NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. – Linda Valliere has been named the first-ever winner of the Rick Austin Memorial Dispatcher of the Year Award.
The Praxair dispatcher has been with the company for 40 years in various roles. She has a legendary rapport with drivers, according to her company, and always takes the time to get to know them personally.
Her priority is safety and she consults with drivers to ensure they’re comfortable with the trip they’ve been dispatched. Many drivers, according to her company, ask for her by name when they call in for directions.
Valliere received the award at the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada’s annual conference. The award was presented by an emotional John Harrison, director of transportation operations for CPC Logistics, who first remembered Austin, a CPC employee the award was named after. Austin passed away in 2017.
Harrison said Austin began his transportation career as a driver, and later became an owner-operator. He joined the John Deere fleet in 1991 and “developed a reputation as a dependable driver with a great work ethic,” Harrison recalled.
He moved into the dispatch role full-time in 2000, dispatching trucks out of Grimsby, Ont., and Regina, Sask. He received the CPC Logistics Presidents Award and was a big part of the reason John Deere has won private fleet safety awards five times.
“Because of his years on the road, he understood the demand and strains on over-the-road drivers,” Harrison said. “He wanted drivers running safe and legal at all times and always took time to communicate with the drivers.”