Albert VandeVelde, who drives for Bandstra in Terrace, was awarded the Volvo Trucks Canada/BC Trucking Association Provincial Driver of the Year for 2019.
VandeVelde has worked with Bandstra for over 30 years and has driven 1.6 million miles accident-free, a ‘huge accomplishment’ according to company owner Sid Bandstra. This is the second time the company has won the award, and the first time a Terrace Bandstra driver was recognized.
“He has been an exceptional driver,” Bandstra says. “It’s important that we recognize people in our industry who have put their lives into it.”
Bandstra says VandeVelde also helps train the company’s newer employees with a focus on driving safely.
VandeVelde drives the company’s tractor-trailer across B.C., from Kitimat, to Red Chris Mine near Iskut and down to the Lower Mainland. He estimates he travels around 400 miles per day, and credits taking his time and defensive driving to his squeaky-clean record.
“I look at it as a challenge and I enjoy it,” VandeVelde says. “I’m pretty honoured to be chosen for [the award].”
The driver was featured in a video put together by Volvo Trucks Canada and the BC Trucking Association to celebrate the achievement. VandeVelde was presented the award in Kelowna during the BCTA’s annual general meeting on June 1.
VandeVelde has also mentored his two sons into the industry, and credits his success to his family for their support during his career. His remembers when his father drove a plough truck when he was young, and two of his older brothers also worked for Bandstra.
What he likes most about being a truck driver is being on the road and the independence the job gives him, and says he is proud to be recognized.
“You feel like you’re free when you’re out on a highway,” VandeVelde says.