Don Orr of Central Refrigerated Service and the late C.J. “Mac” McCormick III of Bestway Express were presented the Past Chairman’s Award during the General Session on Tuesday, March 13, at the Truckload Carriers Association’s Annual Convention at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev. The Past Chairman’s Award — the highest award of recognition given by TCA — is presented to industry leaders who make a significant contribution to the business community, the industry and TCA.
Upon graduation from Temple University in 1971 with a degree in business administration, Orr served in the Army Reserve for six years. In 1972, he married his childhood sweetheart, Christine. Don and Christine have been married for 35 years and have three children: Jacqueline, a graphic artist; Camilla, a publicist; and Alex, who follows his father’s footsteps in the trucking industry as a dispatcher for Systems Transport.
In 1972, the newlyweds moved to Lafayette, Ind., to work with Tom Schilli of Schilli Motor Lines, where Orr was employed for 12 years. In 1985, he began work for Roberson Transportation in Farmer City, Ill., serving in several managerial positions, including president and chief executive officer. In the 14 years that Orr spent with this company, he became widely respected in the industry and remains so today.
After spending time working at Smithway Motor Xpress as executive vice president and chief operating officer, and at Comcar industries as senior vice president, Orr signed on as president of Moyes Enterprises, a company that is involved with a variety of endeavors, including a specialty motor company, an aviation services business, an air transportation carrier, an Indian casino company, a restaurant chain, a magazine and several real estate development projects. When founder Jerry Moyes decided to take Central Freight Lines private again, it was natural for him to turn to Orr for assistance.
Orr’s talents have not been limited to trucking companies. As chairman at TCA, Orr lobbied to increase the meal deduction for truck drivers, worked to help members take advantage of emerging technologies such as PrePass, and oversaw the Professional Truck Driver Institute. In addition to his chairmanship at TCA, he has served as chairman of the Illinois Trucking Association twice.
After observing that “it seems to be easier to get into things than to get out of them”, McCormick decided to stay in the trucking business. He rose to become CEO of Bestway Express, the flagship company in the McCormick family chain of enterprises, as well as chairman of the American Trucking Associations. In addition, McCormick served as TCA chairman from 1998 to 1999. An avid fan of “everything with an engine,” McCormick died Oct. 26, 2006, in a private plane crash near Lawrenceville, Ill.