Barb McGrath 0:21
Our guest today wears many hats. She’s a top notch chauffeur and enviable snack maker. And I think she’ll tell us just kind of as a hobby on the side, she’s the president of CSD transport, a third generation family business, CSA transports gas and diesel. You know, I’m not sure if it’s across western Canada, Canada or Saskatchewan, but she can tell us, the company started back in 1930. And on the side, they still toss a few groceries around as well. She’s active with the Saskatchewan Trucking Association and Canadian trucking Alliance. She’s leading the way in changes in this industry. Heather day joins us today as a nominee with the YWCA of Regina women of distinction as a female leader committed to creating a thriving and positive culture within her business and the industry. She’s an entrepreneur, a wife and a mom. Heather, thank you for being here.
Heather Day 1:25
Oh, thank you, Barb. Yeah. It’s lovely.
Barb McGrath 1:30
It’s a pleasure to have you here. So. So tell us a little bit about yourself, because you’ve definitely got a full plate.
Heather Day 1:37
Yes, yep. But I like it that way. So keeps me sane. So. So I grew up in Regina. And I guess my first foray into trucking was just as a kid, my sister and I would go out to the shop with my dad on weekends. And he would be doing payroll, and my sister and I, our job was just to kind of bounce around and mom was a nurse at the hospital. So he would sleep on weekends. So that was kind of how we were first introduced to just being around trucks and those wonderful sights and smells that go with diesel engines. And, and from there, as I got to be a bit older than sometimes I’d help out in the office during summer holidays, to provide some cover for the bookkeeper. But it was always just kind of part time and ducking in here and there just to lend a hand. And the business was still small enough at that point that I knew that, you know, when I finished high school or university, there wasn’t going to be a full time job available. But at some time, Dad was probably going to retire. And, you know, I was already kind of thinking about the possibility that that might be something that I wanted to do down the road. So in the meantime, took a completely different path. And I knew I had to lose a boat. I thought 35 years old and ended up being less than that. I had my own separate career as a high school music teacher and teaching over in London, England at that time, and I got a lot of really fabulous experience that a lot of people think, well, how does that relate to trucking, but we can get into some more of that later. But a lot actually carries over. So then when dad was ready to retire, then I bought the business from him. And with a business partner as well. And it was 2012 and just kind of dove in kind of face first.
Barb McGrath 3:50
That’s a good analogy. Hopefully, there was no faceplant along the way.
Heather Day 3:55
Oh, well, you know, a few bumps. But yeah. So yeah, it was certainly quite an adventure. At the start, you know, you’re just getting in. I already have a little bit of background, but just learning so much more of the details and the day to day operations. I have a little bit of awareness of some of the challenges. One of them, is that spacing, the whole industry is a driver shortage, which is going to come? Yeah, so that’s going to become fairly critical, probably in the next five to 10 years. We’re already seeing the impacts of it. And but yeah, that was one of the main ones. So just starting to get to work on that. How do we make sure that we’re an attractive place to work and and even broader than that, how do we make the industry attractive to people who maybe wouldn’t have considered it before? Just to make sure that there is that strong pool of drivers.
Barb McGrath 4:57
So let’s start there. Then, Heather, how Make the industry attractive to both men and women.
Heather Day 5:04
So that’s a great question because it is very male populated right now. And I think one of the things historically, is that the trucking industry hasn’t really talked about themselves very much. They’re very, I always think of it as being a very backstage industry. Behind the scenes, most people don’t think about how their groceries got to the shelves, or how the gas got to the gas station. Or all those fancy crafts supplies over at Michael’s.
Barb McGrath 5:38
Well, isn’t there like this magic pipeline underground? And it’s like the grocery fairies that bring them in? That’s what my kids think it is. They also think there’s fairies that clean up around here? Oh, yes,
Heather Day 5:49
Yes, we have the cleaning up ferried our house too. Yeah, but you know, and people don’t really think about it. And I kind of had that lightbulb moment when I was a kid, and you know, just because it was a family business. So there was actually it was pretty clear memory was probably about eight years old. And there was this huge Blizzard outside, like it was dark and blowing and drifting up against the patio doors. And we had hold all of our like a whole bunch of blankets down to the family room and kind of made a nest, watching movies and eating popcorn, and all kind of snuggled in cozy and warm. And then the phone rang. And, and so we hit pause on VHS and you know, dad went in the kitchen and was on the phone with his driver. And I could hear them talking about it was some smaller towns in Manitoba that they were talking about, I didn’t really understand what was going on. But knew that the driver was having some kind of delivery trouble. And, and the gas station was actually too full to hold off. So they had to figure out where else they could send it. And so, back in those days, it wasn’t computerized. And if another gas station in a nearby town didn’t answer their phone, then you’re kind of guessing. And so they were figuring out a plan for where this driver would go. So he could unload the rest of the fuel, and came back into the room after the call. And I looked outside at the blizzard. And it was horrible. and looked at dad and just kind of asked like, why is that driver out there? And, and dad just said, well, the town needs their fuel. And he was so straightforward and neutral and Matter of fact about it, that it just kind of clicked in an epiphany that towns need their fuel, and if nobody takes it to them, and if that driver isn’t taking it to them, it doesn’t get there. So it just really drove home to me the importance of of the trucking industry. For us, especially the fuel aspect of it. Because without the fuel, everything just grinds to a halt.
Barb McGrath 8:13
Yes, it really does. You know, and that’s, that’s such an interesting story. I, I had just never thought of it that way, you know myself before, because you’re right. I know that a transport brings in the gas. But when you’re in a smaller town, here in Western Canada, you are 100% reliant on the trucking industry to get your groceries in to get your fueling to get your school supplies in. Absolutely everything. Right? There is no magic fairy, except at home to clean up after kids. I never thought about that. So okay, let’s fast forward. So, you know, number of years ago back in 2012, when you bought the business from your dad, and I’m guessing just based on a conversation that you had a bit of a vision for where you wanted to take this company. Tell us a little bit about that, if you can.
Heather Day 9:04
Well, one of the factors, you know, when anytime that someone is selling a business, you’re always wondering, who is the buyer going to be? And, you know, often once once businesses will no longer have control on how they manage employees, how they deal with all of those safety issues. And strategies. And, you know, I know I’ve gotten to know the drivers when I was working there part time, but they were pretty fabulous. And just wanted to make sure that they were looked after. So that was part of it. And but also a little bit beyond that, that you know, they are little they’re kind of like superheroes that nobody knows about the day to day stuff that they you know, just help out with and pitch in and there’s so Professional, just kind of wanted to see if I could shift things a little bit so that the public can see a little bit more about what truck drivers really are like. Because certainly the stereotypes and images that we have are not often very positive. But that really isn’t the reality.
Barb McGrath 10:21
You know, and I know you’re correct me, everyone has this industry of the trucking industry to, you know, it’s a dirty industry, it’s man, and they’re overweight, and they’re out of shape. You have to be in fairly decent shape to sit in a vehicle that long and to do the work that’s required to be done, when you’re when you’re in that industry. So as you think about, you know, where the industry is going, how do you see yourself, you know, attracting more women into the industry? How do you see yourself starting to change people’s perception of the industry?
Heather Day 10:58
So Well, just to change the perception, we just need to get over ourselves and get out there and talk to people about it. It’s part of it. There have been this year, some social media campaigns, as well put together by the SAS Trucking Association. It’s called we are trucking. And then the Canadian trucking Alliance, at the start of COVID, they had a thing a trucker campaign on social media. Pretty, it was nice. And then, but then to attract women, because there are women in the industry. Not very many. But, you know, it is, by and large, it’s a very welcoming industry for women to get into. So part of it is, again, just talking to women and saying, okay, so we know that these are all the things that you think about us that were stinky and a bunch of gruff old guys. But once you actually start to talk to them, and if you can introduce them, even then they start to realize that actually, okay, the perceptions that the general public often has are not true. And oh, there are actually bathrooms out there. And, yeah, so. And, you know, one of the things like, even for like, nursing moms, dump trucks often have a little fridge and a microwave. So if they want a pump, you can go ahead and do that. And things are good. Just letting people know that, you know, there are a number of jobs out there for truck drivers who still get home at the end of every day. Yeah, yeah. It’s not necessarily being away for weeks on end. Although if you want to do that, you still can. But yeah, and there are even jobs where it’s it is like nine to five, you know, and you go into your shift, and it’s not sitting down at a desk, it’s out and you get to talk with people and customers. Yeah, you’re on the move. So.
Barb McGrath 13:07
So you know, that’s interesting. So there’s a short haul trucking, and then there’s the long haul trucking. And so is your business primarily short haul?
Heather Day 13:15
What we consider ourselves regional haul? So yeah, so we deliver through access capture on in Manitoba. And we do have a couple of what we consider local, just city drivers. So they’re just in Regina, from the refinery to local gas stations. But all of our drivers get home, out and back within the same shift. So sleeping, yes, yeah. So they get sleep in their own beds. And, you know, we, we have some single dads were able to work around daycare schedules. And, you know, like, if someone has hockey practice or piano lessons or ballet recital, you know, we fill that in. And because I’m a mom, too, so, you know, I know what that is like. Yeah, exactly.
Barb McGrath 14:03
You know, and I think nowadays, it’s, it’s become more important to both genders to be able to, you know, tuck the kids in at night or, you know, be there when they wake up in the morning, whatever it might be. Every family kind of has their preference, but, but as a society, I think it’s become more important to us to be available and you know, present in those moments. I know I left a job, simply because I was, you know, it was I was tucking my kids in twice a week instead of seven days a week. And I was like, Okay, this is not why I got into parenting, though. Definitely. there’s times where I’m like, Hmm, maybe that wasn’t so bad. Right. Now that we’ve checked our kids in, you know, every single night for six months without not being able to see them every moment of the day. So yeah, good sex one. So let’s talk a little bit about the nomination with the YWCA. I would think that this is a fantastic thing, both for you personally, personally. But especially for the industry to start to bring profile to women leaders in the industry, which, you know, even a woman leader in this industry is not typical at this point in time. Right. So let’s talk a little bit about that. What does that mean to you? And what do you think it means to the business?
Heather Day 15:20
For me, personally, it was very humbling. And I think when we spoke earlier, it was actually two separate women who approached me. And we don’t know each other. And when the First Lady mentioned that, you know, she wanted to nominate me, and, of course, I had to get my permission. I thought, Okay, well, that’s, that’s very nice and flattering, but maybe, maybe, I don’t know if I’m quite in that league. And then, and then the second lady approached me as well. And it was about a week later, and I thought, okay, they might have a point. So yeah, yeah. And I talked about how the trucking industry is sometimes backstage, and you’re just behind the scenes carrying on and that is sometimes my comfort zone as well. So just to stay in the background and just get everything done. And but certainly realized, for the industry, and for women who are entrepreneurs or considering becoming entrepreneurs that, you know, there, it is important to be visible as well. So,
Barb McGrath 16:33
Yes, you know, one of the things that I’ve talked about on LinkedIn is, in a lot of cases, you see these announcements corporations announced to their new CEO is going to be, and more often than not, let’s just say, like, I want to say it was GM or something. They had their first female CEO, and everybody was all Oh, kudos, that’s wonderful. And I thought, I can’t wait till we get to a place in this world where it doesn’t matter what your gender is, that the announcement is the same. And so the fact that they say, this is our first woman CEO, who cares, it shouldn’t matter what the person’s gender is, right? Here’s our new CEO, period, end of story. And so there’s still these traditionally female, traditionally male jobs. And I often wonder, will my kids still see those traditional roles? Or how many generations will it take before what we see is traditional today, will fade will just blend into the background? I’d love to think it’s my kids generation, your kids generation, but you know, realistically, what do you think? Is it?
Heather Day 17:47
Um, I’m optimistic. And yeah, I absolutely agree that, you know, it, it shouldn’t be about, oh, here’s, here’s the first woman or, you know, this is now our fifth woman that we’ve appointed, look at our great track record, or, you know, it should just be the norm. And, and actually, that is one thing about trucking is that, you know, I came in as one of the few women and people just kind of like, okay, no big deal. And it was actually a bigger deal for me. Worrying about, you know, because I had some preconceived ideas as well, but maybe it was going to be an old boys club. And so actually, my first few firt my first year, I think, on the board of the sta, I think I barely said a peep in the board meetings, because I was just kind of worried about, you know, is this a boys club?
Heather Day 18:37
How do I navigate this? I can’t talk about hockey or any kind of sports. I live in a different world from that. Yes. You know, it really as I got more settled, realized it was me that was holding myself back. And, and they were completely fine with me being a girl. So when my first baby came along, well, actually, she was two and a half months old when I joined the board for the SAS Trucking Association. Okay. Yes. And so navigating that, you know, when you’re because I nursed, so you kind of have some time bombs attached to you and you have to navigate how do we get through the schedules of the board meetings and all these things and not need to go change my blouse so late.
Barb McGrath 19:33
It’s so true.
Heather Day 19:34
I remember well, yeah, yeah. So, um, you know, so some of that. I realized more and more once I settled in, you know, it was things that I was maybe worried about, and that, at least in the trucking industry, I didn’t need to be. So it’s been really wonderful and supportive, and we don’t have generally have those. This is our first one. I’m kind of announcements. That’s right.
Barb McGrath 20:01
Yeah, so I guess knowing that it’s it’s mainly regional hauling, and because people are home at the end of the day, you probably don’t have husband and wife traveling together as much. But I suppose, you know, if the opportunity presented itself, if you had, you know, a young family and they’ve got a little one, everybody could hop in the truck and travel and
Heather Day 20:22
For that, for free, that is sometimes a possibility. But for fuel, then we, yeah, we have some different things there. Where, yeah, we don’t want passengers unless it’s like an emergency cars, you’re taking them to the next point. Just just,
Barb McGrath 20:44
I suppose there’s legislation and regulation that prohibits that type of thing.
Heather Day 20:48
And it’s sort of it is actually a bit of an industry practice. So yeah, okay.
Barb McGrath 20:54
Yeah, that makes sense. So that’s interesting. So, female lead in your organization, female lead with the Saskatchewan Trucking Association right now. So we’re really starting to see more female flavor in the industry? Are you seeing and feeling the difference? Yet of the female presence? Or? Or do you think that the industry was more ready and accepting of you, then what the general public would have thought?
Heather Day 21:24
I think the industry was ready. So yeah. And again, going back to that the, you know, that the images that we hold about the industry or not the reality like it was there, I just kind of stepped in. And everyone welcome to me and answered any questions I had. And I know certainly over the last decade, there have been a number of programs. One is called Women building futures. And that’s out not Alberta, but where it’s, it’s actually selecting a group of women who are interested in it and then taking them through. It’s a slightly different training course than say what I did when I got my one a driver’s license. But it kind of helps to build confidence and some work skills as well. And now the sta is also working on on a similar project, with the YWCA in Saskatoon to help to get women into the industry as as truck drivers.
Barb McGrath 22:35
Oh that’s very cool.
Heather Day 22:36
Yeah, yeah, it’s exciting. And yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing that one unfold as well. Cuz like the parts industry and service. So like all the mechanics, they’re facing a shortage as well of people. And so they have programs there, again, like mentoring women to become mechanics and things as well. Yeah.
Barb McGrath 23:04
You know, I used to ride with a cycling team here in Regina called smokin hot. And it’s a lady cycling team. There’s probably 90 or 100 women who rode with this team. And one of the gals I used to ride with, she’s a heavy duty mechanic. And in her particular shop floor, she was the only woman on the floor. And I remember asking her like, What’s that like? And she’s like, it’s perfect. She goes, I don’t have to put up with any of the traditional female politics. Yeah, the guys are just the guys. They are who they are. She said, you know, when she first got there, there was a little bit of I’ll say jockeying in terms of where she was going to fit in. She was working on her journey, man, I believe. So you know, there was a little bit of that in the beginning. But she said, like, she she had no intent of ever leaving the industry. She loved it. absolutely loved it. And, yeah, like that’s, you know, you hear stories like that. And you think like, that’s awesome. Because there’s so many instances where women and girls are still told, you know, here’s the careers that would be good for you. Not stuff drives me nuts. So yeah, hearing stories we’ve had is a wonderful. Heather, we only have a couple of minutes left. And so one of the questions that I like to ask all of my guests I know, I can see by the look on your face, you’re like really? One of the questions that I like to ask all of my guests is, if you had, you know, kind of that nugget of wisdom, whether it was a woman thinking about entering a non traditional industry or a woman, you know, aspiring to be a CEO. What would that that little nugget be that you might want to share?
Heather Day 24:46
Try to be aware of your own personal preconceived ideas and try and figure out if they are holding you back. That would be one of them. And Yeah, cuz I do sometimes think, you know, when you’re going into a non traditional role or, or be taking on a leadership role, then sometimes, you know, and if there aren’t a lot of other role models to look at and say, okay, she did it, this is how she did it, I can use some of that, you know, you you will be, you do have to kind of figure things out for yourself. So if you have those preconceived ideas, then try and check them at the door, dive in face first, but then also be prepared. And this goes for anyone who’s becoming an entrepreneur, you can have fabulous plans. And the real key is, is to know that they are going to have to be flexible, because there will always be a challenge or a hiccup or a crisis. And or a pandemic. Yeah, you know. So, and, you know, there’s always going to be something to navigate around. And so if you’re able to leave those ideas about, well, these are the rules that I have to operate within, while I deal with all that stuff. Then you can leave that stuff behind them. And that’s that’s a lot easier. So yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
Barb McGrath 26:20
Well, Heather, thank you so much for joining me today. This has been a fantastic discussion. And it’s great just to, you know, put the name and the face together because we talked to an email, and then we finally had a chance to even face together. So thank you.
Heather Day 26:33
Oh, well, thank you so much for?
Barb McGrath 26:35
Absolutely, we’re out of time for today. So as I just said, and Heather, thank you for joining me to talk about CST transport and the changes that you are supporting and leading in an industry that, you know, I think it’s a little bit different than most of us see in the movies, let’s say because that’s how we form our ideas and opinions about a lot of things so it’s not quite like it looks in the movies.
Heather Day 27:03
I’m working on that too.
Barb McGrath 27:04
Excellent. Okay. If you’d like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at Barb at Google girl.ca or reach out on Facebook and Instagram at Above the Fold. ca. Just a reminder, you can even submit your questions in advance of the live show. Once we can go live again. Unfortunately, we’re not yet and you can submit those on our Facebook page. I’m your host, Barb McGrath, local business owner and Google girl.
Unknown Speaker 27:30
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