TCA names owner-operator, company driver winners

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A dream came true Tuesday, March 10, in Orlando, Fla., for Wayne Lowe, an owner-operator leased to FFE Transportation Services of Lancaster, Texas. During a banquet held at Orlando’s Gaylord Palms Resort in conjunction with the Truckload Carriers Association’s annual convention, Lowe was named TCA Independent Contractor of the Year and drove home in a new International LoneStar tractor with a Cummins ISX-550 HP engine, an Eaton transmission and Goodyear G300 series Fuel Max tires.

An owner-operator with FFE for 42 years, Lowe has 4.5 million accident-free miles. Clark Lett, leased to Dart Transit, Eagan, Minn., took second place, followed by Gerald Clouse, also leased to Dart. Second- and third-place winners took home a variety of cash and other prizes. The contest is co-sponsored by International Truck and Engine and Overdrive magazine, a sister publication of Commercial Carrier Journal.

James Loveland, a driver for WSE Transportation in Elm Springs, Ark., was named TCA Company Equipment Driver of the Year. Loveland, who has driven 1.6 million accident-free truckload miles, takes home a Cummins engine-powered Dodge Ram pickup. Robert Harmeyer, who drives for Batesville Casket Co., Batesville, Ind., came in second, followed by Ralph Boles with Bison Transport Inc., Winnipeg, Manitoba. The contest is co-sponsored by TCA, Cummins Engine and Truckers News, another sister publication of CCJ.

The goal of both contests is to recognize the outstanding truck drivers who move the nation’s goods reliably and safely. The winners are chosen based on their performance record, ability to operate in a safe manner, efforts to enhance the image of the trucking industry and positive contributions to the community in which they live.

To be eligible for the contests, driver applicants had to meet certain minimum criteria, including having driven one million consecutive accident-free miles and being employed by or leased to a TCA-member trucking company. Trucking companies were limited to nominating only five drivers for each contest.

The three finalists for each contest were judged on their final application form, which included operating information, verification of work history, safety record, equipment specifications (owner-operator contest only), a 300-word essay explaining why the entrant should be a candidate for the grand prize, and a 300-word essay explaining how the entrant is a good trucking citizen.

Lowe will be featured in the May issue of Overdrive magazine, and Loveland will appear in the May issue of Truckers News.

Other awards and announcements were made during TCA’s annual convention, held Sunday-Wednesday, March 8-11:

  • Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express Inc. of Dayton, Ohio, was elected as 2009-2010 TCA chairman. Burch, who says he will dedicate much of his time to helping carriers overcome the challenges of the current volatile business climate, has been active with TCA and the American Trucking Associationsfor almost 20 years. He has served as a TCA board member since 1996 and as an officer since 2004. He also has participated in and/or chaired numerous TCA committees and task forces, most notably the recruitment and retention and membership committees. For ATA, he recently was appointed chairman of the labor and regulatory committee, and he also serves on the membership and communication/image committees.
  • The following individuals have been elected to assist Burch and will serve as officers until the next annual convention:
    — First vice chairman: John Kaburick, president, Earl L. Henderson Trucking Co., Salem, Ill.;
    — Second vice chairman: Gary Salisbury, president and chief executive officer, Fikes Truck Line, Hope, Ark.;
    — Secretary: Robert E. Low, president and founder, Prime Inc., Springfield, Mo.;
    — Treasurer: Tom Kretsinger Jr., president and chief operating officer, American Central Transport, Liberty, Mo.;
    — Association vice president to ATA: Lance Craig, CEO and president, Craig Transportation Co., Perrysburg, Ohio;
    — Immediate past chairman: Ray Haight, executive director, MacKinnon Transport, Guelph, Ontario; and
    — At-large officers: Shepard Dunn, president and CEO, Bestway Express, Vincennes, Ind.; Russell Stubbs, senior vice president and COO, FFE Transportation Services, Dallas; Keith Tuttle, president, Motor Carrier Service Inc., Northwood, Ohio; and Tom Witt, president, Arrow Trucking Co., Tulsa, Okla.

  • The grand-prize winners of TCA’s 33rd Annual National Fleet Safety Awards are Rocha Transportation of Modesta, Calif., and Roehl Transport of Marshfield, Wis. Rocha won in the category of less than 25 million miles, and Roehl won in the category of more than 25 million miles. Both companies will be recognized a second time during TCA’s 2009 Safety & Security Division Annual Meeting May 17-19 in Louisville, Ky.
  • The two winners were selected from among 18 division winners in the National Fleet Safety Division Awards announced in January. To win the grand prize, both companies had to demonstrate that they strive to meet stringent standards in their overall safety programs, on and off the highway, and were judged to be the best in their commitment to improving safety on our nation’s highways.

  • The winners of the first Best Fleets to Drive For survey and contest were Fremont Contract Carriers Inc. of Fremont, Neb., which was selected in the category for fleets with more than 100 power units; and Wannemacher Enterprises of Lima, Ohio, which was selected in the category for fleets with less than 100 power units.
  • Best Fleets to Drive For is an annual survey and contest identifying the North American for-hire trucking companies that provide the best workplace experiences for their drivers. Nominated carriers are evaluated on the range and depth of offered programs, the overall effectiveness of those programs across key metrics, and the responses of surveyed drivers. The top finishers are identified as Best Fleets to Drive For, and the highest scoring fleet in each category is named overall winner.

    Fremont Contract Carriers (FCC), which operates 312 trucks, won its category with a range of programs closely aligned to driver needs. For this fleet, investments in technology to improve safety and efficiency – along with profit sharing, driver wellness and flexible performance rewards – combined to deliver strong results in safety, retention and overall driver satisfaction.

    Wannemacher Enterprises, which operates 56 trucks, won its category through a combination of innovative programs, such as its public safety video series – ongoing videos that address general issues of road safety and are aired as a public service on local television stations. The program has helped Wannemacher drivers maintain a safety focus, while extending the Wannemacher brand and promoting the trucking industry in general as a partner in safety.

  • The Past Chairman’s Award was presented to David G. McCorkle, chairman of the board for McCorkle Truck Line Inc. of Oklahoma City. The award – which is given to recognized industry leaders who make a significant contribution to the business community, the industry and TCA – is the highest award of recognition given by TCA.
  • McCorkle, a TCA member for 28 years, has held numerous positions within the organization, most notably serving as founding chairman of the Dump Transport Division when TCA was known as the Interstate Truckload Carriers Conference. He also has worked extensively within ATA, serving as vice president at-large from 1996-97 and state vice president from Oklahoma for the decade from 1986-1996. McCorkle also served as chairman of the board for the Associated Motor Carriers of Oklahoma from 1985-86.

  • The Professional Truck Driver Institute Inc. (PTDI), an organization that is in its 20th year of certifying courses at truck driving schools, presented the 11th annual Lee J. Crittenden Memorial Award to two recipients: Don Hess, director of transportation and public safety at John Wood Community College in Quincy, Ill.; and Ed Kynaston, a retired chief of the California Highway Patrol, living in Elk Grove, Calif.
  • The award is given to a person who exemplifies the overall message of PTDI, of which Crittenden was a staunch supporter until his death in April 1998. This is the first time in the history of the award that this honor has dual recipients.

  • The National Association of Independent Truckers will be donating $150,000 toward TCA’s Scholarship Fund. Although full details have yet to be worked out, the money will be designated for a special scholarship that will be named after NAIT, an organization that supports the needs of independent contractor small-business owners.