TCA, Randall-Reilly name 2012 Driver of the Year finalists

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The Truckload Carriers Association and Randall-Reilly Business Media & Information Co. have announced the company driver and owner operator finalists in their 2012 Driver of the Year competition.

The following 11 drivers will compete for the Owner Operator of the Year contest:
Bradley Chapdelaine, Dart Transit Co.
James Leatherwood, Louisiana Transportation
Larry McCann, Tennant Truck Lines
Michael McCoy, Great American Lines
Gary McGinnis, Universal Am-Can
Jimmy McSwain, Sunco Carriers Inc.
Karen Moore, Thomas Moore Transportation (team driver with finalist Thomas Moore)
Thomas Moore, Thomas Moore Transportation (team driver with finalist Karen Moore)
Donnie Parsons, The Mason & Dixon Line
Jeanette Simpson, Landstar Ranger
Robert Stewart, Interstate Distributor Co.

The following eight drivers will compete for the Company Driver of the Year contest:
Freddie Bell, Epes Transport System Inc.
Albert Carter, Melton Truck Lines
Richard Dearth, Don Hummer Trucking
Reuben Dupsky Jr., Fremont Contract Carriers Inc.
Neal Ewoldt, Tennant Truck Lines
Phil Johnson, Marten Transport
Daniel Poorman, Gordon Trucking Inc.
Danny Smith, Big G Express Inc.

Both contests operate on a 21-month cycle. The process for the 2012 competition began in the spring of 2011 when the nominating process opened. In December 2012, TCA will further narrow the competition to the top three finalists in each category. Finally, the grand prizewinners will be announced at TCA’s Annual Convention, to be held March 3-6, 2013, at the Wynn Las Vegas in Nevada.

Each company driver finalist will be profiled in a 2012 issue of Truckers News, and each owner-operator finalist will be profiled in a 2012 issue of Overdrive; both magazines are sister publications of CCJ. This constant year-long exposure is part of a long-term plan to heighten reader awareness about TCA and the Driver of the Year competition while outlining best practices that other drivers may wish to emulate.

“It is our privilege to be able to interview and showcase each contest finalist to share what makes them successful with the rest of the industry,” says Jeff Mason, vice president of group publishing at Randall-Reilly, the publisher of Truckers News and Overdrive. “For example, how do they keep themselves safe, dedicated, reliable and motivated on a regular basis? How do they solve problems while on the job and manage time efficiently? How do they balance family life with life on the road? What equipment do they consider essential to success? We’ll make sure that everyone knows their stories and what it took for each finalist to be named one of trucking’s best.”

The finalists and subsequent grand prize winners will be selected based on their ability to operate in a safe manner on the public highways, efforts to enhance the public image of the trucking industry, and positive contributions to the communities in which they live. To be eligible for the contests, driver applicants had to meet certain minimum criteria, such as having driven one million consecutive accident-free miles. Trucking companies were limited to nominating only five drivers for each contest. Previous grand prize winners were not eligible to enter either contest again.

The contest judges examined each applicant’s operating information, work history and safety record. They also evaluated each applicant’s 300-word essays explaining why he/she is a good “trucking citizen” and should be a candidate for the grand prize. For the owner operators, the judges also reviewed equipment specifications, business plans and financial statements.

“In my opinion, every one of our finalists is outstanding,” says TCA Chairman Gary Salisbury, president and chief executive officer of Fikes Truck Line Inc. of Hope, Ark. “Whether they wind up winning the grand prize or not, each has made significant contributions to the industry and each should be applauded for setting the finest example possible. These are the drivers we will tell the whole world about.”

Even as the 2012 program moves forward, the 2011 competition is nearing its conclusion. TCA and Randall-Reilly plan to name the top three finalists for the 2011 company driver and owner operator contests by Dec. 6 and will name the grand prize winners at the association’s Annual Convention, March 4-7, 2012, at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, Fla. For further information on the Driver of the Year competition, please visit www.truckload.org/Driver-of-the-Year.