“I love my job just as much now as the day I first started, and even more, if that’s possible!” exclaims Claude Julien, 55, a GLS truck driver since 1983. Claude first heard about the company from a family friend in Rouyn-Noranda, where he was spending Christmas with his relatives. “My uncle’s friend was a truck driver and he told me that GLS was looking for a driver for northern Ontario. A few days later, I was hired!” he says.
Just 21 years old at the time, Claude was a forerunner of sorts in a vast territory that had yet to be tapped by GLS. Himself a native of Chelmsford, a small town near Sudbury, Claude started driving routes in North Bay, Timmins, Sault-Sainte-Marie, and even Thunder Bay, delivering mainly to banks and credit unions.
After so many years on the road, there’s very little of Ontario that the truck driver hasn’t seen. In fact, he drives back and forth between Montréal and Ottawa twice each night. “If there’s a hockey game on, I like to listen to it on the radio. Otherwise, I listen to the traffic stations. I have no choice, with all the construction and road closures going on in Montréal!” says Claude, who admits that he’s gotten to know Montréal even better than Ottawa because of all the detours. One thing is certain: Patience and resourcefulness are essential qualities in this job. “A lot of drivers get very impatient when they get stuck in an accident. Not me. You always have to think about other people when you’re driving, and my mechanical skills come in handy whenever I run into a problem,” he points out.
Claude can cover up to 200,000 km each year in his truck, but that doesn’t stop him from road-tripping all over Canada in his spare time, to places like the Gaspé peninsula, the Laurentians, and New Brunswick. For 34 years now, GLS has satisfied his wanderlust, which Claude hopes to someday pass on to the younger generation. “GLS is like a big family to me,” he says. “I see myself doing this job for at least another ten years. I’ve become somewhat of a mentor. The young drivers who are just starting out feel comfortable walking up to me with their questions. I hope that they’ll eventually come to love this job as much as I do!”