The April edition of On the Road goes International, as I headed north to visit our members in Toronto. Our US and Canadian members work together so closely that we sometimes forget that we really are two different countries. As I got in my rental car at the Toronto airport, typed in the address to Tandet NationaLease and turned on the navigation feature on my phone, I was harshly reminded that I was truly in another country. My phone quickly told me that I do not have an International Data plan. So I was left with no other option but to go old school–I called for directions. Thanks to Chris and his excellent direction-giving abilities, I soon found myself pulling into the parking lot of Tandet NationaLease. Kirk Tilley and Dan Villenueve not only gave me a great tour and a thorough understanding of the many services that Tandet provides; they also treated me to lunch with a view of the “other side of the lake.” We discussed purchasing programs and the upcoming meetings, including the Maintenance Meeting, Annual Meeting, and Canadian Summit, for which Dan is serving as Meeting Chair this year.
From Tandet’s Oakville facility, I headed north to Barrie, where I spent the afternoon with Don Currie of Currie Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Developing Member. I learned about the marked growth of Currie Leasing, and we discussed some of the programs NationaLease provides to help them continue to grow. Don gave me a tour of the facility, and I had a chance to meet Rob St. Amour, their maintenance director. Rob mentioned that he will be a first time attendee at the upcoming Maintenance Managers’ Meeting in Chicago in May. I let Rob know he won’t be alone—so far we have almost 75 first-time attendees registered! After we finished touring the facility, Don and his wife, Jean, took me to a great local place for dinner (and some delicious short ribs!) before I headed back to Toronto, my home base for the next couple of days.
The next morning, I ventured west from Toronto to TTC, a NationaLease Developing Member. Mark Robinson and I discussed the ways that the NationaLease organization provides support to our Developing Members, and all members, to grow their business. Our purchasing programs allow members to leverage the buying power of the entire organization to help keep costs low for their customers. Our Reciprocal Service system assures that customers will have the best service and maintenance no matter where their vehicle runs throughout the U.S. and Canada. Our many conferences and educational opportunities help our members to stay informed of the latest ideas and best practices for all aspects of their businesses. Our National Accounts team works to bring new business to our members. We also have many other resources, such as recruiting and marketing assistance, to help our members grow. Mark took me to lunch at Jack Astor’s, a great bar and grill with locations all around Ontario, before I headed back to Toronto.
The last day of my trip was the easiest for traveling (remember, I’m still without a GPS!) since both members I planned to visit were right near the airport in Mississauga. After stopping in at Tim Horton’s for breakfast, I headed over to Trailcon Leasing. Lee Frank and Jim Wedgewood met me there and filled me in on their company history. Then we put the NationaLease Website up on the big screen in the conference room and we talked through all of their questions about the purchasing programs and the rebates available to NationaLease members. I reminded them about the upcoming Canadian Summit that will be held in Toronto on November 5-7 this year. We look forward to seeing all of our Canadian members there!
Just down the street from Trailcon Leasing is Jasbro NationaLease. I met with Jay Jasper and talked about lots of topics, from our Capital Equipment purchasing programs to the marketing materials available on our Website. We discussed our new customer newsletter, “NationaLease Top Stories of the Week,” as well as the Used Truck page on our Website. It’s an excellent resource for both buying and selling used equipment. Our Remarketing group is available to assist anyone with buying or selling used equipment, as well. Since Jay had to leave soon for a meeting with a customer, we ended our discussion and I made the short trip back to the airport, once again relying on the great directions given to me.
My only regret of this trip was that I didn’t really get to see Toronto. I never even made it to downtown, although I admired the fabulous skyline many times as I approached the city. So many people I have talked to in both the U.S. and Canada consider Toronto to be one of their favorite cities. At least, I know that I will definitely be back there in November for the Canadian Summit, and will be staying right downtown at the Fairmont Royal York. Next time, I will remember to call my cell phone company ahead of time, but for now, I will probably once again forget that we are two separate countries. Despite our differences, we all work together to continue to strengthen and support the NationaLease system, no matter which side of the border we call home.
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