John Conkin, a longtime commercial lender and supporter of the trucking industry who most recently was managing director at BMO Transportation Finance, died June 3 after a long battle with cancer. He was 62.
“John was an extraordinary leader, mentor, advocate and friend,” said Dan Clark, head of BMO Transportation Finance. “This is truly a great loss to our company and to the trucking community. He will be profoundly missed by everyone whose life he touched over the years.”
Conkin was an active member of many transportation organizations and played important roles in both American Trucking Associations and the Allied Committee for the Trucking Industry, or ACT 1, a group of leading industry suppliers dedicated to enhancing the business environment of the transportation industry.
Conkin served as ACT 1’s president from 2013 to 2014 during the launch of ATA’s image campaign Trucking Moves America Forward — which was designed “to effectively relay the essential nature of the trucking industry to the nation’s economy and the everyday lives of all Americans,” Conkin said at the time.
ATA President Chris Spear said, “John was a tremendous presence in our industry. Guiding ACT I, deepening its relationship with ATA, demonstrating leadership and serving as an example to us all about how to best serve this industry. Beyond his impact on ATA, he was a good friend and he will be deeply missed.”
“Without question, John was one of the finest individuals in the trucking industry,” National Tank Truck Carrier President Dan Furth said. “His kindness and leadership will be sorely missed by all who knew him, particularly here in the tank truck segment where he had done so much for our association.”
A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Conkin joined Associates First Capital Corp.’s management training program in Knoxville, Tenn., in 1980. He held various managerial positions with the company — becoming the office manager and then assistant manager of the New York office. He was promoted to manager at the Seattle office and was the Cincinnati branch manager.
Citigroup acquired Associates in 2000, then it sold to GE Capital in 2005.
In 2015, GE sold the unit — which had become North America’s largest lender to the commercial truck and trailer markets — to BMO Financial Group.
Conkin had climbed the ranks with each acquisition. Before joining BMO, he was senior vice president of sales for GE Capital.
Conkin is survived by his wife, Sandra; daughter Rachel and son-in-law Jake Kaminski; son John Austin and John’s girlfriend, Maddie Schmaedeke.
Throughout his career, Conkin most treasured the relationships he built with his team members and clients. He enjoyed many hobbies but was happiest playing golf. His generosity, kindness, humor, quick wit and loyalty will be dearly missed, his family wrote in an online obituary.
The family requests contributions in Conkin’s memory be made to CISNT (Communities in Schools, North Texas), P.O. Box 295543, Lewisville, TX 76029.