Volvo Trucks Lauds North America's Safest Fleets: MacKinnon Transport and Upper Lakes Foods

MacKinnon Transport, Inc. of Guelph, Ont., and Upper Lakes Foods of Cloquet, Minn, recognized for their high standards and demonstrated commitments to safety, were named winners of the 2010 Volvo Trucks Safety Award. The awards were presented at the American Trucking Associations Management Conference Exhibition in Phoenix. Michelin America Truck Tires joined Volvo Trucks in 2010 as a supporting sponsor of the award.

“I am proud to say that our industry has continued to invest in safety – even during the difficult economic times we have been through recently,” said Ron Huibers, Volvo senior vice president, sales, and marketing. “As it is at Volvo Trucks, safety is an integral part of the corporate cultures at both MacKinnon Transport and Upper Lakes Foods, and that doesn’t happen without consistent, sustained effort at every level.”

“Michelin is pleased to stand alongside Volvo Trucks in recognizing fleets truly committed to safety,” said Tim Fulton, Michelin vice president, strategic accounts. “Upper Lakes Foods and MacKinnon Transport have shown that investments in drivers, equipment and processes pay off in terms of safety.”

At the beginning of 2010, Volvo Trucks invited all U.S. and Canadian fleets with more than five units to apply for the awards. The awards are given in two categories, one for fleets with less than 20 million miles of annual operation and the other for those with more than 20 million miles. Fleets were ranked by their accident frequency rates, using the U.S. Department of Transportation definition of a “recordable accident,” as well as their accident prevention programs. The accident frequency rates accounted for the major portion of each fleet’s ranking.

MacKinnon Transport won in the over 20 million mile category.

Upper Lakes Foods won in the under 20 million mile category.

A family-owned transport solutions provider for more than 75 years, MacKinnon operates approximately 270 trucks, and in 2009 had a remarkable zero (0) recordable accidents during more than 25,162,133 miles of operation.

MacKinnon’s safety program begins with hiring quality drivers and giving them comprehensive training and support. Rigorous maintenance and operational standards are applied to the fleet, and safety equipment, including mandatory electronic on-board recorders, is found in all of its trucks.

“The culture at MacKinnon Transport is a Safety First Attitude,” said President and CEO, Evan MacKinnon. “In addition to the various safety programs and procedures we have in place, everyone is encouraged to speak freely if they’re aware of something that could be unsafe. It’s one of the key reasons why we’ve been able to attract and retain such a great group of people – including drivers. We wouldn’t win an award like this without a company-wide commitment to safety. And our drivers are at the forefront of that commitment.”

With a fleet of 42 trucks, Upper Lakes Foods had an impressive zero (0) recordable accidents in 2009 during 2,862,885 million miles of operation.

Established in 1967, Upper Lakes Foods is a family-owned, full-line foodservice distributor covering the upper Midwest, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Upper Lakes Foods has focused on driver selection and training, enforcing safe operational practices, and creating an environment that values safety – from top management to each driver in the fleet. In the past couple of years, the company has put even more time and resources into driver and employee safety. Accident prevention, both on the road and at distribution points, has boosted employee morale and helped the company’s bottom line.

“We’re a very family-oriented company,” said Shawn Sorensen, vice president of operations. “We stepped up our safety-related efforts with the health and well being of our employees in mind. But our renewed emphasis on safety is paying other dividends as well.”


MacKinnon Transport representatives provide more information about the company’s approach to safety in a video.

Upper Lakes Foods representatives provide more information about the company’s approach to safety in a video.

MacKinnon Transport

Upper Lakes Foods Inc.

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