In our hometown of Cortland, New York, August brings the National Brockway Truck Show, including the prestigious Huskie Drive, in which dozens of classic Brockway trucks are driven throughout the region and put through their paces in a series of competitions. This year, ALI was proud to offer our headquarters as the first stop of the drive on Aug. 11. We welcomed 49 Brockway trucks and more than 120 classic truck owners and enthusiasts to our location where we highlighted heavy-duty lift safety, including the importance of annual lift inspections and regular lift operator training.
Brockway Motor Truck Company built custom heavy-duty trucks in Cortland from 1912 until it closed in 1977. The business was so important to the community that Cortland was dubbed “Huskietown, USA” after Brockway’s husky dog hood ornament. For the last 23 years, collectors of these big rigs have brought them back to Cortland for the annual truck show produced by the Brockway Truck Preservation Association.
Huskie Drive participants were greeted by lift safety banners and a breathtaking presentation of two show-quality, matching blue Brockway trucks raised high in the air on ALI-Certified mobile column lifts. Hugh Riehlman, a member of the boards of the Brockway Truck Preservation Association and CNY Living History Center, spoke about these trucks saying, “I want to recognize my good friend, and the person who got me interested in Brockway, John Potter of Cortland, New York. John was one of the first people to say that we really ought to have a museum in Cortland to showcase the history of Brockway. Unfortunately, he passed away before that could happen, but I know he would be very proud of the museum and of his trucks sitting out front here.”
Participants enjoyed light refreshments and were surprised by a 3-dimensional cake of the Brockway 260XW truck housed at ALI’s LiftLab. The custom cake was created by Traci Storey of Tiers of Joy. Each Brockway driver received a commemorative challenge coin we commissioned for the event. We donated additional coins to the CNY Living History Center for use as an ongoing fundraiser.
“As a Cortland-based organization, we’re honored to help welcome home all these Brockway trucks,” said R.W. “Bob” O’Gorman, ALI president. “And because vehicle lifts are increasingly popular for servicing and maintaining heavy-duty trucks, we also welcome the opportunity to highlight all we do as the lift industry safety watchdog.”
Drivers and fans toured our facility, including offices, classroom, and new lift testing lab. A highlight for many was seeing the 1946 Brockway 260XW truck raised and lowered on a heavy-duty scissors lift installed in the LiftLab. The LiftLab is the only place in North America where a dozen different ALI-certified vehicle lifts from a range of manufacturers are installed in a single location. This offers lift inspectors, product safety engineers, and others the opportunity to examine two-post, multi-post, scissors, inground, mobile column and low-rise lifts all at once instead of having to travel to multiple locations. It is frequently used by candidates in the ALI Lift Inspector Certification Program to complete their required practical inspections.
ALI staff and representatives from ALI member companies were on-hand to interact with participants and to answer questions.
Allan Pavlick, president of Stertil ALM, not only serves on the ALI Board of Directors, he also has a personal Brockway connection that showed itself in a surprising way at the event.
“My father and his business partner owned three Brockway trucks for their company, Quickway Metal Fabricators, in the 1970s. In fact, I earned my CDL driving one of those Brockway trucks back in 1976,” Pavlick said. “Imagine my excitement to see the name of my father’s business on the side of exact truck I drove as it turned into ALI’s headquarters for today’s Huskie Drive. Although the truck ran perfectly, it was unrestored and still had the dent on the fender that I put there. Speaking with the current owners, father and son Ron and Bob Welsh, I learned that they pulled the truck out of an old barn after 40 years. I did not think this Brockway still existed, and here it is, still on the road. Like any vehicle, these old trucks need regular maintenance, and I talked to several people about how they and their teams can use heavy-duty lifts safely.”
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