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TCA Announces 2008 Owner Operator of the Year Contest Winners
In the 22nd annual TCA Owner Operator of the Year contest, sponsored by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), Navistar, Inc., and Overdrive magazine, three owner operators were honored as the nation's best. The awards, presented March 10th during TCA's Annual Convention at the Gaylord Palms Resort, were based on the drivers' excellent safety records, unblemished work histories, and community and industry involvement.
The top three winners and their prizes are:
Grand Prize Winner
FFE Transportation Services, Inc., Dallas, TX
Wayne Lowe has been associated with FFE Transportation Services, Inc., since 1967 and has logged more than 4.5 million accident-free truckload miles throughout his career. In 2007, he was selected as the Texas Motor Transportation Association Driver of the Year. He 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.
“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.
Dart Transit Company, Eagan, MN
Mr. Lett has been a truck driver for 55 years. He has been affiliated with Dart Transit Company since 1991 and drove for North American Van Lines for 17 years before that. Over the course of his career, he has driven 3+ million accident-free truckload miles. His awards include 17 consecutive safety awards from Dart Transit and 18 consecutive safety awards from North American Van Lines.
When not on the road, Lett is actively involved in youth baseball and basketball teams; serves as a Deacon, choir member, and trustee of his church; and is also a Master Mason Pilgrim.
In the contest application presented to TCA on Lett’s behalf, Joyce Jordan, chief operating officer for Dart’s Dallas Operating Center, wrote, “Clark Lett is the type of human being that most of us strive to be: family focused, church guided, and community minded. He is all of those things, and yet he still finds time to be a safe, professional truck driver.”
As his prize package, Lett will receive $2,000 in truck stop gift cards, $750 cash, and a $250 gift card for Best Buy.
Dart Transit Company, Eagan, MN
Mr. Clouse has driven 3.4 million accident-free truckload miles and has been leased to Dart Transit Co. for the past 22 years. He has received the National Safety Council’s Three Million Mile Safety Award and Dart Transit’s 20-Year Truck Trophy Safety Award. In addition, he has been named a Dart Contractor of the Month and has received Dart’s President’s Safety Award and a Hall of Fame Safety Award.
In the contest application presented to TCA on Clouse’s behalf, Dave Oren, chief executive officer of Dart Transit Company, wrote, “Our Operations Department never questions whether Gerald will deliver his loads safely and on time because they know he will. He is a wise businessman who understands that being an owner operator isn’t a job – it’s a career. He runs a successful business because he knows it takes dedication, responsibility, and hard work.”
As his prize package, Clouse will receive $1,200 in truck stop gift cards, $500 cash, and a $250 gift card for Best Buy.
To be eligible for the contest, applicants had to meet certain minimum criteria, including having driven one million consecutive accident-free miles and being leased to a TCA-member trucking company.After passing the initial phase of the competition, driver applicants were then asked to submit a final application form, from which the top three winners were selected. Final application forms required operating information, verification of work history and safety record, equipment specifications, a 300-word essay explaining why the entrant should be a candidate for the grand prize, and a 300-word essay explaining how the entrant 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.