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Trucking's Top Rookie - 2014
Cash and prizes awarded at Great American Trucking Show
Randall-Reilly announced H.O. Wolding company driver Julie Matulle as the winner in its Mike O’Connell Memorial Trucking’s Top Rookie program at a ceremony on Friday, August 22, 2014 during the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.
Matulle was chosen for the award by an expert panel of judges, which included representatives from training schools, suppliers and trade associations. As Trucking’s Top Rookie, Matulle won $10,000 in cash and the following prizes:
• A custom plaque from Award Company of America, a division of Randall-Reilly
Immediately following the awards ceremony, Red Eye Radio’s Eric Harley conducted a live interview with Matulle, a native of Oshkosh, Wisconsin who received her CDL at Fox Valley Technical College.
Matulle said she felt “blessed” to be named Trucking’s Top Rookie. “It was a huge honor. Not only am I doing the job I’ve dreamed of my entire life, I was recognized for it. This award was not only icing on the cake but LOTS of sprinkles too,” says Matulle. “While listening to the other nine nominees’ history I felt so honored to be in such great company…and then to win it? Just crazy. My life could not be better!”
The Mike O’Connell Memorial Trucking’s Top Rookie contest was created to highlight the opportunities in the truck driving profession and promote the truck driving career choice during a severe shortage of drivers. Carriers were asked to nominate their top rookie who had graduated from a PTDI certified, or NAPFTDS- or CVTA-member driver training school within the past year and had been employed by their trucking company for less than one year. Nominees were judged on their safety performance, customer service and achievements within their organization.
Rob Behnke, an instructor at Fox Valley Technical College Truck Driving Program, was proud to have Matulle as a graduate of their school. “Julie came to us with a smile, great attitude, and determination to be successful not only in our Transportation Industry but in every aspect of life. Starting slow and meek she quickly blossomed into a leader, and a confident one at that,” Behnke said. “Her classmates would always be watching to see what Julie would do next and how she would approach the task at hand. Julie was not intimidated by the industry but determined to make significant strides and changes if necessary. Being a lady in our ‘typically’ male dominated industry, Julie was taking the reins and on the run!”
Nine other finalists for the Trucking’s Top Rookie award each received $1,000 in cash and a variety of other prizes. The other finalists were Dion Blair, who went to All State Career School before signing on with TMC Transportation; Elisee Carnelli, a Hogan Transports, Inc. driver who attended MTC Truck Driver Training; Frank Childers, who trained at Trans Tech, Inc. and drives for Cargo Transporters; Kyle Friauf, who went to Kirkwood Community College before going to work for Transport America; Steven Jameson, a graduate of Interstate Truck Driving school who is leased to Dart Transit; Jason Kiser, a driver for Stevens Transport who came through Stevens Driving Academy; Michael Kline, who attended Roehl Driver Training Center and is employed by Roehl Transport; Julie Matulle, who trained at Fox Valley Technical College and now drives for H.O. Wolding; Carlos Nordquist, a Roadmaster Drivers School graduate who is employed by Werner Enterprises and John Spofford, a Premier Crude driver who trained at Del Mar College.
“H.O. Wolding is so proud of Julie and all that she’s accomplished in this last year. She really has impressed us since the day she showed up for orientation and continues to excel. We’ve started to look forward to participating in the Trucking’s Top Rookie program every year and it has been amazing to be alongside Julie throughout this experience,” Paige Selbo, of H.O. Wolding, said. “She’s a wonderful person and an excellent driver who truly deserves the recognition. We’re overjoyed to have her on our team and excited for many more years to come!”
Trucking’s Top Rookie is a partnership between Randall-Reilly, Truckload Carriers Association, Rand McNally, Commercial Vehicle Training Association, Shell ROTELLA, National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools, Pilot Flying J, Progressive Commercial Insurance, American Trucking Associations and the Red Eye Radio Network.