A successful Canadian trucking-company executive has established a scholarship fund at his alma mater to give students opportunities for success in their own careers
The Gary Coleman Award for Inner City Scholars will pay tuition, books and expenses for up to four students at a time who are pursuing degrees in three business-related programs at Red River College in Winnipeg.
Coleman is the president and chief executive of Big Freight Systems Inc., a 70-year-old Winnipeg-based freight carrier that is part of Daseke Inc., the leading consolidator and largest flatbed and specialized transportation company in North America.
Coleman graduated from Red River College in 1981 with a diploma in business, and he believes the instruction he received played a meaningful role in transforming Big Freight, co-founded by his father Red Coleman and his grandfather George, from a small regional carrier into a company of 220 trucks and 500 trailers operating across Canada and the United States.
“I’ve been very fortunate throughout my life,” Coleman said. “I grew up in a family with a mom and dad who taught us that if you worked hard you end up achieving over time. I was also fortunate enough to go to college, get an education and then go into the family business. I had some big dreams for the family business and we’ve been successful in accomplishing many of them. This scholarship program is a way of saying thank you and giving back to the community, because the community has been very kind to me over the years.”
“Red River College is honored that Mr. Coleman has made this commitment for young students to hone their skills in three of our business-based programs – free from the worry of financial barriers,” said Paul Vogt, president and chief executive officer of Red River College. “It’s truly wonderful to see that Mr. Coleman, a proud grad of our Business Administration program, has decided to give back and provide the same opportunities and education he received. These students will be receiving the highest level of hands-on training and will make connections to get their foot in the door and take the steps necessary to become leaders in their careers.”
The Gary Coleman Award for Inner City Scholars is open to graduates of eight inner-city schools in Winnipeg who have been accepted into one of the three programs at the college – Business Administration, Business Information Technology and Business Technology Management. The scholarship program will start with two students in the 2019-2020 academic year, then expand to four in subsequent years.
“We hope to help students who have ambition, who have a desire and drive to change their station in life, but are lacking one key component to do that – the financial resources for a college education,” Coleman said.
“College taught me technical skills such as understanding economic concepts like supply and demand, finance and how to read a financial statement,” he added. “But equally or even more important, I learned self-confidence. I also learned about the challenges in the business world, that there’s lots of competition, but working hard and staying focused on what you’re doing will help you move forward in your career and in life.That’s what I hope this program will provide students who otherwise might not have that opportunity.”
About Big Freight Systems Inc.
Big Freight Systems Inc. is an award-winning trucking and freight management company. With more than 70 years of experience providing premier supply chain solutions, Big Freight is a top-tier safety ranked open deck carrier with a specialization in the power sports market segment. Big Freight was founded in 1948 by Seaton “Red” Coleman and his father George, and has since become one of the strongest industrial carriers to serve all Canadian provinces and 48 U.S. states. It joined the Daseke Inc. family of flatbed and specialized haulers in 2017. More information is available at bigfreight.com.