By Avi Patel
Kelowna, British Columbia — July 4, 2013 — Robert Kelly, known as Bob to his friends, was given the 2013 B.C. Professional Driver of the Year award at the B.C. Trucking Association’s (BCTA) Annual Management Conference in Kelowna.
Kelly received the honour to commemorate his 25 year career with his current employer, Berry and Smith Trucking Ltd., and his previous record as the owner of his own towing service, Kelly Towing in Hope, B.C.
The provincial Professional Driver of the Year award is presented annually to distinguish and support a tradition of safe driving and professionalism among drivers. The award was sponsored by BCTA and Volvo Trucks Canada, with Terry Warkentin of Volvo presenting this year’s award to Kelly at the Annual Management Conference on June 8.
Kelly was recognized not only for his accomplished driving records but for his altruism and public spirit. He was born in 1945 and began his diverse career by first working at the Douglas Lake Cattle Company. At 19 years old, he joined the army from 1964 to 1967 before graduating from the B.C. Vocational School, now known as the B.C. Institute of Technology. He would be a machinist, electrician, and cook before entering the towing business in 1969.
After founding his business, Kelly Towing, Kelly would go on to receive recognition and accolades from the RCMP, the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) and the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) for his services to the community. Kelly began his career with Berry and Smith Trucking as an owner/operator in 1987 and became a company driver in 2011. His daughter Tammi, one of the many drivers he has taught, also works for Berry and Smith Trucking.
“I have always been very good at what I did and was able to receive recognition from the community and the police,” says Kelly. “I’ve really enjoyed my work and what I do everyday, I’ve been able to take everything I’ve learned in my past experiences in the trades and as the owner of my own towing company and carry it to where I am now.”
In addition to the professional reputation for his rugged work ethic, laudable customer service, and being an ambassador for safety in the workplace, Kelly is known for his family virtues. Kelly married his wife Karen in 1966. They began fostering children in 1967 and have provided foster care for over 100 children.
“We have been able to sponsor and take care of so many children, it means a lot to me and my family,” says Kelly. In addition to Tammi, he and Karen have a 13-year-old daughter, Stefani.