Drivers for Big G Express, WEL Companies named 2017’s top drivers, win $25,000 each

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Updated Mar 29, 2018
Owner-operator Philip Keith reacts when his name is called as the winner of the 2017 Owner-Operator of the Year contest.Owner-operator Philip Keith reacts when his name is called as the winner of the 2017 Owner-Operator of the Year contest.

Big G Express driver Stephen Richardson and WEL Companies owner-operator Philip Keith have been named the top truckers of 2017, earning them $25,000 cash each. The announcement came Tuesday night at the Truckload Carriers Association‘s annual convention, held in Orlando, Fla.

The Company Driver of the Year and Owner-Operator of the Year awards are presented by TCA and CCJ sister publications Truckers News and Overdrive. Both Driver of the Year awards are sponsored by Cummins and Love’s Travel Stops.

Richardson has logged 1.9 million safe miles with Big G, and Keith has driven 5 million accident-free miles in his career.

“I’m proud to share the road with my fellow professional drivers,” Keith said, referring to the other finalists, as he accepted the award. “And I hope to inspire other drivers to be more like us.”

In accepting his award, Richardson thanked God, his wife of almost 17 years and Big G Express and its President Randy Vernon for the opportunities he’s been given.

“We all know it takes a special person just to be a professional driver, but Stephen does the job with a grace and demeanor that most would find impossible to achieve in today’s environment,” said Vernon. “He handles the demands of his job on a daily basis in all facets among the finest I have ever seen. Richardson is safe, on time, and always represents himself, his family, Big G Express and our industry in the absolute finest manner.”

The other owner-operator finalists, Kevin Kocmich of Diamond Transportation System and Bryan Smith of Art Pape Transfer, each will receive $2,500.  Company driver finalists Donald Lewis of Wilson Logistics and Roger Wyble of Maverick Transportation receive the same amount.