It was just after Expo '86 and an opportunity for David Astley to no longer work a graveyard shift while getting free training for his Class 1 driver’s license at the same time. Little did he know he was about to embark on a flawless trucking career that would get him international recognition.
Recently, Astley and his wife returned from an all-expenses paid trip to Florida where he was among 69 inductees into the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) Truck Driver Hall of Fame.
More than 130,000 foodservice distribution drivers are currently on the road, but only those with the best safety records and longevity of service qualify for the IFDA Truck Driver Hall of Fame. To be eligible, the driver must have at least 25 years of employment with an IFDA member company with no chargeable accidents during that time frame and may not have any moving violations within the last five years.
“Given the current driver shortages and supply chain disruptions, it’s an honor to acknowledge these professional truck drivers who are quite literally driving the economy,” said Mark S. Allen, president and CEO of IFDA. “The IFDA Hall of Fame provides a permanent recognition of the skills and dedication these drivers bring to their profession — enabling our member companies to safely and efficiently deliver food and supplies to professional kitchens across the country.”
Astley’s honour reflects his 34-year career at Gordon Food Service (GFS) where he starts his days at its distribution centre on Annacis Island, just a short drive from his North Delta home.
While decades of safe driving is not uncommon in a passenger car, what Astley has accomplished is impressive given he drives a truck and a 53-foot reefer trailer on Metro Vancouver roads and highways. It also includes frequent stops at long-time GFS customers, such as Starbucks, in crowded strip mall parking lots where designated spots for large delivery trucks can be scarce.
It was one of his bosses who nominated him for the award when he was reminded he has never been in an accident.
“I think about it as me just doing my job. I have a family and I wouldn’t want someone creaming in behind me in one of those big trucks. You could kill somebody in one of them,” said Astley.
At 56, he begins his four, 10-hour shifts each week at 4 a.m. on his own.
“I get to go out and do my own thing. Have lunch when you want to and exercise. That's the one of the things that I liked about it, because you're getting up and moving, not sitting in an office and staring at four walls,” added Astley.