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Wayne Lowe Honored as Truckload Carriers Association’s 2008 Owner Operator of the Year
In the 22nd annual TCA Owner Operator of the Year contest, sponsored by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), Navistar, Inc., and Overdrive magazine, Wayne Lowe, an owner operator contracted to FFE Transportation Services, Inc., of Dallas, Texas, was honored as the 2008 TCA Owner Operator of the Year.
The award was presented to the Arlington, Texas resident on March 10th during TCA's Annual Convention at the Gaylord Palms Resort. Lowe was selected as the grand prize winner of the contest based on his excellent safety record, unblemished work history, and community and industry involvement.
Lowe boasts a long and distinguished career as a truck driver, beginning with driving a grain truck while he was still in high school. During the Vietnam War, he was drafted into the U.S. Army at the age of 21, bringing his transportation experience to his assigned Anchorage, Alaska duty station. From transporting active-duty military members’ children back and forth to school, to driving officers in the presidential convoy for President Lyndon Johnson, Lowe drove every kind of ground vehicle the Army had to offer.
Ten days after being honorably discharged from the military, Lowe took a driving test to work for FFE Transportation Services and was hired on the spot. Four decades later, he has now logged more than 4.5 million accident-free truckload miles and is still driving for FFE.
Over the years, Lowe has also received many honors from his company, including 1, 2, 3 and 4 Million Mile Safe Driving awards and first place in FFE’s Truck Rodeo. In 2007, he was selected as the Texas Motor Transportation Association’s Driver of the Year.
“Lowe is one of the industry’s most dedicated and professional drivers,” said David Hedgpeth, FFE’s vice president of corporate compliance and safety, “but he is also compassionate. Two years ago, he aided a family involved in a winter accident about 100 miles outside of Denver – going above and beyond what would normally be expected. He is what I call ‘salt of the earth.’”
As the Owner Operator of the Year, Lowe will receive a SmartWay-compliant LoneStar tractor donated by Navistar, Inc. (this prize includes payment of the federal excise tax). The tractor will be loaded with a Cummins ISX-550 HP engine, an 18-speed manual Fuller Eaton Roadranger transmission, and Goodyear G305 Fuel Max radial truck tires. He will also receive $3,950 in truck stop gift cards, $1,250 cash, and a TagHeuer Swiss Avant-Gard men’s watch, valued at $1,500.
To be eligible for the contest, Lowe had to meet certain minimum criteria, including having driven one million consecutive accident-free miles and being leased to a TCA-member trucking company.Once he passed the initial phase of the contest, Lowe had to submit a final application form, from which the judges selected him as the grand prize winner. Lowe’s final application included, among other things, operating information, verification of work history and safety record, equipment specifications, a 300-word essay explaining why Lowe should be a candidate for the grand prize, and a 300-word essay explaining how Lowe is a good “Trucking Citizen.”
“TCA’s Owner Operator of the Year contest pays tribute to owner operators who can do three things better than others: run a successful business, maintain an outstanding safety record on the highways, and aid the trucking industry’s efforts to enhance the public image of trucks and truck driving.This year’s winner, Wayne Lowe, as well as his fellow second and third place winners, demonstrate all of these things and much more. They are role models that every truck driver should strive to emulate,” said Chris Burruss, TCA’s president.
The second and third place winners of the contest were Clark Lett and Gerald Clouse respectively, both owner operators affiliated with Dart Transit Company of Eagan, Minnesota.