Our Two Cents

OBAC Meets $100,000 Haircut Challenge

OTTAWA, Ont. (October 1, 2005) The Owner-Operator's Business Association of Canada (OBAC) is pleased to announce that it has met a challenge to raise $100,000 in sponsorship, membership, and pledges of support by the end of September. The challenge was issued in April by highwaySTAR magazine editor, Jim Park, who promised in an editorial column that he would shave his head to help raise a bit of money for OBAC, "the best friend the driver community ever had." The campaign became known as "The $100,000 Haircut Challenge." 
"The demand [for OBAC's input] is insatiable, but OBAC's ability to deliver is finite," Park said in the column. "I could go on about the good work OBAC has done, but the more important element is the work yet to come. It would be a crying shame to lose OBAC to its sea of debt."
OBAC has been struggling financially since its small start-up budget was stolen by a former volunteer accountant, leaving the organization in debt, and without operating capital. OBAC is a not-for-profit association, with membership dues and contributions its only source of revenue.  
By the last day of Truxpo in Edmonton (September 24), the tenacity, creativity, and determination of OBAC supporters and volunteers had raised close to $90,000 in cash, dues from new members, in-kind contributions, offers of debt relief, and sponsorship commitments. With the prospect of several last-minute sponsorship offers being finalized in the coming days, Park went under the clippers.
"How can you thank someone enough for that kind of support?" said OBAC's Executive Director, Joanne Ritchie. "Jim Park's commitment to Canadian drivers is amazing. Our heartfelt thanks also goes out to the many individuals and industry suppliers who are supporting OBAC in its effort to serve the owner-operator and driver community in Canada. Their generosity is welcome and encouraging." 
The event was MC'd by Gord Satermo of 790 CFCW radio in Edmonton; Henry VanSteenbergen, president elect of the Alberta Motor Transport Association, had the honour of taking the sheers to Park's scalp.
"It's symbolic of our willingness to embrace carriers who treat drivers and owner-operators fairly," said Ritchie. "We want to build sustainable relationships with carriers who see owner-ops as business partners, and we encourage our members to choose their carrier partners carefully, opting to work with carriers who pay appropriate rates, and steering clear of those who exploit the relationship." 
Over the coming weeks, OBAC will be announcing some of the projects and activities made possible through the generosity and support of major donors.