NPTC announces board of directors, Driver Hall of Fame inductees

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Five newly elected fleet members and one newly elected allied member took their seats on the National Private Truck Council Board of Directors during the group’s Annual Education Management Conference and Exhibition, held April 29-May 1 in Indianapolis.

Also, four truck drivers who have logged more than a combined 13.5 million miles of safe driving were honored by NPTC and inducted into the NPTC/Bridgestone Firestone Driver Hall of Fame April 30.


The new fleet members include Ralph Benson of Sentinel Transportation; Richard J. Chavez of Nestle Waters North America; William E. Perry, CTP, CDS of Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc.; Mike Pughes, CTP of General Parts Inc./CARQUEST; and Daniel P. Smith of Smart and Final. Donald K. Metcalf of Penske Truck Leasing Co. was elected as the Third Party Provider Division representative.

The NPTC Board of Directors includes:

  • Chairman of NPTC, Harry J. Haney III of Kraft Foods;
  • Vice Chair/Chair-Elect – Ron D. Tartt, CTP of Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC;
  • Treasurer – Michael P. Parrish of Paccar Leasing Co.;
  • Secretary and one of the three Heavy Duty Division representatives Rick Foster, CDS of Wal-Mart Transportation LLC;
  • Ralph Benson of Sentinel Transportation LLC is chair of the Conference Planning Committee;
  • Robert J. Boyich of CPC Logistics Inc. is the Allied Small Volume Supplier Division representative;
  • Richard J. Chavez of Nestle Waters North America is one of the three Heavy Duty Division representatives;
  • Kevin Connors, CTP of ConAgra Foods Inc. is one of the two Medium & Light Duty Division representatives;
  • David R. Ellis of J.J. Keller & Associates Inc. is the National Advisory Board – Allied representative;
  • John Hinton of Harris Teeter Inc. is one of the three Heavy Duty Division representatives;
  • Tony Jolly, CTP of General Mills is the Third Party User Division representative;
  • David T. LaPalomento of International Truck and Engine Corp. is the Allied Large Volume Supplier Division representative;
  • Donald K. Metcalf of Penske Truck Leasing Co. is the Third Party Provider Division representative;
  • Greg Mathein of Senco Products Inc. is chair of the Membership Committee;
  • William E. Perry, CTP, CDS of Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc. is one of the two Medium & Light Duty Division representatives;
  • Mike Pughes, CTP of General Parts Inc./CARQUEST is chair of the Legislative and Regulatory Advisory Committee;
  • Daniel P. Smith of Smart and Final is chair of the PR/Marketing Committee;
  • Gary L. Strausbaugh, CTP of Mennell Milling Co. is chair of the NPTC Institute Board of Governors; and
  • Greg Whisenant, CTP of Shaw Industries Group Inc. is chair of the Safety Committee.

    The drivers are from NPTC member companies and have met the minimum qualifications of 20 years, two million miles or 50,000 hours of driving without a preventable accident. Many of the drivers have far exceeded these qualifications and are known for having made significant contributions to their industry and their communities. Since its inception, 84 drivers have been installed in the Driver Hall of Fame.

    This year’s Hall of Fame inductees are:

  • Carl M. Baker, Praxair Inc. Baker began driving professionally in 1970 and has spent the last 28 years with Praxair, hauling nitrogen and argon liquids. He has received National Safety Council awards and the Praxair Two Million Mile award. The secret to his success: He keeps a positive attitude, practices good driving habits and yields to traffic. If he could choose his career over again, he says he would still drive because it comes easy to him, and he can make a good living.
  • Ashton J. Gordon, Logex. Gordon has been with Logex for 3 1/2 years and has driven more than 3 million miles since starting his career 37 years ago. His workweek generally consists of 55 hours per week, carrying cryogenics along his 700-mile dedicated route from Wilmington, Calif. to Redondo Beach, Calif. Gordon began driving in the U.S. Army, and over the years he has driven for various trucking companies, first as an independent driver, then as an employee with N.Y. Spool Co. as a tractor-trailer driver. Now at Logex, he has been chosen to be the Safety Core Team Leader, facilitating their behavioral-based safety process.
  • Higinio Ortiz, Army and Air Force Exchange Service. Ortiz started his career with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service in 1958 and has 48 years of dedicated service. When he started driving, there were no driving schools available; the only instructions he received were the basics – how to start, shift and stop. Today, he drives a tractor-trailer and primarily carries general merchandise. During his career with the Exchange Service, he has been awarded the One, Two, Three and Four Million Mile Safe Driver Award. His performance has been recognized as “Superior” through his devotion to his job and safe driving skills that have proven him to be a “True and Successful Professional Driver,” according to his supervisors.
  • Ernest B. Woodruff III, Smithfield Transportation. Woodruff joined the Smithfield Transportation family in August 1971 as a professional driver. Logging more than 4 million miles to date, he has maintained a safe and preventable accident-free driving history with Smithfield throughout his career, pulling refrigerated pork across the eastern portion of North Carolina. He has received the annual safety bonus and award certificate every year for the past 35 years and was awarded the North Carolina Professional Driver of the Year in 2006. He assists in training the new drivers and teaches them the things his father and uncle taught him.