Q&A with Willy Schmidt: How One Idea Powers his Company Forward

What do you think of when the word “strong leader” comes to mind? Maybe you think of a leader as being a forceful person who finds it easy to make tough decisions or you picture a person who can stand in front of a room and confidently command orders. But do you picture somebody who is an extraordinary listener? Someone who values your opinion? Willy Schmidt pictures just that and a recent initiative himself and his partner, Bernard, developed is proof that Willy means serious business about his capability to be the leader in listening.

Willy and Bernard sent out a company-wide message. The request was clear. All they wanted was one idea that could help the company in some way.

I have asked Willy a few questions about this initiative and what it meant to his company, Willy’s Trucking Services.  Below is the conversation:


What gave you this idea..to ask for an idea?

“During meetings, I would notice I wanted to listen to what people had to say just as much as I wanted to do the talking. It made me realize there was an opportunity there to make everyone feel like they had a voice. Offering a reward company-wide for a great idea from a team member made sense and as soon as we put that on the table, we realized we had also picked up on the needs of the drivers; one being that they weren’t really being heard. ”

When all of the submissions came in, did you instantly see the one that you thought was a winner or were there many winning ideas to choose from?

Looking through the submissions, Bernard and I got the ideas down to a top 10 and then from there, we cut it in half. Then we decided on the winning idea; it was such a good idea and so simple that no one is even thinking about it, yet it’s so powerful.

So, who is the winner??

Our driver, Tim, submitted an idea that said: “Take a moment”. To us, “take a moment” could mean all kinds of things. It can be used by our drivers on the road, by our marketing team, by operations and management- the list goes on. It is so simple yet is meaningful in all sorts of ways.

All of the trucks have that decal on the doors now, right on the outside of the door, by the door handle. They all see that quote when they are going in and out of the trucks. We even have it on the side of our BBQ trailer! You also have to think, because it’s on the outside of the trucks, it’s not just us benefitting from this either. Sitting in traffic someone else could look over to our truck and see this quote. They could think to themselves as well “Hmm, take a moment”. It’s not just for us.

That’s fantastic. Would you recommend this method to other business owners and entrepreneurs? 

By all means, I would recommend this…The drivers are the people out there and they have the most time to think on the road. Reach out to your team and let them know you’re listening.

Tim H


What do you think about Willy and Bernard’s idea? What are more ways to grab genius ideas from your staff members? Share with us below!


Author: Melodie Mills




Company Update: We Are Hiring!

Willy’s Trucking Service was proud to announce our expansion into Fort St. John and now we are excited to build on our branch, beginning with hiring a Regional Sales Manager.


If you or someone you know would like to apply, please follow this link for more information on the position and how to apply.


We look forward to hearing from you!



Company News: Willy’s Trucking Service has expanded into Northern British Columbia

As of April, 2016, Willy’s Trucking Service’s will beginwillys_trucking_map_2016_a providing service into the following areas:

Fort Nelson

Charlie Lake

Fort St. John

Hudson’s Hope


Tumbler Ridge

Dawson Creek

Pouce Coupe

And continuing our service into:

Peace River


Grande Prairie


Fox Creek




We would like to extend our thanks to everyone in the Peace River region and beyond who have been working so hard to make this expansion possible. We are very excited as a team and as a Western Canadian, locally owned company to bring this expansion into fruition.


mix 142.JPGRecently I had agreed to do a ride-along with Willy’s Trucking Service’s HSSE personnel, Carol, in order to learn a bit more about the trucks they use and to see a day-in-the-life of a delivery driver.

What I thought I was going to be paying attention to the whole day, and what actually ended up happening, were two different things. 

Yes, I did get a chance to pull on the air horn (which, by the way, everyone should do at least once in their lives) but the real eye opener was realizing that I am not as safe of a driver as I thought I was. 

Not only does a semi-truck driver need to be pro-active by knowing exactly when to shift one of the many, many gears to slow or speed up the truck, but the reactionary vision they need to have due to ignorant car drivers was made clear to me that day. 

  • BLIND SPOTS- We have all seen the stickers, ”If my mirrors can’t see you, I can’t see you!” stuck nicely to the back, side, front, all over the truck. There’s a reason for that. It is really difficult to see everything happening around your massive 50 foot long box trailer. If you thought it was tricky to see what is in the next lane when your ironed, collared shirt is hanging in the backseat, well, this is a whole new ball game. So, don’t ride along in a truckers blind spots. Be wary of a truck making a right turn as well, as they need those two lanes to maneuver and don’t need you trying to squeeze past them just to crush your Civic. 
  • BRAKING- that sweet spot in front of the semi truck that is empty enough to slip your BMW in front of because you sped up and were enjoying swerving in and out of lanes too much to actually get in BEHIND the truck like you should of, but cut off the trucker instead? Yeah..that. Don’t do that. They need ample time to shift down to come to a safe stop and they need ALL that space they leave in between themselves and the car in front of them. Don’t worry, you’ll still get there even if you have to slow down a bit to safely merge in behind or when it’s safer.
  • SHIFTING – have you been in a semi-truck? Have you seen that gear shift? 18 gears. Ok? Not just “Drive” and “Park” but basically they become “one” with their engine. Listening to the sound of the RPM’s rising and lowering, watching the gauges, working the pedals, shifting from one little rectangle box to another. It’s an art. One of which I will enjoy being the spectator of!  
  • ICY ROADS + EMPTY LOADS= SLIPPING – Of course you can’t know if there’s a full load in that van or not, but, just be extra careful on icy roads. I was being driven by a very capable, seasoned driver but knowing how easily the truck could slide and jack-knife with an empty van was enough to make me stop breathing every time a car would cut in front then slam on their brakes or swerve in front etc. I can’t stress this enough… Try your best to give truck drivers plenty of space in between your car and them. Everyone can breathe easier that way!
  • TRUCKERS CARE – they care! These are people that operate big machinery every day and do their utmost best to make sure everything is delivered on time but most importantly, safely. These are the people that will pull over on a snowy, dark highway when they see someone in distress to help you change a tire or put chains on (I have experienced this first hand!) They work long, strange hours and are away from their families that want them home safe and sound. 

Thank-you to Willy’s Trucking Service’s for the experience. 

Do you have any tips to add to this article? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Written by Melody Mills