Ray McIlwrick was raised on a family farm in the Lone Rock area with his brother Ron and five sisters. His first lessons in the oil industry came through his father who worked in the Lone Rock oilfield in addition to farming. Ray would accompany his father when possible. After finishing his schooling at Lone Rock, Ray worked driving a truck for Nelson Lumber. He spent eleven years ‘highway hauling’ and, in 1967, started a job at Universal Industries. During this time he took some formal training and obtained a machinist certificate.
Ray and Ron formally began their family business tradition in 1972 when they both leased trucks from the Willoughby Brothers. The trucking companies around Lloydminster at this time were just starting to lease trucks to their employees as owner operators - a practice which is now predominant. Both brothers hauled in the Marshall area for Husky Oil and Murphy Oil.
Ray recalls that he was looking through an Edmonton Journal one evening and found an ad for a trucking company in the Lloydminster area with seven units. He took the ad to Howard Willoughby, thinking that Howard might be interested in buying the trucks to add to his fleet. Howard said he was not interested in any additional trucks but offered to back Ray and Ron in the purchase.
In 1974, Ray and Ron acquired Temor Oil Services with Ray as the major shareholder and Ron as the minor. Ray managed the new company while Ron stayed on with the Willoughbys. The initial operations center of Temor Oil Services was located four miles south of Lloydminster and in 1979 and 1980, two 6,000 sq. ft. shops were built in the Glen Neilson Industrial Park.
Ray notes that the business grew fairly rapidly. It might be added that this was not without his full commitment. By the late 1980’s Temor’s fleet had increased to 65 units. He recalls working some very long days - a necessity of the trucking industry.
Ray identifies two types of working people. There are those who give every moment with a true dedication that can see a business through some of the toughest times. There are also those who prefer to work a set number of hours and then pursue other interests. It seems that all throughout their careers, both Ray and Ron would fall under the first category. “24 hours,” Ray replied when asked how much time he would put into his work. “It didn’t go by hours, it went by what hauling had to be done.”
That has changed somewhat with new regulations on trucking
hours that have become an industry standard. One piece of legislation that Ray
remembers changing a lot of things was the Motor Vehicle Transport Act, which
limited the number of hours a trucker could drive. A major cause of frustration
that Ray identified was that some laws don’t differentiate between highway
driving and driving in the field. Ray sold his shares in Temor Oil Service
in 1990 but he remains involved with the trucking industry through his two