Spring 2019 was the 40th anniversary of our amazing president Terry Wills. A private luncheon was held at Wills Transfer’s head office commemorating the milestone with staff, friends and family in attendance.
We thought it would be fun, to have a little Q&A with Terry highlighting some of his experiences over the last 40 years.
Q. Your first job with Wills, as a kid, what was it and with who?
A. “Washing the trucks and sweeping the garage floors on Saturday mornings for my dad. I really didn’t mind washing the trucks as that meant I got to drive them around in the warehouse yard.
Q. What was one of the more “character building jobs” you did as a teen?
A. “The most difficult job was unloading box cars of 100-pound bags that contained calcium chloride. By the end of the box car your fingerprints were worn off and the salt was tough on the hands, but I learned the value of a hard day’s work.”
Q. What was it like reporting to your dad and mom?
A. “My dad was very easy to work for and was a very good boss. Mom was mostly in the front office, so I didn’t essentially report to her at work, but every son is accountable to his mom the end of the day!”
Q. Biggest change you’ve noticed in the trucking industry?
A. “The trucks have changed so much from when I was a kid. So much more driver friendly and efficient.”
Q. What have been the principal changes in the economy you have seen?
A. “40 years ago each town in our area had many manufacturing companies, each of which produced goods that needed to be transported. Now 40 years later, most of these manufacturing firms have closed or moved out of Canada, either by consolidating with a US company or going offshore.”
Q. What are some of the things that make work fun?
A. “I love working with people, it’s what makes me want to come to work every day. The people that I work with and those that we work for, our customers, make each day fun and rewarding for me.”
Q. What has been your mindset in keeping the business alive and strong?
A. “My dad had a saying that in business or in life, you are either going forward or going backward you can’t sit on the fence! I believe that saying still holds true today with our goal of continuing to get better at what we do and grow our business.”
Q. How has company goals at Wills Transfer changed over the years?
A. “When the company was in its formative days, we had a mindset that we would take any contract that involved trucks. Any commodity, any lane, we would try and make it happen. Now we are specialists with our 3PL business, and our focus is on providing logistics solutions to contribute to our customer’s success. That often means that we do not do all the transportation ourselves, as other carriers are better at transporting certain commodities and covering different lanes than we are equipped to handle. We endeavor to provide the best 3PL solutions for our customer and that may include using partners to maximize efficiencies and economy.”
Q. Did you ever have a favourite truck that you liked to drive at Wills Transfer?
A. “Our first BIG truck was a new 1982 GMC Cabover Astro (cab over engine) with a drone box. It was a nice truck to drive.”
Q. What pleased you the most when the other branches opened?
A. “Diversifying to other locations was strategically good for the company and good for our sustainability. Smiths Falls has had a very difficult time in the past with plant closures and a very weak economy. If we had relied solely on the Smiths Falls market it would have been a very difficult time for our company. By having branches in other locations, it helped us to diversify both geographically and within the industry and our branches deal with different clients that have unique and sometimes specialized commodities.”
Thanks to his 40 amazing years as President, Terry Wills a man devoted to business, his family and faith continues to lead Wills Transfer in the 3PL industry as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies.