The Professional Truck Driver Institute Inc. has awarded its 14th annual Lee J. Crittenden Memorial Award to Marlene Dakita, the organization’s long-time certification coordinator. The ceremony was held at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, Fla., during the annual convention of the Truckload Carriers Association, the organization that manages PTDI.
The award, sponsored by Delmar, Cengage Learning, is given to a person who exemplifies the overall mission of PTDI, for which Lee Crittenden was a staunch supporter until his death in April 1998. PTDI raises the quality of truck driver training courses by establishing and promoting minimum training standards and by certifying courses that meet those standards.
“Delmar, as a partner of PTDI and TCA, is proud to once again sponsor this prestigious award,” said Kristen Davis, director of transportation industry learning solutions at Delmar, Cengage Learning. “I have had the pleasure of working with Marlene for many years, and she truly exemplifies dedication and support of the trucking industry in all that she does.”
Dakita, a TCA staff member, began working with PTDI in 1996, shortly after TCA started managing the organization. Although she works under a director, she is described as a “one-person business” that runs the entire PTDI operation, from meetings to school records to communications. Her responsibilities include managing the pre- and post-certification process for schools applying for PTDI course certification; administering the standards, policies and procedures and ensuring their consistency; and managing the ongoing certification requirements for 61 schools in 21 states and one Canadian province.
“To anyone who deals with the organization, Marlene Dakita is the face and voice of the Professional Truck Driver Institute,” said David Money, CDS, CDT, chairman of PTDI’s Certification Commission and product manager – transportation for Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., Loss Control Advisory Services. “She is the past, present and future of the organization, the glue holding together our history, our standards and our organizational development. Her attention to detail and grasp of PTDI’s goals has provided direction for schools, committees and directors. In reality, without her as its anchor, PTDI might not exist. She is PTDI.”
Terry Burnett, CIC, CRM, chairman of the board for PTDI and the president of Burnett Insurance Corp. of Little Rock, Ark., praised Dakita’s team spirit and ability to keep the big picture in mind while working tirelessly to further the cause of the organization. “She was invaluable to me as we reviewed and updated the entire PTDI skill, curriculum and certification standards,” Burnett said. “Even with the monumental amount of material we had to cover, she worked effortlessly and meticulously to help maintain continuity throughout. Her writing and organizational skills were a driving force behind us being able to complete and present a project of which we could be proud.”