NEW HAMBURG, ON, September 28, 2022: It is with profound sadness that The Erb Group confirms the sudden passing of our co-founder, Viola Erb on September 24, 2022.
Waterloo Regional Police have determined that her death is being investigated as a homicide. It is inappropriate to speculate any other details at this time. This is an ongoing police investigation, and we will defer questions to Waterloo Regional Police for any additional information and updates.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Erb family, and we are allowing them this time to grieve the loss of their loved one.
About Viola Erb Please find further information of Viola Erb’s contribution to The Erb Group here
About The Erb Group of Companies Founded in 1959, The Erb Group of Companies is one of North America’s largest privately-owned refrigerated transportation providers. The Erb Group specializes on the timely, protected distribution of temperature-controlled perishable goods across Canada and the U.S. The Erb Group is a family-owned business, hosting over 1,500 employees, 1,100 trailers and 750 power units. Its head office is based in New Hamburg, Ontario, with additional Canadian terminals in Baden, Toronto, Thunder Bay, North Bay, Ottawa, Montreal, Trenton, Winnipeg and a U.S. terminal in Elverson, PA.
It’s that time of the year again! The 35th special edition of our bi-annual employee newsletter, The Erban Report, is here. At The Erb Group of Companies, we release a report twice a year to connect the community of employees we serve throughout our terminals and celebrate the achievements we’ve conquered together throughout the season.
This summer edition aims to share industry perspectives from our senior leadership team. It highlights the many opportunities we’ve had to display the positive conversations, changes and corporate initiatives The Erb Group has been part of.
This edition is particularly special because it includes a snapshot of the rich history behind The Erban Report. This report features a collection of cartoons from the past, corporate tales and interactive elements.
With that being said, our President and CEO Wendell leaves us with this quote. “I would like to thank everyone for staying resilient and being solutions-driven. We are thankful to be working in a niche market within the supply chain that offers our employees job security.” Bringing food to your family’s table is what we do best, and we hope this past year reflects how devoted we are to getting the job done.
Rafael Sobreiro is an International Cross Border Truck Driver based out of our Winnipeg Terminal who’s been part of the fleet family at The Erb Group for over three years. Initially, Rafael migrated from Brazil to Canada in 2013; he worked a hotel job, despite his deep interest in a trucking career. Rafael worked in the hospitality field for three years until he could save enough money to invest in the licensing and education to start his career in trucking. However, once he pursued his passion, he never looked back. According to Wheels AZ, the estimated cost of starting the truck licensing process ranges from $5,000 – $15,000 CAD, dependent on the desired class of license.
Heading north on the highway from his hotel job, Rafael would often spot our bold branding and well-maintained trucks as he drove home. “There’s no way you’re going down the highway without seeing an Erb truck,” he said. Rafael knew The Erb Group would be the company he applied to, and with his first attempt, he achieved his dream of becoming part of the transportation industry.
Walking into his first interview with Driver Services Manager, Scott Misner, Rafael didn’t know what to expect. After a good conversation with Scott, he walked out a few hours later with a new job and someone to look up to at the company. Upon joining The Erb Group, Rafael was in the process of renewing his work visa to become a permanent resident of Canada, “Scott could have said no, and he took the chance on me. I am extremely grateful because now I have been able to obtain my own home and support my family,” Rafael explained.
One of Rafael’s proudest accomplishments with us was being asked to become a driver coach, although he had initially refused the offer. Rafael was grateful he was given the opportunity to become a mentor being so young at the company. As an In-cab Coach, he helps drivers enter our workforce with a few days of training on our processes before going out on their own. These new drivers are separate from our entry-level driver training program. Rafael greeted coaching with great responsibility and devotion, “I decided to become a coach to give back – as someone did for me and all I’ve been able to achieve so far in my life since joining Erb. I wanted to pay it forward. It was my way of saying thank you.”
Trucking and Teamwork
As a family man on the move, Rafael purchased a house in a new provinceandinstantly knew he didn’t want to leave The Erb Group because of his love for the company and the support of his family and colleagues. He was also afraid of losing his dispatchers because of their genuine connection and teamwork while on route. Rafael made a seamless transition from the Toronto Terminal to our Winnipeg Terminal. He was able to keep the same dispatch team Krista, and Adrien.
Living 45 minutes from the Winnipeg Terminal and having a flexible schedule, Rafael appreciates his job even more because of its work-life balance. It allows him, his wife and his daughter Ella to drive to the truck stop together before he returns for his shift at the end of the week.
For anyone thinking of entering the industry, Rafael thinks that trucking is open to anyone willing to try it. With a committed mindset and the ability to understand the rules and expectations of the road, you will find success. Rafael adds, “Any industry has the good, the bad and the worst, but I can guarantee, at Erb, we are one of the good ones.”
Interested in driving for the Erb Group of Companies? Check out our updated job postings here. Please note that we request one year of driving experience; however, once you have reached the 10–12-month mark, we encourage you to contact our recruiting team to start learning about the application process. Email us at email@example.com when you are ready to make some cool moves!
As a driver, the sun is not your first concern before you head on the road; however, it’s almost always beaming down on you and your fleet. The sun is the most vital star in our solar system; it’s essential to the growth, nourishment, and warmth of all living things, including ourselves. Although it has many benefits, it also has significant risks. The Erb Group prioritizes the knowledge and safety of its employees, even if it’s from the sun. By taking the conscious steps to protect yourself from the intense UV rays, you can save your eyes and skin while making cool moves in the truck you’re in. We’ve searched for the three best sun safety tips for a smooth delivery during the summer months!
Day after day of deliveries, the left side of your face is often getting the most obstructed by the sun; if you don’t begin to feel it, you begin to see the effects of long-term sun exposure. A study from the New England Journal of Medicine explains how a man who had been a delivery truck driver for 28 years and used minimal sun protection had significant sun damage on one side of his face.
In other words, when ultraviolet rays transmit through window glass, it penetrates the epidermis and upper layers of skin. Chronic UVA exposure can result in thickening of the epidermis and stratum corneum, which destroys elastic fibres in the skin. These rays have also been shown to induce substantial DNA mutations and direct toxicity, leading to the formation of skin cancer. The image accompanying the study is possibly the most persuasive message to take sunscreen or SPF moisturizers more seriously, even if you think the shade of your vehicle protects you.
Sun Dangers While Driving
If you have ever driven toward the sun, you know that it can be a blinding experience. According to a 2017 life-threatening motor vehicle study relating to the sun, bright sunlight may create visual illusions; as a result, the risk of a life-threatening crash is 16% higher during bright sunlight than in typical weather. Using your visor, having conversations about tinted windows, and practicing defensive driving can save you the stress the sun can cause.
In addition to being unable to see during the effects of driving into UV rays, eye protection is essential. Eye health is often ignored but should become a priority to create a more seamless driving experience and less harm for you in the future. Drivers need their eyes every day to be able to control their trucks and manage traffic. Some of the most efficient ways to start being cautious include:
Purchasing polarized sunglasses.
Regular checkups at the eye doctor.
Never look directly at the sun. Doing so can damage the eye’s retina and cause a severe injury known as solar retinopathy.
What better way to kick-off the summer than with a new pair of sunglasses. Did you know MyGroupHealth members has access to an exclusive discount with eyewear brand, Bailey Nelson? Our employees also have access to healthcare coverage related to vision. Checkout your MyGroupHealth app for more information. As reputable leaders in the trucking industry, we believe our employees deserve quality health resources to help them continue making cool moves.
Many thoughts of next steps or backup plans are in the air in our economy’s ever-changing job market. While considering your next steps, a career change is commonly what people turn to; however, a career in trucking is often overlooked. Aside from driving or dispatch, there are many other job functions that may suit your interest in the trucking industry. The Erb Group strives to deliver honest, knowledgeable, and specialized service to our customers. Before you think twice about trucking, we’ve highlighted a few types of careers in trucking and logistics and their purpose within the industry.
It may seem like the obvious one! Truck driving is one of the most common positions associated with the trucking industry and offers many accommodations. From the option of long-haul trips or short-haul trucks for local deliveries, truck drivers have flexibility in picking their shift types, where they live and what kind of freight they’d like to transport. Job titles for different truckers can range from International Cross Boarder AZ Drivers to DZ Local Drivers and Owner/Operators. Depending on the province, truck driving usually requires a DZ or AZ license that can often be obtained within a 103.5-hour training program (generally a few weeks) and in-cab experience with a driver trainer. To be a driver involves moving freight and prioritizing safety above all else. Due to the labour shortage caused by COVID-19, companies are looking to fill truck driver positions vigorously. One of the perks of working for a specialized transportation company is that it offers job security. Since we have a dedicated niche for servicing perishable goods, we are an essential service no matter the current economic status.
Distribution and Warehousing
Distribution and warehousing are equally as important. Our drivers’ jobs rely on the seamless operations of large distribution centers and warehouses. These powerhouses require various workers and levels of experience to ensure that each shipment gets checked before an order gets loaded onto the truck. In addition to checking shipments for damages, they are also responsible for picking and locating orders according to priority using mechanical equipment. Individuals in entry-level jobs can quickly move into lead hand or other management positions. Many of our employees in and around our warehouses are imperative to completing the job with excellence and efficiency. This is also a great starting point for someone wanting to learn about the operations side of transportation, which can lead to many career pathways.
Fleet maintenance is essential in getting all our organization’s vehicles up and running to encourage practicing fleet safety and effectiveness while keeping our drivers’ safety on the road a priority. The fleet maintenance team holds significant responsibilities, many of which include performing safety inspections and maintenance on our fleet and documenting vehicle safety reports. If not for our fleet maintenance team, our trucks would be more costly to maintain and become a challenge in delivering our drivers and goods efficiently, and on time. Different positions in the department include licensed mechanics, trailer technicians, and oil and lube technicians of various ranks like 310T or 310J. Additionally, we offer apprentice mechanic opportunities. We want to invest in individuals and their potential to grow in the industry. We are always looking for people to help care for and maintain our fleet family.
Trucking logistics entails managing goods as they move through the supply chain. It’s a complex job with many positions and skillsets required to function productively. Some positions include logistics coordinators, traffic directors, account executives, and other administrative roles where many project management and strategic communication practices get used to keep track of workflow and incoming and outcoming orders.
Work in this sector has a wide range of jobs and plenty of flexibility around travel planning, moving materials or goods, and the logistics behind all trucking operations. Whether you are a teacher, technician, musician, retiree, or student, we all have common skills that can easily be transferred into a position in transportation you might not know you love. To learn more about the types of career opportunities in transportation, check out our weekly blogs and The Erb Group job board to get ahead of making your next cool move in the transportation job market!
The OTA (Ontario Trucking Association) Education Foundation is a charitable institution devoted to furthering education for Ontario post-secondary students. The foundation was established by visionaries of the Ontario trucking industry who wanted to put their best foot forward and support the goal of financially assisting students. Since 1958, they’ve helped create various scholarship opportunities for Ontario’s youth regardless of their field of study.
Although the OTA supports a wide assortment of individuals, they seek people who constantly demonstrate commitment to academic success, outstanding community service involvement and who have or plan to have an affiliation with the trucking industry. Through its scholarship program, the OTA continues its legacy by investing in future generations of children whose parents work in Ontario’s trucking workforce in both driving and non-driving positions.
Service to Community Scholarship
Since 2008, The Erb Group of Companies annually sponsors a scholarship fund of $1,000 to help support its mission of assisting future generations of parents in the trucking industry.
We continue to sponsor the ‘Service to Community’ award, honouring a student who demonstrates exemplary community spirit or support and charitable involvement. The scholarship is awarded to a first-year post-secondary student entering a public Ontario college or university directly from high school with a passion for bringing people together and working toward community causes. We feel so strongly about the importance of community service as its ingrained in our company culture. We believe, by serving our customers, we can also serve our communities and share our good fortune with families, friends and the neighbourhoods where we live and work.
The OTA Education Foundation Selection Committee will select the scholarship recipients and grant the maximum scholarship amount of $1,000. Recipient is chosen by a committee selected by the OTA Education Fund. See the eligibility criteria in detail and make another cool move in your college or university career!
Applicants must be a resident of Ontario.
25 years of age or younger, from the start of the semester that the scholarship applies.
Applicants must be enrolled in their first year at an Ontario college or university program directly out of secondary school and granted a degree or diploma by the end of their education.
Mental health in the workplace is important, specifically for individuals in the trucking industry. According to the Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, in 2022, on any given week, over 500,000 Canadians will be unable to go to work due to mental health issues. With the high demand and weight our driver’s carry, we want to support our team the best that we can. We’ve researched the three easiest ways to refuel your mind, body, and soul when times get tough on the road to encourage a safe and healthy trip home.
Truck drivers are commonly known for their grit and dedication to getting the job done; however, their tough exterior doesn’t keep them from the stresses of life at home or on the road. In fact, health, psychological, and sleep issues — which are commonly linked to depression — are often underreported in the trucking industry. Maintaining a restful sleep schedule, consuming nutritious foods, and maintaining emotional connections while on route can positively contribute to your mental and physical wellness. That is why we ensure all our drivers have the mental health resources required to live a healthy lifestyle between points A and B.
Whether you’re a trucker or dispatch member, it is essential to sit down at the end of a long shift and restore your energy to take on the next day. Truckers experience many different stressful situations on the road that require time and care to get back, keep, or improve their abilities needed for daily life. Being in an accident—or even seeing one—can cause enough stress and anxiety to become a diagnosable mental illness, like acute stress disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Prioritizing mental health and assessing your needs is important as an employee and a person. Whether you have a long drive or intense traffic encounter, everyone has different ways to soothe their stress.
Listen to an upbeat playlist or podcast
Call a friend or family member
Practice mindfulness and meditation
Tapping into your fitness is one of the best ways to target feelings of anxiety and depression. But finding a place and time to stay fit outside of the truck can be challenging. Studies have proven that companies who prioritize their driver’s well-being see fewer drivers suffering from highway fatigue. To support our drivers, The Erb Group has partnered with Conestoga College students to create a set of personal exercises targeted at the various job types we offer. Employees have access to these resources on Erb Connect. In addition, to exercise your mental health, we also offer Virtual Health Care Solutions that employees can access at any location with a Wi-Fi connection.
How Can We Help?
All our employees have access to mental health benefits and initiatives like the Highway to Health program and Not Myself Today mental health campaign resources. Our goal is to encourage a more inclusive work environment, reduce mental health stigma, and show our employees we care. No matter where you are or who you are, your well-being and peace of mind matter, please seek out help if you are in need. If you’re a current employee, check out our resources on Erb Connect today or reach out to Human Resources to learn more about our mental health support services and what you can do to feel your best.
After two years of working from home, fluctuating social distancing policies, and watching new trends in transportation emerge, the annual THRC – Women with Drive Conference was finally able to resume. The Erb Group of Companies had two full tables of employees ready to indulge in learning how to challenge the status quo when driving diversity for women in the workplace.
Diversity Versus Inclusion
Diversity, equity and inclusion are often regarded as “tikthe box” exercises for some businesses. However, it’s the groundwork required to engage prospective employees, retain current talent and become a mentor to cultivate an inclusive workplace.
“Diversity is the mix; inclusion is making the mix work.” Angela Splinter, Trucking HR Canada CEO, explained. As the pandemic continues, it highlights how foundational the practice of considering a workforce compromised of individuals of various races, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, physical ability, and other demographics is to the transportation sector. In addition, pushing back on the assumptions of traditional social constructs can lead to many pathways and opportunities for everyone if we adopt a diversified perspective from the bottom of the organization to the executive level.
A habit of human nature is that we attract people who look and act like us; unfortunately, businesses are not an exception to this fault. One of the main challenges that women in the transportation industry face are that they are highly underrepresented. Fifteen percent of women account for the Canadian industry’s overall trucking workforce, while women fill 87% of administration jobs, they represent 3.7% of truck driving jobs and 1.5% of technicians and mechanics. Yet only 5% of those females are in higher management positions. These numbers demonstrate the multiplied effort required by women and other equality deserving groups if they want an equal chance to succeed or move up in their jobs.
Additionally, if you Google search “trucker,” a slew of images of white males with tough exteriors in front of their fleet is all you will find. As a result, for every dollar a man makes, a woman makes 89 cents, and for indigenous people and other cultures, it is less. In 2022, as we create more tools and strategies to overcome workplace stereotypes, opening pathways for new talent is essential because companies can’t grow without a diverse team and fresh ideas.
We’ve embraced that what starts as a hard conversation can turn into a valuable learning experience. Women and other groups who fight for equal treatment in the workplace hold great ambition to drive change and should be allowed to do so. To adopt the bottom-up approach, 83% of our recruiters here at The Erb Group are currently female, allowing for a more gender-diverse panel of interviews. Past recruitment, we offer career pathways internally for all employees – driving and non-driving, to open pipelines for more diverse executive job opportunities. As of December 2021, we had 1381 employees, and 239 of them were female. In management, we have ten women in supervisor positions and 12 female managers; of those managers, four are at a director level or above.
There are no simple solutions to complex problems. However, by changing the conversations in our offices, terminals, and homes, we can change the narrative for everyone at work, especially women and other visible minorities, to feel supported, liberated, and equal when they show up to do their jobs. There is no specific profile at The Erb Group of Companies to fulfill a job position because we think you are cool just the way you are. To learn more about how we’re driving diversity for Women at The Erb Group, check out our Women in the Trucking Industry blog!
In 1959, our late founder Vernon Erb decided to quit his job on his parent’s farm and invested in his passion for trucking. This was the beginning of his career change and The Erb Group’s foundations. Viola, his wife and number one supporter, also decided to change her career from working at the University of Waterloo to becoming our very first bookkeeper.
Trucking has not always had a glamorous exterior and is not a one-size-fits-all profession. We believe the beauty of our industry is in its complexity and diversity; therefore, there is a place for everyone. If you or someone you know has been thinking about a career change, we’ve highlighted the top four reasons why choosing trucking as a second career can positively influence your personal, professional, and financial lives.
Trucking doesn’t always come to mind while planning the transition to a path that accommodates a more liberating lifestyle. However, as the refrigerated trucking industry is growing more essential, so does the demand for transporting perishable goods and the need for drivers to deliver.
According to a 2022 Global Refrigerated Goods Trucking Market report, the refrigerated goods market size is anticipated to grow from $56.01 billion in 2021 to $62.47 billion in 2022. It is then expected to grow to $92.38 billion in 2026. The rise in demand for refrigerated trucking nearly guarantees a spot for you in a truck. From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are proud to say that we kept our drivers driving and continued to put food on your families’ tables. The goods we transport are and always will be in high demand, providing job security to our drivers and relief to our customers.
Flexibility can mean various things and can make or break a job experience. Although the roads are straight and narrow, trucking offers many accommodations to make our drivers feel supported. First, let’s address the ability to live or move anywhere you like. With terminals along highways and flexibility in picking your routes, you have the freedom to live wherever and work whenever, giving you more time to prioritize your health, yourself, and your family.
At The Erb Group, we take flexibility seriously by posting new jobs internally before we list them externally, offering our employees easy transitions into new positions if they want more experience or a lifestyle change. That being said, as a trucker, the 10 AM morning meeting no longer exists because every day is different, and no road or city is the same.
In trucking, we celebrate independence. While you are still relying on the help of dispatchers, mechanics and other individuals connected to the transportation process during a driving job, you are entirely independent and relying on yourself as a resource for most of your trip. Such independence is not found in an office and is often why individuals seek a more self-sufficient job while remaining on a payroll.
Additionally, many different driving positions like our Cross Border role allow you to have increased independence on the road for days at a time or short-haul trips that ensure drivers return home every night. Amrit Nijjar, a truck driver from our Toronto Terminal, has shown us how to balance family and the independence of being a trucker while showing up to both roles with equal eagerness to get the job done.
When selecting a second career, we tend to be more focused on happiness and work-life balance. We prioritize a culture of caring and empathy with our employees to drive success in ways that our competitors can’t acquire. In recognizing that the 9 to 5 is no longer a fulfilling work-life balance, we understand the value of creating a lifestyle that personally suits you and your family.
If you’re interested in joining us for the long haul, check out our job board to get frequent updates on the latest openings for driving and non-driving positions at The Erb Group! We’re here to help you make your next cool move!