Winter 2021
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Colleen Tesarski is the People & Culture Manager at Steve’s Livestock Transport, one of North America’s largest commercial livestock carriers.

At Steve’s Livestock Transport, her role to support leaders across the organization in leading their teams and achieving business results through growing and developing team members, while maintaining and building on company culture and values.

“We value acting with integrity, listening and responding openly, and making things better together,” states Colleen. “I feel that truly aligns with my own personal values. That alignment of values for me, personally, is critical.”

Those very values have brought success to Steve’s Livestock Transport. They have grown into a successful group of companies – now home to Blue Water Wash, BVT Truck & Trailer Repair, and United Transportation Driver Training.

“It’s a great group of professionals who strive to do their best day in and day out,” says Colleen. “As a group of companies, we have approximately 300 employees and then with our owner/operators and their drivers, we’re at about 500 people total. The companies all work really well together.”

Colleen’s team consists of six full-time staff, covering Human Resources, payroll, driver recruiting, driver development, and workplace safety and health. Since beginning with Steve’s Livestock Transport, which was her first venture into the transportation industry, Colleen says her role has expanded from leading Human Resources into driver recruitment and driver development.

Colleen says the biggest challenge she has faced in her role is addressing the companies’ driver retention. It has also been her greatest success: since the company began their efforts in July 2018, they have seen 52% less driver turnover and were recognized as a Top Fleet Employer by Trucking HR Canada for two years in a row.

“It is an all-hands-on-deck corporate effort,” Colleen states. “You have to continue to work on being a place where drivers want to be. It’s not an effort that you complete; it’s an effort you make progress in.”

When COVID-19 hit, Steve’s Livestock Transport quickly formed a task force to guide the company through public health requirements, recommendations, and guidelines.

“We developed and implemented a pandemic plan, which spanned our group of companies,” Colleen says. “Then we created standard operating procedures, a reporting structure to notify HR of any COVID-related absences, and more.” The team adjusted the procedures as the world learned more about the virus and developed a Communicable Disease Prevention Plan when public health advised doing so.

“We educated our drivers on steps they could take to reduce risk,” added Colleen. “We had admin staff work from home on a rotation, so we could reduce risk in our offices at certain points, while still making sure drivers were going to be supported and they could continue to service our customers. We always made sure that they had people here as well that could get them all the stuff that they needed.”

As Steve’s Livestock Transport was an essential service and staff continued to work through the chaos of 2020 and 2021, the company knew it was important to show thanks to their front-line employees. As part of their COVID-19 response, they handed out gift cards to support local businesses, pivoted to virtual Christmas activities, and explored ways to build a sense of team and community.

“We were able to include activities that extended to families of our staff and drivers,” says Colleen. “We feel that our group really adapted and was able to think of different ways of doing things that maybe we had always done a certain way in the past.”

Steve’s Livestock Transport is based in Blumenort, MB and has offices in Brandon, MB and Red Deer, AB. They have been involved with the MTA for many years. Colleen, who serves on the MTA’s RPM Trucking Safety Council, considers them a great support to our business and industry as a whole.

“I think this is a great industry with a lot of opportunity for professional growth and advancement,” Colleen states. “My advice [for those entering the industry] would be to not just look at the job they’re potentially doing but connect with a company that shares your values.”

Aaron Dolyniuk, Acting Executive Director, Manitoba Trucking Association, appreciates Colleen’s unique position and vantage point on the RPM Trucking Safety Council. “Coming from a specialized carrier, Colleen brings a unique perspective to the RPM Trucking Safety Council. She is a valued team member and we appreciate her contributions,” says Aaron.

To learn about Steve’s Livestock Transport and their service offerings, visit www.slt.ca.

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