Profile: Ron Kocsis
By John Lagimodiere and Elizabeth Maier
with permission from
Just another day at Kocsis Transport with the phones constantly ringing, and the staff efficiently going about their business. Owner Ron Kocsis took some time out from his hectic schedule for some conversation about Kocsis Transport and Aboriginal contributions to the business and employment secotors in Saskatoon and surrounding areas.
Unassuming and straightforward, Kocsis is the embodiement of the hard working and dedicated busnessman. Intent on promoting Aborignal business opportunities and employment throughout Saskatchewan, Kocsis successful trucking business has provided him with valuable learning experiences and information to pass onto other Aboriginal entrepreneurs.
Born in Manitoba and raised in Saskatoon, Ron Kocsis attended Mount Royal High School and the University of Saskatchewan. However he felt that the hands on practical aspects of attending to his business full time afforded him with a better future with more opportunity and a chance to develop something viable form the ground up.
Attending to Kocsis Transport became a full time, and then some, job as Ron decided to "take the company to the next level." he tells how Kocsis Transport started out in 1994 with 3 employees -- 2 drivers and himself as the office staff. Trusting his instincts and deciding to go ahead with his own ideas, Kocsis soon expanded his company to become an independent and viable business.
By November of 1996, Kocsis Transport had an office staff of 13 and now employs 46 - 50 drivers. Over the last 2 1/2 years the company has, as Ron Kocsis quietly understates, "experienced phenomenal growth." This growth in fact has gone from 0 sales to $10 million.
As well, Kocsis Transport has gone from what Kocsis describes as having no structure, to a business that has not only created policies but has created the methods, "to help the management team govern themselves and in turn developed the tools to govern the rest of the staff." Kocsis started by suppling trucks and drivers to Yankee transfer. The first major direct customer was Weyerhaeuser Canada and then moved to direct relationships with the customers.
The next step was a successful marketing campagin. Kocsis felt that the cups, calendars and a company brochure became the "tools to advance levels of credibility, creating a more professioanl image of Kocsis Transport." There is also a website at www.kocsistransport.com. He describes "a comfort level for customers," indicating that the professional image enhanced the comapny and created confidence in Kocsis Transport for their clients.
In order to help establish credibility, Kocsis hired Deloitte and Touche to prepare and advise him on his original business plan. it took 4-6 months to get operating authority and by June of 1996 Deloitte and Touche....put on paper Kocsis own vision to sell to banks.
It took 6 months longer than first envisioned and Ron Kocsis recalls that his business plan was rejected three time before it was accepted. However he kept revising it and eventually The Hong Kong Bank of Canada became his primary lending institution. Taking fiancing from other institutions, Kocsis is mindful of the hoops he had to jump through but he never doubted he was in it for the long haul, so to speak.
Kocsis says that persistence paid off but his track record proves that it was much more than that. he was prepared to negotiate and to get in on the right foot right from the start. Presenting a valiable business plan and "creating a relations of respect with the banks and with the clients are essential if you want to be a success." Ron Kocsis reminds other business developers that you will need to "know how to sell yourself to the banks and give them the comfort level they need. Show them that you are serious about putting the deal together...show you are willing to sacrifice everything..."
The number one tip for fellow entrepreneurs..make sure you are convinced it is going to work. This attitude will show and reflect that you are confident. "Be prepared to put everything on the line..all your spare time....not hesitating to work 7 days a week." Good advice to follow, judging by the success of Kocsis Transport. Somehow with his busy schedule Ron Kocsis found the time to chair the committee on the Aborignal Business opportunities for the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce. They now have hired a full time person as executive assistant to the committee. Shirley Courshane Lafond now provides full time dedication to this endeavour. Kocsis describes the proposal put together to obtain funding through the Saskatoon Tribal Council to create the Aboriginal Employment and Business Opportunities Partnership. The partnership presently consists of the Saskatoon Tribal Council, the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce, and Lafond Financial. With funding set in place for the next year, the partnership has taken a businesslike approach to creating Aboriginal employment and business opportunities. Kocsis says again that like any successful business, they need advertising dollars, fundraising functions and events to ensure their success. They have invited the FSIN, SABA and others to partner this venture combing strength and efforts to be more effective. Kocsis has already proven that his business ideas and acumen are indeed accurate.
As for words of advice for other Aboriginal business entrepreneurs, Kocsis is reluctant to see himself as a role model for others. he does say that for him, self motivation helped achieve successful results. He describes himself as "someone who didn't conform to status quo. Failure is not really in my vocabulary. Fear nothing and do what you do best." Dedication to promting Aborignal business and employment opportunities has already established a more secure future for the next generation. Perhaps he is looking ahead to the day when Kocsis Transport will become Kocsis and Sons Transport. No doubt that sons Justin, 12 and Chad 4 have been on his mind throughout building the family business. Seems to have worked well for Ron Kocsis and for Kocsis Transport.
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