John Giunta loves his job. An Owner-Operator with Polaris for the past seven years, doing overnight runs to Indianapolis, he says he’s never dreaded a Monday night. John moved to Toronto from Montreal when he was just 12 years old and began working when he was 16. Something about the trucking industry always spoke to him, he says. It was a passion for a very early age. Whether it was the freedom of the open road, the interesting destinations or both, something kept him hooked on driving for the past 26 years.
“All these years later, I still feel my heart race with excitement when I turn a corner and I see that trailer following me,” he says.
Of the 26 years he’s been in transportation, John has spent 24 of them as an owner-operator. He worked in automotive trucking for 10 years previous to his career at Polaris and before that, a company that afforded him the opportunity to travel across the United States. When the recession hit the automotive industry, John decided it was time to make a move. He waited a year to be considered for the Indianapolis run with Polaris; when he got in, he never looked back.
“For me, the destination really matters. I like to know the cities I’m travelling to; I like to have a routine,” he says. “I love Indianapolis. The people are great… the city is friendly. It’s got a bit of that Southern charm.”
Trucking is a transient industry…many drivers change positions and companies every few years. But, John loves where he is and he genuinely cares about the work. “The motto I leave my house with every day is: when I pull out onto that highway, with that shipment of freight…they’re my customers. And, I take that responsibility very seriously.” According to John, customers south of the border never see the Polaris drivers who transport their freight. But, in his eyes, that doesn’t diminish his responsibility. “It’s my job to make sure the shipment gets there safely, on time. I like to think there’s always a way to make the system work for you.”
John spent some time in dispatching…although he missed the open road; he enjoyed the communication aspect of that job. John also takes a keen interest in issues concerning the safety and compliance aspect of his business. “I like the feeling that I’m playing a part in a greater project,” he says. “Customs inspections, communicating with other drivers, dispatch…when we all work together, the experience is seamless.”
Passionate about trucking though he is, transportation was not John’s first love. “I’m an avid collector of vintage audio equipment,” he explains. John has about 175 pieces of audio equipment in his basement, stored on custom-build shelving units. “It’s actually more of an obsession,” he chuckles. Inspired by his brother-in-law’s stereo system back in the 1970’s, John started collecting vintage audio gear early, and never lost interest.
“I love all kinds of music, too,” he says. He always has a mixed CD or a talk-radio to keep him company on his runs to Indianapolis. Sometimes, he’ll pick up the radio and chat to another driver. “The communication here at Polaris is great,” he says. “We’re all in touch with each other… it really is like a big family.”