Service to Industry Award Honours Red Coleman
- by Susan Green
The Manitoba Trucking Association has always been able to count on the support of its members, and even in the midst of a pandemic, that rings true: Gary Coleman, President of Big Freight Systems Inc, will be the sponsor of the MTA-Red Coleman Service to Industry Award in perpetuity.
“It is so rewarding to give back to the association that has meant so much to my family over the years,” explains Coleman. “My family has been involved with and supportive of the MTA’s advocacy efforts for decades, and I am pleased that we can continue this relationship in the future. Throughout his career, my dad embodied the qualifications of the MTA’s Service to Industry Award, and it is an honour to have this award named for him.”
Seaton “Red” Coleman began his career in the trucking industry in 1948 when the Coleman family sold the family farm to purchase South East Transfer, a four-truck operation. As the years passed, the company grew into what we now know as Big Freight Systems Inc. In 1991, Gary Coleman became the president of Big Freight. In 2017, Big Freight joined Daseke Inc, the largest owner and a leading consolidator of open deck specialized transportation solutions in North America.
Gary describes his dad as someone who wanted to drive and fix trucks, and haul freight. Red worked into his seventies, driving trucks until Norma, his wife, requested that the dispatch team stop booking him out on loads. Many a shirt and tie were ruined by Red’s determination to get under a truck to fix it or do some welding. Not only was Red active behind the wheel and in the shop, he also fully supported Gary as they grew the four-truck operation into a 225-truck operation with over 300 employees.
Throughout his 50 plus year career, Red was actively involved with the Manitoba Trucking Association, including serving on the Board of Directors. Red was awarded the MTA Service to Industry Award in 1987.
To be selected for the MTA – Red Coleman Service to Industry Award, nominees must be members in good standing of the association or an official of a member company, having conducted themselves in such a manner as to have gained the esteem of their fellow members and brought credit to the trucking industry through outstanding contributions. Previous winners of this award include Louie Tolaini (TransX Group of Companies), Gary Arnold (Arnold Bros. Transport Inc.), and Paul Albrechtsen (Paul’s Hauling Ltd.)
“The Service to Industry Award is the highest recognition an individual in Manitoba’s trucking industry can receive. Recipients have not only been industry leaders throughout their careers, they have also been community leaders,” said Terry Shaw, Executive Director of the Manitoba Trucking Association.