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TCA Newsroom

TCA Honors 2003 Independent Contractors of the Year
3/16/2004

Kona, HI:

In the 17th Annual “Independent Contractor of the Year” contest sponsored by the Truckload Carriers Association, International Truck and Engine and Overdrive Magazine, five independent contractors were honored as the nation’s best. The awards, presented March 16th during TCA's Annual Convention at the Hilton Waikoloa Resort Hotel, were based on the drivers' excellent safety records, unblemished work history, and involvement in the community and industry. The top five winners and their prizes are:

First Place

Ezra Carroll Benn of Dart Transit Company, Eagan, Minnesota. Mr. Benn has been contracted to Dart Transit since 1986 and has driven over three million accident free miles. Ezra, who prefers to be called Carroll, developed an interest in trucking as a boy when he would visit a truck stop near his home and watch the big trucks coming and going. After marrying his wife Shirley at the age of 18, he worked in construction and factory labor until a local millwork company needed a driver for two days delivering doors. Carroll Benn took the job and began his successful driving career. In 1983 he bought his own truck and three years later he contracted with Dart. He has been driving for over 35 years and has won numerous awards from Dart along with being featured in a full-page story on safe driving in his local newspaper.

Mr. Benn is the proud winner of a new International 9000i Model tractor donated by International Truck and Engine Corporation and powered by a Signature ISX 500 HP engine donated by Cummins Engine Company and equipped with the following items:

  • An Eaton transmission of Mr. Benn’s choice donated by Roadranger – Eaton and Dana Corporation
  • 10 G300 series radial truck tires donated by The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
  • 4 wheel-end stop boxes with new lined MA 312 shoes and breaks hardware donated by ArvinMeritor, Inc.
  • A pair of National Premium Cloth Seats donated by National Seating Company
  • A pair of Aero Bell TriPod Hood Mounted Mirrors donated by Velvac, Inc.

In addition to the fully loaded tractor, Ms. Benn will also receive:

  • $2,000 U.S. Savings Bond, personalized jacket and recognition plaque donated by Overdrive Magazine – Randall Trucking Media Group
  • $1,500 Rewards Card donated by Love’s Travel Stops
  • $1,000 in Frequent Fueler gift certificates donated by Flying J
  • $1,000 U. S. Savings Bond donated by Great Dane Trailers, Inc.
  • $1,000 cash donated by Mack Trucks
  • $1,000 IRA Account established with Putnam Funds donated by Marsh USA, Inc.
  • $1,000 in gift certificates donated by Pilot Corporation
  • $500 cash donated by ArvinMeritor, Inc.
  • $500 cash, Route Tools Professional Driver Software, and 2004 Deluxe Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas from Rand McNally & Co.
  • $500 cash donated by TravelCenters of America
  • $100 in cash from Fontaine International
  • An AW5750 Truck Scale Kit donated by Air-Weigh
  • A Credit Service Package one-year subscription to Gold Book of Transportation Brokers Online, plus 12 credit reports donated by CompuNet Credit Services.
  • A DA 34100 Purest Air Dryer from Haldex Commercial Vehicle Systems
  • A Dieselmatic System & Fuel Cylinder donated by KBI/Kold Ban International
  • A set of Steering Tires donated by Michelin North America
  • 40 TripPak Overnight envelopes donated by Truckload Management, Inc.
  • The XM Roady with new wireless transmitter, plus XM Radio satellite service for one year donated by XM Satellite Radio Inc. and Delphi

The other winners and their prizes were:

Second Place

Bruce Barnes of Witte Bros. Exchange, Inc., Troy, Missouri. For Bruce Barnes, winning second place in TCA’s Independent Contractor of the Year Contest is a family affair. Mr. Barnes’s father was a commercial driver as was his uncle, who won the driver of the year award in 1989. Barnes’s family has continued to play a role in his trucking career as well. Bruce has been a professional trucker for almost 25 years. In 1984 he began his relationship with Witte Brothers Exchange as a company driver, and in June 1997, he started his own business as an independent contractor. He has driven over 2.6 million miles without a chargeable accident and serves as a Trucker Buddy. Mr. Barnes accepts this award on behalf of his family, including his wife, Marilyn and sons Joseph and William.

Mr. Barnes will receive the following prizes:

  • $1,000 in Frequent Fueler Gift Certificates donated by Flying J
  • $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond donated by Great Dane Trailers, Inc.
  • $1,000 Rewards Card donated by Love’s Travel Stops
  • $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond and recognition plaque donated by Overdrive Magazine – Randall Trucking Media Group
  • $1,000 in gift certificates donated by Pilot Corporation
  • $375 in cash donated by TravelCenters of America
  • $250 cash donated by ArvinMeritor, Inc.
  • $250 cash donated by Mack Trucks
  • $100 in cash from Fontaine International
  • $50 cash, Route Tools Professional Driver Software, and Deluxe Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas from Rand McNally & Co.
  • An AW5700 Tractor Scale Kit donated by Air-Weigh
  • A pair of Aero Bell TriPod Hood Mounted Mirrors donated by Velvac, Inc.

Third Place

Charles Maly of Shaffer Trucking, York, Nebraska. Those who work with Charles Maly know him as a driver with ethics, discipline, and a sense of duty. He joined Shaffer Trucking (then known as Sunflower Carriers) in 1982 and has driven close to 2 million lifetime miles. In the past 22 years as a driver, Mr. Maly has not had a single late delivery, and he was recently recognized as the 2003 Nebraska Driver of the Year. He also serves on his company’s Accident Review Committee and serves as a role model and mentor to other drivers. Despite all of Charles’s achievements he continues to be humble and stresses the pride he feels in the trucking industry as a whole.

Mr. Maly will receive the following prizes:

  • $1,000 in Frequent Fueler gift certificates donated by Flying J
  • $1,000 U. S. Savings Bond donated by Great Dane Trailers, Inc.
  • $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond and recognition plaque donated by Overdrive Magazine – Randall Trucking Media Group
  • $1,000 in gift certificates donated by Pilot Corporation
  • $500 Rewards Card donated by Love’s Travel Stops
  • $375 in cash donated by TravelCenters of America
  • $250 cash donated by ArvinMeritor, Inc.
  • $250 in cash donated by Mack Trucks
  • $100 in cash from Fontaine International
  • $50 cash, Route Tools Professional Driver Software, and Deluxe Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas from Rand McNally & Co.
  • An AW5700 Tractor Scale Kit donated by Air-Weigh

Fourth Place

Jerry Johnson of O & S Trucking Inc., Springfield, Missouri. Those who work with Jerry Johnson know him as the epitome of a successful driver and owner. JJ, as he is known to many, has driven over 4 million miles in his 40 years in the industry, and won first place in the 2001 Missouri Truck Driving Championship. He has been contracted to O & S Trucking for the last 16 years and credits his company with helping him run a successful business. Mr. Johnson is also very thankful to the trucking industry, which has allowed him to put his children through school and purchase a home on 200 acres to raise cattle and hay. In his free time he likes to watch his grandchildren play, participate in church events, and hunt.

Fifth Place

Dennis Siler of Dart Transit Company, Lancaster, Texas. Dennis Siler knew he wanted to be a truck driver at an early age. Growing up on a farm in Ohio he looked forward to the summers when he would go on the road with his Uncle Roy delivering goods around the state. Mr. Siler was also surrounded by trucks on his family’s farm, where he enjoyed being allowed to drive an old flatbed truck and trailer. He started his career driving a dump truck in 1972, contracted with Dart in 1985, and has driven over 3 million lifetime miles. Mr. Siler is thankful for the opportunity to run his own business and to his wife, Sandy who has made adjustments to accommodate his job.

Mr. Johnson and Mr. Siler will receive the following prizes:

  • $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond donated by Great Dane Trailers, Inc.
  • $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond and recognition plaque Overdrive Magazine – Randall Trucking Media Group
  • $375 in cash donated by TravelCenters of America
  • $250 cash donated by ArvinMeritor, Inc.
  • $250 in cash donated by Mack Trucks, Inc.
  • $100 in cash from Fontaine International
  • $50 cash, Route Tools Professional Driver Software, and Deluxe Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas from Rand McNally & Co.
  • An AW5700 Tractor Scale Kit donated by Air-Weigh

Editor’s Note: To access photos of the top five Independent Contractors of the Year click here.

TCA is the only national trade association whose collective sole focus is the truckload segment of the motor carrier industry. The association represents dry van, refrigerated, flatbed, and intermodal container carriers operating in the 48 contiguous states as well as Alaska, Mexico, and Canada. Representing operators of over 200,000 trucks, which collectively produce an annual revenue of over $20 billion, TCA is an organization tailored to specific truckload carrier needs.


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