans to talk about, John replied with, “I intend to say how I feel about the industry and really, just be myself. I’ll share my excitement and enthusiasm about this wonderful career I chose so many years ago.”

10–4 ALLEYCAT. We’re all rooting for you!

Our people move freight. These are their stories: Shaun Noble

shaun-nobleWithout a doubt it’s Polaris who scored when Shaun Noble joined the Polaris family.

Shaun has been a part of the Polaris family for the past 7 years. When beginning his career with us, Shaun brought over 5 years of experience as a load planner, lead hand dockworker and shunter with him. Starting as a full-time dockworker, Shaun quickly became a lead hand and a part-time shunter within 2 years. He has worked in all aspects of the warehouse during our 24 hour a day operation. He has gained a great deal of knowledge of the inner workings of Polaris freight flow during this time. Most recently Shaun received a promotion to AM/DAY shift supervisor.

We asked him what he thought the best part about working with Polaris was. Shaun’s response, “I really like the fact that Polaris treats all their employees well and with respect.”  David Dickson, Director of Operations, states “People skills are a real strength of Shaun, he is well respected by both internal and external peers alike. His wide range of skills will allow us to continue the evolution of the warehouse operation.” A goal of Shaun’s is to move up within the Polaris ranks, through positions that offer new challenges and experiences.

Shaun has a passion for hockey and his family. After work, if he’s not spending his time at home in Streetsville with his wife and two daughters (aged 10 and 7), you’ll find him at the hockey rink. Shaun has been coaching his daughter’s teams for the past 6 years. He’s currently the head coach of his younger daughter’s house league novice team and an assistant coach for his older daughter’s Atom BB rep team. 

 The last of our interview questions asked Shaun if there was anyone special he wanted to mention. His answer, “I would like to thank my wife. She has been very patient over the years with any extra time I have spent at work.” Shaun is as much of a dynamic part of our Polaris family, as he is in his own family.

Our people move freight. These are their stories: Monica Quevedo

Soon after receiving her secondary education diploma and spending some time in the retail industry, Monica joined the Polaris family in the Customs Department. She has become a great asset translating and helping customers from Puerto Rico, USA and Mexico who only speak Spanish.

We asked Monica what she enjoyed about working at Polaris Transportation. Aside from being able to interact with people from all over Canada and USA, Monica expressed how much she enjoys being able to participate in activities for two of Polaris’ favourite organizations, playing volleyball for SickKids and attending the ALS walks.
MONICA-polaris-blog
Monica loves being a part of her community, helping others and volunteering. Monica says it was her Mom, who Monica describes as being her best friend, that has always encouraged her to volunteer within a community. Monica’s Mom is her inspiration and if it wasn’t for her, Monica says she wouldn’t be the person she is today. After being a part of the Polaris ALS Walking for Rick team in 2015, Monica signed up with ALS Canada to be a volunteer for the 2016 walk in Brampton. She also volunteers with “Hands for the Homeless” and “Hope Tdot”. These are small groups on Facebook where volunteers go around the streets of Toronto giving food, beverages, blankets and clothing to those who live on the streets. Monica also makes time to volunteer bi-weekly at her church named Elevation.

Outside of Polaris, if you don’t see Monica volunteering her time for wonderful charities, you’ll often catch her spending time with family, playing with her two big but adorable Pitbull mix dogs, watching movies, being adventurous, travelling or going on road trips.

We asked Monica if she had a favourite quote. Her answer, “Do good and lend, without expecting anything in return – Luke 6:35”. This seems to fit her perfectly. We are proud to have Monica as a part of our team, a part of our Polaris family.

Our people move freight. These are their stories: Seelochani “Pam” Lambe

US Agent Dispatch,  Seelochani “Pam” Lambe joined the Polaris family Feb. 25, 2013. Since the beginning of her career at Polaris, Pam’s favourite part of her role is interacting directly with customers and being able to ensure they are happy with the service Polaris provides. When asked which part of her work day she enjoys most, she responded “The afternoon. That is when I have everything under control and feel that my customers’ needs have been met”. Pam puts a great deal of pride into her work which in turn instills her with a sense of accomplishment every day.

Seelochani-Lambe

Outside of her role at Polaris, Pam enjoys spending time with family and friends. You also might find her reading, camping, doing activities with kids or expressing herself creatively through her love of nail art. If you get the chance, you really should check out some of her beautiful work!

Another true passion for Pam is volunteering her time every year for various charities. The one which is closest to her heart is the Lucas Holtom Carnival.

What is the Lucas Holtom Carnival? The annual carnival, which happens in July, is free of charge and open to anyone and everyone. When someone you love passes away, there is often a need to DO something… If they passed from an illness, you may support the research. If they were taken from you by the hands of a drunk driver, you may join MADD. There is a desire to have them remembered, to somehow live on. After the loss of their son, carnival founders Katrina and Jamie Holtom had a deep desire to remember their little boy and to somehow capture who he was and what he meant to them. That is how this carnival came to be. Each year, families enjoy a stressfree day of fun, are given a new appreciation for the joy of children and above all, feel they had an opportunity to celebrate!

Connected through personal experience, Pam volunteers her time helping families remember, appreciate and celebrate the preciousness of life. The happiness she sees on the faces of children brings her much joy and nourishes her desire to help others in any way she can.

In speaking about future goals, Pam giggled and responded with “To get my driver’s license”. A small goal in comparison to the large one Pam has her mind set on. She plans to one day organize a memorial fund dedicated to her own son Krishtan, which would directly help the families of children affected by serious illnesses. Whether her goals are small or large, we have no doubt Pam will accomplish them. We couldn’t be more proud to have this caring and compassionate person as part of our Polaris family.

Our people move freight. These are their stories: Paulina Kubicka

IIMG_1236[5]t’s not a stretch for Paulina to perform…

Paulina is a relatively new addition to our team and is just coming up to her one year anniversary with Polaris. Her duties include order entry and rate review. She is an energetic lady, great with detail and has a passion for yoga… thus the reference to stretch!

According to Paulina,“I love my job at Polaris, it is a fantastic place to work and everyone here is on the same page about offering “best in class” service to our customers. Between the order entry and rate review I get to change up my day and I really like that.”

As a yoga enthusiast, Paulina is very active with a local studio just minutes from the Polaris head office in Mississauga. This summer will mark 3 years as a volunteer at the local yoga studio and her future plans include becoming a certified Yoga instructor. For those of you in the know, her favourite yoga position is called “Child Pose”. It as an advanced pose but is extremely relaxing and meditative. She is hoping to convert other members of the Polaris team to the benefits of yoga. Larry? Dave? What do you think?

Our people move freight. These are their stories: Remelyn Bonifacio

RemelynNewRemelyn came to us in the fall of 2007, so next year will mark a decade serving our customers. She started as an order entry clerk, worked her way up to supervisor and recently transitioned into our Customer Care department.

Like many Polaris employees, Remelyn has interests she explores after her work day is done. In her case, she enlists her husband and children to create memorable birthdays and celebrations with their custom decorations. Balloons, balloons and more balloons make up the spirited backdrop to family celebrations of all kinds. Remelyn adds, “I love working with Polaris. It’s such a great group and the Cox family has treated me very well over the years. My little side business is great fun too, my whole family plays a part and it keeps us closer as a result. Seeing our designs come to life and the kind words we get back from customers is very rewarding. Childrens’ parties are our specialty and my kids have lots of input on what goes on…they’re the experts in this case”.

Our people move freight. These are their stories: Parminder Tut

Polaris city driver, Parminder Tut, has been a professional driver since 1990. He joined the LTL division of Ontario Ohio Express in 1993 which was then purchased by Polaris, in 2005. Parminder has been driving under the Polaris flag ever since.

employee-spotlight-parminder-iutParminder lives in Caledon East with his wife, 4 children and parents. His youngest child is 10 years old and his eldest is now in university. The 3 girls and 1 boy are all active in field hockey and Parminder loves coaching the sport from beginners to advanced level players. Parminder’s wife, Sukhraj keeps very busy running the house, caring for their children and Parminder’s parents.

Everyone has their challenges and Parminder is no exception. He is still recovering from a 13 hour operation to remove cancer from his abdomen in 2013. He is back to work on light duty and has this to say about working at Polaris,” Dave and Larry Cox treat me like family and have provided me a wonderful place to work these past 11 years. After my operation in 2013 they gave me a desk job in dispatch for 6 months and now have me on light duty with no heavy lifting involved. They were there when I needed them most and I am very thankful to be with Polaris.”

Polaris President, Larry Cox, comments, “Parminder is a valued member of our team and I would like to ask everyone to join me in wishing him well with his personal fight with cancer. Be well Parminder, from all of us! ”

Our people move freight. These are their stories: Richard Couto

richard-image2Richard Couto heads up our technology department as Director of Information Systems for Polaris Transportation. With two decades of experience, Richard was most recently a senior developer with a national healthcare supplier.

Reporting directly to our President, Larry Cox, Richard has been with our company for almost a year. Larry comments,” Richard has been a great addition to our team and is moving our company in the right direction. I’m impressed with his positive attitude and ability to get us ahead of the curve with our technology.”

Richard is the father of 2 teenage boys and lives in Mississauga. Much of his spare time is devoted to sports activities with his sons, which includes coaching hockey, baseball and soccer.

When asked what he finds different about working with Polaris Richard states, “Polaris is still at a size where it can turn on a dime and respond very quickly to customer requests. My job in information systems is to preserve that agility while introducing appropriate testing and quality control…a best of both worlds scenario.”