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TCA Honors 2004 Company Equipment Drivers of the Year
Las Vegas, NV:
In the 16th Annual "Company Equipment Driver of the Year" contest sponsored by the Truckload Carriers Association, Detroit Diesel and Truckers News, five TCA-member company drivers were honored as the nation's best. The awards, presented March 8th 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:
Grand Prize Winner, Brian O'Leary
Brian O'Leary has taken old school truck teachings and merged them with the 21st century trucking industry. Brian's trucking career includes over three and a half million accident free miles and nineteen and a half years with Western Distributing. In 1994 he was asked to work with Caterpillar to field test new electronic field follow engines. For the next eight years he learned about computers and the new generation engines and provided vital driver feedback. Brian followed his father into a career in trucking at age 20 and has never looked back. He presents himself and his company as a positive example of the trucking industry and often stops to help motorists on the side of the road. Brian and his wife Claudia live in Fort Collins, Colorado.
As the Grand Prize Winner, Brian will receive the following prizes:
Second Place Winner, Richard Downin
Richard Downin is a man who appreciates what he has and where he came from. Born on a small farm in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania he accepted the challenge of helping run the farm at a young age and retains that work ethic today. After serving time in Vietnam, he started a career as a professional truck driver and in the twenty-five years since he has driven over two million safe miles. When he is not working Richard enjoys carpentry and NASCAR and currently has enjoyed helping his daughter build her first home. He lives with his wife Debbie in Mont Alto, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Downin will receive the following prizes:
Third Place Winner, Darrell Hand
Darrell Hand started driving at the tender age of eighteen and has seen the industry change. Despite this change he says trucking is still trucking and his goal as a professional is to pick-up and deliver freight safely and on-time. Since 1998 Darrell has driven for O & S Trucking. He has driven an impressive four point nine million lifetime miles and is thrilled to be honored just for doing his job. For Darrell life off the road is full of family time with his wife of 38 years. He enjoys working their 50-acre farm and restoring cars, his current project is a 1941 Plymouth Convertible. He and his wife Sharon live in Ava, Missouri.
Mr. Hand will receive the following prizes:
Fourth Place Winner, Robert Hagen
Bob Hagen's career in the trucking industry began at birth when he would travel on summer road trips with his father who was an over the road driver. He remembers looking forward to the annual trips and kept the tradition alive by taking his three sons on the road with him over the summers. Little did his sons know they were traveling with one of the best professionals on the road. Bob has driven three million accident free miles in his thirty-five years on the road and has been driving for Challenger Motor Freight for the last nineteen years. In his spare time he enjoys serving as president of a softball organization in the summer and as an ice hockey trainer in the winter. He and his wife Ann reside in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.
Fifth Place Winner, Ruppert "Rudy" Stevens
Rudy Stevens feels immense pride in his career as a truck driver. He understands that drivers and their companies play a vital role in the economy of this country. Rudy has driven for 44 years, 34 of them for Epes, and logged over four million miles. He is one of the most respected drivers at Epes and has made numerous suggestions for improvement in equipment, pay packages, and safety programs over the years. His company values his input and expertise. Rudy is known as a mentor to young drivers and works to pass on his belief that a job worth doing is worth doing right. Rudy and his wife Judy live in Burlington, North Carolina.
Mr. Hagen and Mr. Stevens will receive the following prizes:
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.