James Steed — president of the 45-truck Steed Standard Transport, headquartered in Stratford, Ont. — has been named chairman of the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA).
The position was previously held by Erb Transport president and CEO Wendell Erb, who has concluded a two-year term.
In the role, Steed will be overseeing longstanding association policies around files such as mandated electronic logging devices, and the battle against the Driver Inc. business model that sees employees misclassified as independent contractors. A press release about his announcement said Steed in eager to lend his voice to a national campaign against Driver Inc.
Steed Standard Transport is a fourth-generation, family-run fleet that can trace its roots to James Hamilton Cartage, founded in 1913.
The incoming OTA chairman first worked for Challenger Motor Freight, and in 1990 secured an AZ licence from Markel Insurance’s driving school. He then assumed Steed Standard Transport’s day-to-day operations, and in 2000 was the fourth generation of the family to own and operate the business.
“I am honoured to join the historic lineup of industry leaders to chair this great organization,” Steed said. “After nearly a century in business, the history of my company basically mirrors that of the association; sharing its values and vision of constantly improving our safety profile, as well as the image and general health of our industry and our team members.
“This industry has provided a great life for four generations of my family,” he added. “As chair, I look forward to giving back and paying it forward by ensuring the association continues to be one of the most productive and respected in North America.”
In the role of chairman, he plans to emphasize programs that attract a new generation to the industry by increasing training funds and enhancing immigration programs.
“If the last two years have showed us anything, it’s that we are an incredibly flexible and adaptable organization, ready to handle whatever confronts us. Covid was arguably the most abrupt, worldwide disruption in our lifetimes. We saw how quickly things can change. As chair, my job will be to ensure the OTA will always be ready,” he said.
The fleet executive also champions charitable causes such as Prostate Cancer Canada’s Plaid for Dad fundraising campaign, and his term as chairman coincides with an OTA effort to strengthen its relationship with Trucks for Change, the OTA added.
“Giving back is a passion of mine,” he said, “and I look forward to expanding many of these charitable relationships and causes.”