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James Loveland of Willis Shaw Express Named TCA’s 2008 Company Equipment Driver of the Year
James Loveland, a company driver for Willis Shaw Express of Elm Springs, Arkansas, has been named the 2008 Company Equipment Driver of the Year in the 20th annual Company Equipment Driver of the Year Contest, sponsored by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and Truckers News. The awards were presented to the Mobile, Alabama resident on March 10th during TCA's Annual Convention at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Loveland received the prestigious award based on his excellent safety record, unblemished work history, and involvement in the community and industry. A truck driver for Willis Shaw Express since 1998, he has logged more than 1.6 million accident-free truckload miles. Over the course of his truck driving career, he has accumulated numerous awards, including being inducted into the 1½ million Mile Club, receiving a 10-year Safe Driving Award, and being selected as Company Driver of the Year and Company Driver of the Month.
When the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) asked Willis Shaw Express to provide drivers and equipment to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Loveland was the first driver to volunteer. He spent six months as part of a FEMA task force assigned to Region IV and was the last Willis Shaw Express driver to be released from his duties, because FEMA found Loveland’s flexibility and willingness to help to be extremely useful to the operation. Later, in 2008, Loveland volunteered in a similar capacity when Hurricane Ike bore down on the state of Louisiana.
In the contest application presented to TCA on Loveland’s behalf, Chris Kozak, president of Willis Shaw Express, wrote, “[James] is an ambassador of the roadways. He’s the type of individual that customers always rave about. ‘What a nice and courteous driver’ is the typical feedback we would hear all over the country. . . . His technical expertise, performance of his duties and sense of citizenship are without equal in the rich 70-year history of our company...”
As the Grand Prize winner, Loveland will receive the following prizes:
· A Cummins engine-powered Dodge Ram pick-up truck
· $3,950 in truck stop gift cards
· $2,750 cash
· A TagHeuer Swiss Avant-Gard men’s watch, valued at $1,500
· Two roundtrip airplane tickets to anywhere in the continental U.S.
To be eligible for the contest, Loveland had to meet certain minimum criteria, including having driven one million consecutive accident-free miles and being employed by a TCA-member trucking company for at least the past three years.After passing the initial phase of the competition, he was then asked to submit a final application, from which he was selected as the grand prize winner. Loveland’s final application required verification of work history and safety record, a 300-word essay explaining why he should be a candidate for the grand prize, and a 300-word essay explaining why he is a good “Trucking Citizen.”
“TCA’s Company Equipment Driver of the Year contest recognizes the best of the best,” said Chris Burruss, TCA’s president. “We are very pleased with the caliber of the trucking professionals who have been selected as the 2008 winners. We hold them in the highest regard as a shining example to other truck drivers.”
The second place winner of the contest was Robert Harmeyer of Batesville Casket Company, Batesville, Indiana. The third place winner was Ralph Boles of Bison Transport, Winnipeg, Manitoba.