Alberta Driver of the Year , KEN WATSON, Golden Arrow School Buses & Tours
This year’s 2012 Alberta Driver of the Year didn’t get his start driving as a youngster
on the farm, like so many veteran drivers did; however, the story of how he got his
start in the industry is no less compelling.
When Ken Watson was 16-years-old, he did what most young men do at that age –
he booked an appointment for a driving test, took the test, passed and, thus,
obtained his drivers license. However, when the clerk in charge of the paperwork
asked him what type of license he wanted, Ken replied, “A chauffeurs license,
No questions were asked and two weeks later, Ken was behind the wheel of a
tractor-trailer unit. Remember, he was 16-years of age!
Ken drove trucks for the next five years before joining the City of Edmonton as a
transit driver. The lure of the highway proved too strong, however, and after three
years, John moved to driving tour buses. He now crisscrosses the continent driving
for Golden Arrow School Buses and Tours.
Golden Arrow Supervisor Bruce Stanley tells us that his personable driver is most
deserving of the Driver of the Year Award because he is so knowledgeable of his
profession. He knows his vehicle, he knows his tour highlights and, most
importantly, he knows how to make certain his passengers are safe, comfortable and
enjoying their travel experience. As Bruce says, “Ken is so well-liked because he is
friendly and goes out of his way to ensure customers are happy!”
Ken doesn’t have a set route, but “goes where the tours go” from coast-to-coast. For
the most part, he drives tours throughout Canada in the summer months and in the
southern United States in the winter months because, in his words, “I have learned
some things over the years, you know.” His favourite route remains the Calgary-to-
Banff-to-Jasper-and-return trip because he never tires of the majestic scenery.
Something else Ken has learned in his four decades of driving is the importance of
safety. He says safety is the bottom line because if your passengers aren’t safe,
everything else simply doesn’t matter. Ken believes it is more difficult to stay safe
these days than in previous years because there are a lot of crazy, distracted drivers
on the road, especially in the cities. Behind the wheel of his tour bus, Ken always
likes to be prepared for any eventuality. He says it isn’t enough just being skilled in
handling your own vehicle, “you also have to keep your eyes and ears open for the
Along with the quality of drivers on the road, the biggest change Ken has seen over
the years has been in tour bus technology. These days, tour buses come equipped
with televisions, state-of-the-art heating and air conditioning and the like. The only
drawback to these advances, according to Ken, is that the buses are all computerized
and if something breaks down (thankfully that doesn’t occur often), he can’t fix it
and limp into the next town like he did in the ‘good old days.’ Now he has to stay at
the side of the road and wait for the replacement bus.
Like most award-winning operators of tour buses and trucks, behind every
successful driver is a devoted spouse who keeps the home fires burning while the
wheels are rolling down the highway. Ken is no exception to this rule. He tells us he
could not have had the successful career he has enjoyed without the love and
support of a very special lady – his wife Michelle. So let’s bring them both up here to
accept this prestigious award.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the 2011 Driver of the Year, from
Golden Arrow School Buses & Tours, Mr. Ken Watson and his wife Michelle!
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