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Tenth Annual Lee J. Crittenden Memorial Award Presented to Ray Haight
Paradise Island, The Bahamas:
The Professional Truck Driver Institute, Inc. (PTDI) has presented the tenth annual Lee J. Crittenden Memorial Award to Ray Haight, executive director of MacKinnon Transport, Inc., of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. The ceremony was held March 3rd during Truckload Carriers Association’s (TCA) Annual Convention at The Atlantis Resort in The Bahamas.
The award is given to the person who has done the most to advance the ideals and goals of the Professional Truck Driver Institute, Inc., of which Lee Crittenden was a staunch supporter until his death in April 1998.
Haight, who is the outgoing chairman of PTDI, was elected in December 2002. Shortly thereafter, during a transitional period, he became the organization’s full-time chairman and leader. He was instrumental in changing PTDI’s Board of Directors to a fully functioning Board that took an active role in moving PTDI forward. He was part of a team that created a Standards Review Committee and a Finance Committee that developed a PTDI budget, helping the organization to become solvent and fiscally responsible.
Working closely with the staff and Board, Haight created a new PTDI brand that has been a turning point for the organization. He brought visibility and revitalization back to the organization. With a strong belief in PTDI’s voluntary standards in the United States and Canada, Haight gave countless presentations demonstrating the importance of training standards and the certification of courses that meet those standards. Over and over, he spoke to industry leaders and the press about the need for standards and quality, not just in training, but also in professionalism within the transportation industry. He was able to promote PTDI to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, as well as to other government leaders.
Internally, PTDI’s promotional materials (brochures, posters, Web site and standards packaging) were recreated under Haight’s administration. He implemented a phased-in Annual Fee that increased PTDI’s financial stability with a steady stream of income. Under his leadership, the organization updated the certification standards and is currently updating the skill standards.
Haight has also been tremendously active in promoting the image of the driver and in the retention of drivers. He established a retention rate within his own company that is the envy of his peers. Another of his high profile achievements was the establishment of an Apprenticeship program in Canada that could potentially turn into a pilot program for the entire trucking industry.
According to Robert McClanahan, director of transportation & safety education at Central Tech in Drumright, Oklahoma, and the 2006 recipient of the Crittenden award, “Ray has always been available any time he has been called upon to attend meetings and conferences to discuss these important issues. He has heard all points of view and has given great input with his own thoughts and comments. He is a true leader in the industry.”
Although his responsibilities with PTDI will be winding down, Haight is now embarking on a new endeavor: he was just elected for a one-year term as chairman of Truckload Carriers Association.
The presentation of the annual Lee J. Crittenden award will keep Crittenden’s memory alive and serve as inspiration to others who get involved with truck driver issues. Crittenden helped many important industry activities get their start. He was passionate about promoting a positive image of the nation’s professional truck drivers, and was largely responsible for the creation of America’s Road Team. He also initiated a scholarship program for the drivers who participate in the National Truck Driving Championships. His greatest industry achievement is largely believed to be his part in founding the Professional Truck Driver Institute, where he served on the board of directors and also served as the finance chairman during the years of the Institute’s infancy. Crittenden worked for CitiCapital, the company that was instrumental in creating this award along with TCA.
PTDI currently has certified entry-level training courses at 66 schools in 28 states and Canada.