11 first-year drivers named finalists in Trucking’s Top Rookie contest

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Updated Aug 9, 2019

Eleven first-year truck drivers have been named finalists for the 2019 Mike O’Connell Trucking’s Top Rookie Award contest presented by Truckers News.

The finalists will be recognized and the winner announced Friday, Aug. 23 at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.

The finalists, the driver training school they attended and their employer include:

  • Aaron Pratt – drives for/trained by Maverick Transportation
  • Bradley Chislett – drivers for H.O. Wolding; trained by National Tractor Trailer School
  • Daniel Walton – drives for/trained by Roehl Transport
  • Dwight Arnold – drives for Stevens Transport; trained by Tennessee Truck Driving School
  • Jaron Grier – drives for U.S. Xpress; trained by New England Tractor Trailer Training School
  • Kandy Qualls – drives for Earl L. Henderson Trucking Co.; trained by United Truck Driving School
  • Matthew Hepburn – drives for Melton Truck Lines; trained by Miller-Motte College
  • Oday Alhousha – drives for Hogan Transport; trained by CDL Xpress School
  • Pamela Girton – drives for Groendyke Transport; trained by Tulsa Technology Center
  • Thoma Biltch – drives for Werner Enterprises; trained by Roadmaster Drivers School
  • Tyria Snow – drives for TMC Transportation; trained by Diesel Driving Academy

The winner receives $10,000, a plaque and a package of prizes. Ten other finalists will each receive $1,000, a plaque and prizes. All 11 finalists will receive prizes from the RoadPro Family of Brands and Rand McNally.

Recognition ceremonies and the announcement of this year’s winner will be at 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, on the Truckers News Stage in Hall A of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

Partners with Truckers News in the search for Trucking’s Top Rookie are the national organizations overseeing truck driver training – Commercial Vehicle Training Association, National Association Of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools, and Professional Truck Driver Institute.

Recognizing the top rookie driver was the idea of the late Mike O’Connell, who was formerly the executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association. The award is named in his honor. He believed that honoring a top rookie driver helped show new drivers they are appreciated by the trucking industry.