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.”

 

Polaris welcomes David Dickson as Toronto terminal manager

david-dicksonDavid Dickson joined our ranks just 4 short weeks ago. He brings two decades of experience in transportation operations and enjoyed a long career at Purolator after attending Laurier University.

David came to Polaris through an HR firm that specializes in the transportation industry. He reports directly to Dave Cox and is responsible for the Toronto terminal operations. Mr. Cox states, “David assesses and executes quickly. He has made some significant improvements already and has been well received by our team. He has accumulated great operational expertise and has very good people skills to boot. His combination of skills, experience and get it done attitude makes him a great addition to Polaris.”

David resides with his girlfriend in the Village of St. Jacobs, just north of Waterloo. The quaint area is a bit of a tourist spot, steeped in history and set in a charming location along the Conestoga River. With a population just under 2,000 people, David enjoys the contrast from the big city hustle. David explains, “Most of my career has been in the Southwestern Ontario region. We love the lifestyle here.”

When David isn’t keeping freight on the go or doing the 1 hour plus commute to and from work, you will find him standing sideways. That is to say, he is an avid wake and snow boarder and enjoys the thrill of these high action activities. Welcome aboard David!

One of our own rewarded for a job well done

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Willard Lord, one of our city drivers, was just recognized for his great work as a foster parent to aboriginal children. He and his wife Elizabeth, a retired nurse, have cared for 24 children since 2008. The majority of the kids cared for have come to them with health problems, sometimes severe ones and all have flourished under their care.

Willard and Elizabeth came to Canada from Saint Lucia 25 years ago. Along with the special care they provide their foster children, they are both Pentecostal pastors in their community. Giving back is part of their daily routine. Willard explains, “We both love children and find it very rewarding to see our foster kids grow and find good homes. Our roles as Pastors to the area are equally rewarding.”

The couple was recently recognized for their efforts and received the honour of “Resource Parents of the Year” by the Native Child and Family Services of Toronto. Larry Cox comments, “I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting Willard until word got to me about his recent award. I think it’s wonderful to learn more about the folks that make up our team. I would like to congratulate Willard and his wife Elizabeth on their years of dedication helping aboriginal children. I’m proud to have you as part of Polaris Willard. A job well done indeed!”

Join us in wishing George Warn all the best as he retires from Polaris Transportation

DSC_0068[2]George Warn, Director of Risk Management, is retiring. George joined our company a decade ago to head up our safety and compliance department. His duties included driver training, safety on the road and within our operation. He also played a key role with WSIB, C-TPAT, PIP, insurance implementation and compliance.

According to George, “I like to call my time here a stressful pleasure. All kidding aside, Dave and Larry Cox have been great to work for. I have had wonderful opportunities to learn and grow from the many new and varied challenges presented to me over my nearly 10 years here. I couldn’t think of a better way to wrap up my career.”

George Warn started his journey in 1973 as a professional driver and had 30 years in before moving to his career in training and compliance. Larry Cox explains, “We were a much smaller company at that time and George worked with us to assess the driving force of a specialized carrier we had just purchased. We hit it off immediately and hired him on the spot.”

George and his wife of 30 years, Judy, recently moved to Uxbridge as part of their retirement plan. They have 2 children and 3 grandchildren and love to watch them participate in a variety of sports and other activities. George hopes to retire his lawnmower too and enjoy the greens on the local golf course next spring. Other future plans includes travel, starting with a cruise in the immediate future.

Dave Cox adds, “As much as we will all miss George, please join me in wishing him well on the next chapter in his life journey. He has been a true pleasure to work with. We remain hopeful that when he is not golfing or travelling that he will consider doing some consulting for us. All the best to you and yours George!”

Our people move freight. These are their stories: Rick Rutter

A brave man, a heart-warming story

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Rick Rutter joined the Polaris team as a highway driver January 6, 2008. His last day of driving his 2012 T700 Kenworth was May 29, 2015. After 4 years of testing, Rick was diagnosed with ALS in March of this year. The disease affects your strength, speech and motor skills and Rick knew when it was interfering with his ability to drive safely and he asked to retire.

Rick started driving truck professionally at the age of 18. At that time, all that was required was a chauffeur’s license. For most of his career, he was a long haul driver and away from his wife and children for weeks at a time. He’s hauled Brahma bulls from Mexico, explosives to northern Alberta and Superior Propane through the Rockies and that’s just a few of the hundreds of adventures from his 42 year professional driving career.

Rick was originally referred to Polaris by one of his long time neighbours. Rick was in his early fifties at the time and wanted to be home with his family more often. Dave Cox comments, “Rick started off running Jersey, then Chicago and eventually became our go to guy on just about every lane we have. He did the first run for our enhanced California service this past spring and over his time with us became a trusted employee and good friend.”

Rick resides in Vienna, a small community near Tillsonburg, ON. He lives there with his wife of 32 years, Wendy and children Jessy, Travis and Reba. Rick also has 3 children from a previous relationship who also reside in the area, Lisa, Jamie and Crystal. Rick speaks about his battle with ALS, “It was definitely a curve ball I didn’t expect. It shares symptoms with other diseases so that is why it was so hard to diagnose in the early stages. It can be hereditary but mine is not and is called Sporadic ALS. I am blessed to have my family beside me and the friendship of the folks at Polaris to help me through this. I don’t know what I would do without them.”

Asked about his career at Polaris Rick said, “I loved it there. Instead of being away for 3 weeks at a time and never knowing what laid ahead, I was able to organize my week and make plans with family on my weekends. Polaris knew they could count on me to get the job done and Dave Cox and his dad were great guys to work for. They are supporting a walkathon in September in my honour. I wish I could have got a few more years in but if there is one thing you learn as a driver, there are always tough hills to climb somewhere on your journey.”

Details about The ALS Walkathon
Polaris Transportation will be participating in the 2015 WALK for ALS in Brampton Sept 12th and your support will make a difference for Ontario families just like Rick’s whose lives have been touched by ALS.
It is our hope that you will consider sponsoring Polaris with your best gift possible in a secure online donation using your credit card. Please click on the link below to donate now…
https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?SID=6182222&LangPref=en-CA&EID=161927#&panel1-2
For more information on how YOU can become a walker yourself, please visit www.walkforals.ca/ontario
Team Rick – Polaris Transportation

Nothing gives us more pleasure than promoting from within!

Shraddha and Charlene

Shraddha Tilva & Charlene Davidson

Charlene Davidson – from Manager of Training and Development to Director of Training and Development.

Charlene has been part of the Polaris Team since 2003. Her career started in brokerage, then operations and eventually training. Her husband Randy works with Polaris too and although family members don’t typically work side by side at Polaris, the company is all about family.

Charlene’s diverse background and depth of knowledge about the different aspects of the company was a great asset and led to her well-earned promotion as Director of Training and Development.

Her accomplishments are many and highlights include the development and launch of the Polaris Customer Care Department in 2015 and taking full responsibility for policies and procedures that come with being ISO, PIP and C-TPAT compliant.

Charlene comments, “We are over 10 times the size we were when I started. To share in that growth is exciting and to be acknowledged for going the extra mile is extremely rewarding.”

Shraddha Tilva – from Financial Analyst to Corporate Controller

Shraddha came to us 2 years ago to assist with month end, reconciling the bank and other accounting functions. This is her second promotion in 2 years and during her time with us she has become a valuable member of our team.

Shraddha received her MBA before moving to Canada in 2004 and completed her CMA from the Institute of Chartered Management Accountants in 2011. She currently resides in Brampton with her husband and 2 young children. Striking a good work, life balance has been achievable at Polaris as Shraddha explains, “Working at Polaris has been a great experience for me. Larry has placed his trust in my abilities and knowledge and rewarded my dedication to Polaris. We all work hard but we are not taken advantage of and are allowed our family lives too. It’s a great company to be part of.”

Our people move freight. These are their stories: Carly Graham

Polaris Dispatcher by Day, Championship Bowler by Night…and Weekends!

Carly Graham is a recent addition to our Polaris Motor Freight team and works out of our Willoughby, Ohio office. It recently came to our attention that along with her decade of experience in transportation, she has a lifetime of experience as a competitive bowler …and a long list of awards to show for it.

Carly Graham

Carly Graham. Polaris Motor Freight, Willoughby, OH.

Carly works as a daytime dispatcher and comments, “An old acquaintance encouraged me to join Polaris and I have been working here since February of this year. I enjoy the family atmosphere and working steady days has allowed me to stay active with my passion for competitive bowling.”

Some of her achievements include:

  • 6 time C.W.B.A  ALL STAR TEAM MEMBER (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • Cleveland City Queens Champion (2012)
  • Mixed City Team Champion (2013, 2009) (2’nd pl. 2012)
  • Buckeye Belle Champion (2012)
  • Ohio Women’s State Championship Tournament (6th pl. 2013, 2nd place 2014)

Looking to the future, Carly feels she can successfully balance her work, family and bowling activities. Her wish is to see the sport continue at a competitive level and encourages younger generations to participate. A happy family, on time deliveries and more strikes than you can count….life is good. Join us in wishing Carly good luck at the PWBA Detroit Open coming up in Canton, Michigan (August 27-30). Go Carly Go!

First Annual “Polaris Family Day” a Big Success

By Rebecca Muyano, Human Resources Manager

At Polaris, we need to keep customers’ freight moving…. holidays included! That doesn’t mean we can’t take a little break to have our own Polaris, Family Day celebration. Impromptu as it was, it was well attended and thoroughly enjoyed by all. We had a potluck spread that was absolutely delicious.

Both office and dock staff participated as we sampled homemade dishes from a variety of cultures here at Polaris. The main dishes ranged from jerk chicken to vegetable lasagna. The deserts from carrot cake to cinnamon buns. Others brought plates and napkins… it was a great event and all participants agreed it was very well received and definitely worth doing again next Family Day!

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Employee diversity shapes our world and expands our perspective

By Rebecca Muyano, Polaris Transportation Human Resources Manager

photoPolaris Transportation, like our city, is comprised of many cultures; Canadian, European, Spanish, French, Indian and Filipino…to name a few. Because the Polaris team is receptive to new ideas and traditions, we celebrate many different holidays and share in the foods specific to the diverse groups within our organization.

Polaris has over 300 employees, so every culture tends to be well represented. The celebrations are not organized in a formal fashion and tend to be initiated by our employees. Our team members do gather and share their traditions throughout the year.

One such celebration is Diwali, which stands for the Festival of Lights and is observed every autumn by members of our team from East Indian and Sikh backgrounds. It is an ancient tradition and signifies the victory of light over darkness. Samosa, sweets and sometimes roti and curry are brought in and shared with our staff.Picture 061[2][2]

We have a Filipino group who tend to celebrate with rice cakes, pansit and egg rolls, while others go for pizza or good old fashioned donuts and coffee. President of Polaris Transportation, Larry Cox states, “In the early years we gave back to the community by doing fundraisers for Sick Kids Hospital and CHUM Christmas Wish. We continue to support these charities. Now, with our diverse culture, we are proud to honour and support their traditions too. At Polaris, every position is important and every person plays a key role in our journey for excellence.”

Our people move freight. These are their stories: David (Charlie) Oldham

Two names are better than one for this Polaris driver! Charlie Oldham

David (Charlie) Oldham has spent his life behind the wheel and the last 16 years with Polaris. He met David Cox in the mid-nineties when they both worked at another carrier. When David Cox went to work with his father at Polaris, David Oldham followed.

The company was smaller then and David Oldham came off the road for a few years to work in the office at Polaris to care for his young daughter, Jacqueline. He explains,” I was managing an account in Stoney Creek that gave us a lot of work de stuffing sea containers. Dave Cox was also heavily involved with the account. The client, a gal named Melanie, suggested one of us had to change our name. I took her advice and the name Charlie she suggested. The name stuck and I’ve been known as Charlie ever since.”

After his daughter was on her way, the renamed Charlie returned to his first love as a long haul driver doing a weekly Polaris run to Atlanta. Over his 37 year driving career he has been all over North America and even did a stint as a local driver in the Toronto and surrounding areas.

A couple of years ago Charlie decided his days on the road were complete but he didn’t want to stop working. “Dave and Larry Cox have been great to me. They gave me a job inside when my daughter was young and gave me a job in their yard security when my driving days were done. The best move I ever made was following Dave Cox here in ’98. Polaris has always been a great place for me and I’m proud to be one of the many long term employees here.