Roads

Imagine designing and starting a multi-million dollar company right at your kitchen table, and the idea actually took off. Then imagine that thousands of people relied on you for their livelihood and personal safety. Would that energize you, or paralyze you with doubt? Dawn Violo lives the life based on the former. She loves what she does, and can’t see herself doing anything else because she loves truckers. And truckers love her.

Dawn founded Emergency Road Services Corporation in Canada, and it’s been nothing but a rocket ride through busy days and nights, and lots of expansion. ERS is a phone-based service (but will soon transfer to texting and email) that helps truckers do their jobs when things aren’t looking their way.  Initially Dawn’s service company covered the Greater Toronto Area; when a truck broke down, the driver would call in and Violo sent the appropriate repair service to get it moving again. But word got around at how good she was at helping with rescue and repair logistics. Violo answered 1,000 calls her first year and was on-call 24/7, 365 days. Between calls, she built up her database of service providers.

“I didn’t know the difference between a reefer (refrigerated container) and a heater,” recalled Violo. “But I could send the right person to fix the problem.”

John Wheeler of MSM Tranportation of North America sings Dawn’s praises. ERS provides MSM Transportation Inc. with great service. Emergency Road Services has proven to MSM that they’re reliable and capable of providing us with the fastest response in the industry. He’s not alone. Dawn’s company has impressed trucking companies of every size, from local moving van services to FedEx.

And her entrepreneurial spirit keeps expanding, along with her company. “I never said no,” said Violo. “I had three weeks to learn about the U.S. before we started offering service there, and I figured out how I could do it.”

Truckers call ERS to get truck repair service coordinated for them no matter where they’re stranded. Once the work is done, ERS audits the bills and deals with issues or overcharges. The company also rates each service provider after a call based on response time, speed, quality and expense. ERS now operates out of an office on Wolfedale Rd. in central Mississauga. Decorated in warm colours and paintings, the office is Violo’s second home.Her database of service providers is now at 17,000 and growing. From 1,000 calls in the first year in 2006, ERS got more than 10,000 in 2011.

By the time ERS celebrated its fifth anniversary with a party last fall, it had answered close to 26,000 calls. Success brought two buyout offers in the last year, but Violo’s not interested.

“I enjoy my job, the staff, the people, customers and vendors so I won’t sell now,” she said. “The day I don’t enjoy it, I’ll sell.”

We wouldn’t have it any other way Dawn. Thanks for all you do! To contact ERS to find out more about their service packages, call 1-866-693-7724.

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