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Larry Severson Earns Third Place in Truckload Carriers Association's 2009 Owner Operator of the Year Contest

Prestigious award recognizes Minnesota resident's contributions to trucking and community

Las Vegas, Nevada:

Photo:  Kevin Burch, Jeff Jones, Larry Severson, and Donal OrenLarry L. Severson of Vadnais Heights, Minnesota, an owner operator leased to Dart Transit Company of Eagan, Minnesota, has received third place in the Truckload Carriers Association's (TCA) prestigious TCA Owner Operator of the Year Contest.

The announcement was made March 2 during TCA's Annual Convention at the Wynn Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The 23rd annual TCA Owner Operator of the Year contest, sponsored by TCA and Overdrive magazine, honors the top owner operators in the United States and Canada, based on the drivers' excellent safety records, unblemished work histories, and community and industry involvement.

Severson has been associated with Dart Transit Company since 1975 and has logged more than 5 million truckload miles throughout his 48-year career.  His longevity, record, and excellent reputation with customers have earned Severson the title, "Larry the Legend," among some of his peers.

Professionally, Severson received the National Safety Council's 5 Million Mile Safety Award in 2009. He was selected as the Minnesota Trucking Association's (MTA) Driver of the Year for 2004 and also received recognition as Driver of the Month.  Over the years, he has earned numerous safety awards from Dart, including the 20-Year Truck Trophy, President's Safety Award, and the Hall of Fame Safety Award.

Severson has driven in the Special Olympics' "World's Largest Truck Convoy" several times, recently allowing one of the athletes and his mother to ride along in his truck cab.  Since 2005, he has been a member of Highway Watch, a national safety and security program that utilizes truck drivers' skills and "road smarts" to help protect the nation's critical infrastructure and the transportation of goods, services, and people. He has volunteered as a score collector at the MTA's truck rodeo and has also participated in Dart's truck driving championships, placing in the top three for seven of the nine times he competed.  Due to his safety record, a local television station once traveled with him to film a documentary about trucking and safe driving.

"When we think of professional, safe representatives for our industry, [Larry's] name comes to the top of the list," said Gary Volkman, Dart's vice president of safety compliance.  "We are grateful that he represents us."

David Oren, Dart's president, agrees.  "That kind of safety record is impressive, and very few rofessionals can match it," he said. "Larry provides excellent customer service and always puts safety first."

When not on the road, Severson helps out with church fundraisers, such as carwashes and using his tractor and trailer (with permission) to collect aluminum cans and haul them to a recycling plant.

He has been a presenter at a local high school career fair.  In the past, Severson and his wife cared for abused children through a program called "Emergency Daycare."

As his reward for receiving third place in the contest, Severson's employer flew him to Las Vegas and paid for his expenses while at TCA's convention, where he was awarded a plaque in front of hundreds of the industry's top leaders.

The overall goal of the TCA Owner Operator of the Year contest is to recognize and pay tribute to outstanding owner operators who provide reliable and safe truck transportation in moving the nation's goods.

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 business plan, 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."

“It is always a privilege to operate this contest and get to meet and recognize the most outstanding drivers throughout the U.S. and Canada," said Chris Burruss, TCA's president.  "Mr. Severson is the type of professional that makes the trucking industry proud.  He has more than earned the recognition as one of the top three TCA Owner Operators of the Year!"