Here at Van Kam Freightways, our real strength is the folks who clock in every day and keep things moving. Tony Nightingale, our Forklift Operator at the Surrey terminal, is a prime example. Having clocked in an impressive 35 years, his commitment goes beyond a long tenure. It’s about reliability, adaptability, and a deep-seated love for his work at Van Kam Freightways.
When Tony Nightingale first set foot in Van Kam Freightways, the freight industry was in a different era. “Back when I started, the whole setup was different. We had two guys on the dock handling everything in the morning, and drivers would pitch in to help us load the trailers,” Tony recalls. The fleet was smaller, consisting of a few 5-ton trucks and 53 ft. trailers, making each day a hands-on experience.
Yet, it wasn’t all about work. One of Tony’s fondest memories from those early years was Van Kam’s participation in the local bathtub races from Nanaimo to Jericho Beach. “Oh, the bathtub races were a hoot! If you were up for it and you fit the bill, you could hop into one of those bathtub boats and race,” Tony says, laughing. “It was a wild, fun time, and it made us feel like we were part of a community, not just a company,” he adds.
Tony has seen a lot of changes in his 35 years here, from lifting boxes by hand to using forklifts with tablets. “Back then, it was all manual work, and now everything’s digital,” he says. But some things never change. “Tech has made my day-to-day tasks more efficient, but at the end of the day, it’s the collective hard work and teamwork that make the real difference,” he emphasizes.
Tony also appreciates how the company has evolved to improve the work culture. “One big change that’s made a difference is the tech we use now. It’s made it easier to talk to people in other departments—people you normally wouldn’t chat with. So, it’s not just about making our jobs easier; it’s also about making us more of a team,” Tony concludes.
When he’s not steering a forklift, Tony loves to ski. Whether it’s water or snow, skiing is his way of letting loose. His love for skiing traces back to his childhood, with memories of gliding down the snow-covered Hollyburn Mountain at just eight years old with his cousins. “It started with snow skiing. Then, around 11 or 12, I got into water skiing. Both were exhilarating to me. It’s my way to clear my head and just have a great time,” Tony shares.
Skiing isn’t Tony’s only way to unwind, though. “I used to play lacrosse when I was younger, and I also hit the gym a lot. When COVID came around and the gyms shut down, man, did I miss working out. That’s something I always look forward to getting back to just like pre-COVID,” he adds.
Tony’s 35 years with us is more than a milestone; it’s a badge of honour. So here’s to Tony Nightingale, a true testament to what makes Van Kam special. May your forklift always steer true, and your slopes be ever downhill. Thank you for 35 remarkable years!