Deer Lake and Mount Pearl Irving Oil Big Stops
Newfoundland and Labrador
This is one in a series of interviews with frontline workers as Today’s Trucking celebrates National Trucking Week, Sept. 5-11.
Tell us about your job and the work it includes?
Myself and my wife, Kariss, operate two Irving Oil Big Stops in Deer Lake and Mount Pearl. As the owner operators, we manage the day-to-day operations; this can be anything from building maintenance, hiring staff, customer service, food quality, all the back-end administrative work, and much more.
Everything we do, from the time we arrive in the morning, is really focused on the customer experience and making sure it is up to our standards, especially during COVID-19, with the different safety protocols and guidelines in place.
A big part of our job is making sure our staff have all the tools they need to do their jobs, so we can better serve our customers and professional drivers.
How did you come to work in the trucking/trucking service industry?
In 1973, my wife’s grandfather, Ron Lidstone, started in the retail gas business in Roddickton, NL. Since then, Ron’s son Terry Lidstone, and his daughter Kariss, grew the business across the island to the Deer Lake Big Stop and Mount Pearl Big Stop.
I spent the early part of my career in Western Canada and my background is in construction and real estate. When I returned home to Newfoundland in 2012, I continued in construction and real estate, but as my wife’s business continued to grow, I decided to join her family business in 2014. Today, we are still expanding and growing the business to meet the demands of our customers.
What do you like the most about your job?
I like the diversity of having so many components to work on. There are a lot of moving parts and lots of different tasks. I like things that keep me moving and tackling different things each day. I really enjoy meeting different people and being able to be involved in every aspect of the business. I love my job; we have a great staff and a lot of great customers, too.
What is the biggest challenge the trucking industry faces today?
I think one of the biggest challenges for professional drivers is being away from home and trying to find a good place to refuel, stop for a shower and a rest, and get something good to eat.
It can’t be an easy job and I have a lot of respect for them. That’s where we come in; to help them along their journey and provide the products and services that they need. Throughout the course of the pandemic, across all Big Stop locations, Irving Oil has given away more than 50,000 free breakfasts to professional drivers as a way of thanking them for keeping our communities running.
Why do you think the trucking industry should be celebrated?
As consumers, there’s not much we buy these days that the trucking industry hasn’t had their hands on. We can easily take that for granted at times because everything is conveniently placed on the shelves of our local stores, and we don’t realize how many miles it’s traveled to get there.
Customers sit down in our restaurants to have a meal and all that food has been delivered by the trucking industry.
It’s not an easy job to drive that many miles and be away from your family so frequently. The trucking industry is the lifeline to the products we serve our customers, and we celebrate them for the significant effort they put into getting the job done.