FACILITYCalgary publisher Mark Kolke, in conversation with Lorraine Card
July 26, 2016
Perhaps you wonder how a woman becomes head of an important organization in such a male-prominent industry? Me too.
Lorraine Card has 22 staff in Edmonton and Calgary – her organization provides more than 500 training modules. And their simulators are there for the industry to use, either at their training centers or ‘taken to employers’ to facilitate ongoing training.
Trucker boss? She’s President of the Alberta Motor Transport Association – not the boss of, but certainly a prominent leader in the industry. Who is she, how did she get there – and what is she up to? I set out to find out …
She was born in Regina, raised in Calgary (with time in Germany and Victoria too), second of four children (she has two brothers, one sister), her mom stayed at home and later worked in daycare. Dad was in the military – so the family had some travel adventures, but Calgary is HOME for Lorraine and she’s resisted leaving on several occasions. A graduate of Lord Beaverbrook High – her dream of heading off to university in Montreal (she excelled at French from third grade days) was nixed by circumstance. Single mom, worked hard (20 years at Greyhound) through administration and safety to management, Diversified Transportation – and then her work in government relations/industry issues around safety and regulation … worked for government. “Government has a different pace than industry!” She underscores that she still works WITH government.
She’s enjoyed her work in safety – as a trainer, and leader. She’s gone through all the bus training programs herself (when she was running training programs for Greyhound) and done some driving too. She’s licensed to drive those highway buses. She’s not driven the big highway rigs outside the simulator room. I came away with a sense she enjoys ‘being one of them, one of the drivers’ rather than uber-manager with a lobbying role. Seems she has all those roles.
Her eyes light up when she name-drops a bit – people she’s worked with on her board, industry leaders – and it seems they have confidence in her. When she was looking to make a change of career and end her Edmonton and Red Deer commute challenge, AMTA came calling. They were in the middle of recruiting a new CEO – and she was invited to compete. And she won the contest.
I must say I came away with an appreciation of just how much I don’t know about the transport industry and how it is regulated – Lorraine walked me through the intersecting roles of WCB, safety focused organizations like ENFORM and Alberta Transportation, the focus on safety, policy, reduction of emissions and explains her navigation technique as “willing to listen”.
Why are you successful? “Because I wanted to be.”
What has held you back? “Probably my desire to stay in Calgary – because my late mother was here, and because I want to stay in Calgary to be close to my son and his family. Otherwise, nothing has …”
Before I left – most of my questions asked and answered, I got a tour of the AMTA facility and a chance to drive a big rig (tractor and 53’ trailer) for the first time. OK, it was in the simulator. I was kindly told I got a good rating for a first time effort. I was offered a ‘try a highway bus’, but we’ll leave that to another day. I drove that rig around a corner, straightened out - and then backed it up and parked it between two parked rigs. I've never done an interview with that kind of parking challenge before. Maybe, one day, I'll have to try the real thing ...
How do you see your business – a safety association – going forward over the next quarter?
… we are doing well. We’ve lost some membership in this economy. Our COR and PIC programs are going well, attendance at our conferences and safety sessions are strong – so I see us as healthy and poised for the future. We will soon have a new building in Edmonton and we’ll have a driving track.
And over the next five years?
… we will continue to explore new partnership opportunities around safety (i.e. Edmonton International Airport). New technology and training will engage and involve drivers more with their companies all year round, not just for training sessions. Our industry is always going to need safety.
What qualities distinguish your preferred colleagues, collaborators and suppliers? … competitors?
… skill, experience, ability for a ‘fit’. People who have ability to get the job done; we do a lot of work with a small number of people …
What distinguishes you that causes people to choose Lorraine Card/AMTA, and why do they do business with you, why have they hired you, over your competitors?
… I’ve been in the industry a long time – I know the issues, I know the key people. I’m involved, committed and passionate. Hard work. We are in our 78th year serving the industry in Alberta, so it looks like we are doing well.
What do you lose sleep over, what do you worry about?
… I do my worrying daytime! Are we doing the right things? We’ve gone through lots of changes and growth – shaken things up a bit, and we have a strong staff, but I worry about our industry. We find 80% of our industry member are companies with less than five vehicles - and I struggle with 'how do reach them?'.
Who or what influenced you most – that has made a difference in your life, or that was a major turning point?
… I’ve worked with a lot of very dynamic people in my Greyhound days, in government, the Colbourne family. My family. My cancer. I had breast cancer in 2009 – underwent chemo and radiation, drugs … and I’m cancer free. My family run with me in Run for the Cure – our team is called Bossum Buddies.
… time spent with my grandsons (one and three), golf … I’ve got new clubs. Handicap? I don’t keep score. Travel – love Europe, Maui. Theatre.
What do you read?
… mysteries. I like to get lost in a book. Lots of non-fiction. Books on leadership development …
… 2014 Nissan Juke. [what, not a truck?] … I love my Juke!
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