TOW YEAH!

The Provincial Towing Association of Ontario’s 2019 Tow Show was a weekend to remember!

BY GIDEON SCANLON

In September, the Provincial Towing Association of Ontario held its 2019 Tow Show in Kitchener, Ontario.

Friday, September 20, kicked off in the morning with two training sessions on dangerous goods transportation and OPP traffic management. An open panel was then held for discussion with industry veterans from the OPP, MTO, CAA and PTAO itself.

A sneak peek into the all-new show floor opened up in the evening, before the PTAO’s Annual General Meeting held the election for its board of directors. A welcome reception then provided towing pros not only with a chance to dine but also with the opportunity to network with others and chat about the day’s proceedings.

Finally, the end of Friday night was reserved for the ‘Let the Light Shine’ event, which honoured those in the towing industry that had been injured or killed while at work. Tow operators and their families held a moment of silence to reflect before trucks from all over the province flashed their lights on queue and lit up the night sky.

Saturday began with registration for the day’s championship competition, designed to see who Ontario’s best operator is. The vendor display was now fully open to the public, with companies registering to display their products outside in further opportunities to network.

Weekend attendees then spent the afternoon meeting with the stars of reality show ‘Heavy Rescue 401,’ for autographs, pictures and posters. Saturday evening winded down with cocktails and dinner in a semi-formal event. That is when PTAO held the second annual ‘Heroes of the Industry’ awards, where recipients were rewarded in front of the crowd for their heroic work in the line of duty.

Along with the weekend event, PTAO also released a list of changes members would be seeing to the board’s leadership after asking what they would like to see. First and foremost, Stephen Ashworth was hired as CEO of the organization, bringing with him years of experience in non-profit corners. Moving forward, a new electoral system has been put in place to allow members to be able to pick qualified candidates and support them through the nomination process.

The board itself also underwent compliance training to better cooperate with members and help the group thrive. It also announced a new logo and slogan to go with it. The change in venue also comes after member consideration. The new location at the Bingeman’s grounds is a centrally located and larger space — by about 25 percent — than those that hosted previous years. It also comes with side attractions on-site, including camping, paintball, and other play areas for any kids in attendance.

All in all, PTAO’s efforts can be summed up in their new slogan, to “Engage, Evolve, Elevate.”

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