On June 8, Robert “Bob” Kelly of Surrey received the 2013 B.C. Professional Driver of the Year award at the B.C. Trucking Association’s (BCTA’s) Annual Management Conference in Kelowna.
Kelly was recognized for an exemplary record for safe driving and professionalism over 25 years with his current employer, Berry and Smith Trucking Ltd., as well as his record previously as owner of Kelly Towing in Hope.
Volvo Trucks Canada and BCTA sponsor the provincial driver of the year award annually to recognize and promote safe driving among professional drivers. Terry Warkentin of Volvo Trucks Canada presented this year’s award
In addition to excellent driving records, award winners have often distinguished themselves through service to their communities and acts of bravery.
Born in 1945, Kelly first went to work at the Douglas Lake cattle ranch in 1963, joined the army from 1964-1967, then graduated from the B.C. Vocational School (the predecessor to the B.C. Institute of Technology) in 1967. He apprenticed and worked as a machinist, electrician, and logging camp cook before starting a career in towing in 1969, including heavy towing from 1973-1987. After opening his company, Kelly Towing, in Hope, he won awards for towing in Canada and the U.S. and received citations and plaques from the RCMP, BCAA and ICBC for his service to the community and involvement in teams. Kelly tackled complex and difficult work in towing, adding kindness to the services he offered; he was known for inviting stranded clients to stay in his home while he fixed their vehicles.
Kelly began driving for Berry and Smith Trucking as an owner-operator in 1987. In 2011, he became a company driver. He has taught a number of people to drive trucks, including his daughter, Tammi, who now also works with Berry and Smith. Kelly enjoys helping other drivers with issues and information, including about transportation of dangerous goods – and even with directions. Kelly is also a well-known source for the best sights to see and places for Cajun food from Vancouver to Louisiana.
Kelly married Karen in 1966, and they began fostering children in 1967. To date, they have provided foster parent care for more than 100 children. In addition to Tammi, Bob and Karen have a 13-year-old daughter, Stefani.
With Berry and Smith, Kelly has received numerous safe driving awards, the most recent in 2012. According to the company, Kelly is the consummate professional driver, with his strong work ethic, customer service, commitment to safety and maintenance, and positive attitude; he has been an outstanding representative for the company and the industry during his career.
“Bob always has a smile on his face and a willingness to go above and beyond to help others. If he doesn’t have an answer to a question, he’ll find it for you,” said Matt Berry, Berry and Smith president.
“Bob’s motto is that if you are going to do a job, it should be done right and to the best of your ability.”