Today, in our Frontline Fridays feature we talk to David Birtwell. David works as an AZ Truck Driver in the Cement Division at Stubbe’s Precast. Located in the County of Brant, Stubbe’s is a multi-faceted company that offers Structural and Architectural Precast Concrete, Redi-Mix Concrete and Bulk Cement products for the construction industry.
John Veldhuizen, Manager at Stubbe’s Cement describes the value of employees like David during the pandemic: “Dedicated drivers like David were especially important to us this past year because they kept our product moving on schedule and kept our customers inventories up so everyone could stay profitable. Without our truck drivers, we would not have been successful.”
Through Frontline Fridays the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie pays tribute to essential workers in our community. Essential workers have helped us cope with the COVID-19 pandemic in Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit, and the counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk.
What does an average day look like for you?
David: Since starting at Stubbe’s last summer, I have enjoyed driving for the powder division out of Princeton Ontario. This division delivers bulk powder cement to Stubbe’s plants and their customers throughout southern Ontario and Michigan.
During the summer when the powder division is at its busiest, I drive the afternoon shift, so I typically start late morning and end around midnight. The stagger of start times in the powder division gives us the flexibility to deliver to customers almost 24hrs a day when needed.
How has Covid-19 has affected your day-to-day work?
David: Last August I was referred to Stubbe’s Precast through a coworker and was told even though Canada was in the midst of a pandemic they were extremely busy. Lots of construction was still going on that was considered essential.
The pandemic hasn’t affected an AZ driver as much as other occupations. We are naturally isolated in our trucks and when we are in contact with customers and in their buildings, we wear masks. Less paperwork is now exchanged and many of our customers request that we wear gloves when handling their equipment. A unique side effect of the pandemic lockdowns was less traffic to contend with in the GTA, which made driving easier.
What have been the greatest rewards and challenges in your work? What have been greatest supports for coping as an essential worker this past year?
David: Making sure supplies and products needed for projects get there has been important. Management, as well as fellow drivers, have gone out of their way to welcome me and help me learn how to be a successful team member. I have seen first-hand Stubbe’s core values of hard work, teamwork, ethics, dependability and ownership being demonstrated in all areas of the business.
What made you pursue your career? What lead you to take a job in this community?
David: It was about 4 years ago that I started considering getting my AZ license. I was attracted to this career because I knew a few AZ drivers and recognized how strong the demand for drivers is. The existing shortages of drivers are big plus a lot of truck drivers are above the age of 45 and looking ahead at retirement. I was referred to Stubbe’s Precast through a coworker and went to work for them out of their Princeton location.
What was your education/training?
David: I obtained my license through a Kim Richardson Transportation Specialists in Caledonia. It was a great school and one of the only ones that is government approved for EI career upgrades. The rest of my training was done on the job
What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing your career?
David: For anyone considering getting their AZ license I would recommend talking with as many AZ drivers as they can. There are so many different jobs within the trucking community; from long haul to local delivery; from dry van to tanker. Each one requires a unique skill set and has a different work/life balance.
To learn about opportunities with Stubbe’s Precast, visit Stubbe’s Careers
Local Training and Certification for careers like David’s:
Ontario Truck Driving School:
Call Brantford – OTDS | Ontario Truck Driving School
Kim Richardson Transportation Specialists:
Course information | KRTS Transportation Specialists Inc. (krway.com)
Tri-Country Training School:
Tri-County Training Truck Driving School Serving Kitchener, Cambridge… (tri-countytruck.com)
Air Brake Training | Mohawk College Continuing Education
Fanshawe College – Fanshawe to offer Essential Skills for Truck Drivers program (educationnewscanada.com)
Z (Air Brake) Training & Test | Fanshawe College
Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada:
Statistics Canada Occupational Classification:
NOC 2011 – 7511 – Transport truck drivers – Unit group (statcan.gc.ca)
Search Local AZ Driver Jobs: