Jean-Claude Fortin, president and CEO of J.E. Fortin in St-Bernard de Lacolle, Que. has been named chairman of the Canadian Trucking Alliance for a two-year term. He replaces Scott Smith of JD Smith & Sons.
The other officers confirmed by the CTA Board were: Greg Munden, president, Munden Ventures and former chair of the BC Trucking Association, who was appointed CTA’s vice-chair; and Greg Arndt, VP, Jade Transport and former president of the Manitoba Trucking Association, was named Secretary Treasurer.
The announcement was made today at the Alliance’s (virtual) annual general meeting.
Fortin, a vocal advocate for responsible trucking, was present at the “Accord of Vaudreuil” when CTA was formed, and is one of the longest serving and loyal members of the CTA board of directors. He is the third-generation chief of the steadfast, 97-year-old, family-run company of 75 trucks, 160 trailers and 95 employees. The company – founded by Felix Fortin in 1923 – is one the oldest family-owned fleets in Quebec, strategically located next to the US border and hauls mainly temperature-controlled goods and fresh produce. They also operate TSX Transport which specializes in step deck loads and both divisions mostly operate throughout Quebec and the Eastern Seaboard down to Florida.
Like his father Eugene, who worked until he was 90, Jean-Claude is a dyed in the wool trucker, who still loves climbing behind the wheel and hauling a load himself.
“I love trucking,” says Fortin. “The industry and CTA, in particular, has given me and my family so much and opened up so many doors for my business. As chair, this is my chance to give back to the industry and the community. I believe that in order to have a viable industry, you need to have an effective Alliance of provincial associations proudly working together.”
The Fortin family is actively involved with the QTA. Jean-Claude has been part of the QTA’s executive board for more than 20 years and his eldest daughter Annie is now the secretary of executive committee at the QTA. Caroline, his youngest daughter, will be chair of the annual QTA conference, which is expected to be held in 2021.
Having weathered his share of industry turmoil over his 60 years at the company`s helm – from deregulation to 9/11 to a series of engine and equipment compliance overhauls – this veteran is well poised to see the industry through an era of expected technological and market disruptions.
“I have seen many changes in trucking and there will be many more in the near future, even in the short time before I hang up my keys,” he says. “I look forward to the challenge of steering the Alliance through these interesting times.”
Fortin takes over an Alliance that is managing many vital issues such as tackling the problem of Driver Inc., implementing third-party ELD certification, enhancing safety and training standards across the country in the wake of the Humboldt tragedy, navigating the industry through COVID-19 and ushering in a series of new labour policies.
As chair, Fortin will also oversee CTA’s most ambitious public relations effort ever. Next year, the Alliance will roll out a momentous, national social media campaign, aimed at improving the image of the industry and highlighting new career paths to young people.
“The severe driver shortage we have faced for decades in this industry is only expected to worsen,” he says. “It’s my goal that, before I retire, the industry is in a strong position to creatively promote all its benefits and the opportunities it offers to a new generation of workers.”