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Don Lacy of Prime Inc., Named TCA’s Safety Professional of the Year
Clare C. Casey Award recognizes recipient’s excellence in promoting trucking safety programs and procedures
The Truckload Carriers Association’s (TCA) Safety & Security Division has presented its 2011 Safety Professional of the Year Award to Don Lacy, director of safety for Prime Inc., of Springfield, Missouri. The award, known as the Clare C. Casey Award, was presented on May 16, 2011, during the Division’s 30th annual Safety & Security Meeting, held at the Hyatt Embassy Suites Murfreesboro Hotel and Conference Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
The Safety Professional of the Year award recognizes a person whose actions and achievements have had a profound and positive benefit or contribution to better safety on our highways. Nominees must exemplify leadership and demonstrate the goals of protecting lives and property in the motor transportation industry while serving their company, industry, and the motoring public.
Lacy has been in the business of safety for more than 46 years. He originally worked for Prime from 1989-1991 as a consultant. In 1996, a retirement in Prime’s safety department opened the door for his return to the company as director of safety. Today, he is directly responsible for the safety initiatives and directives for almost 5,000 drivers and more than 4,000 trucks in Prime’s fleet.
Under Lacy’s leadership, Prime has vastly improved its DOT accident frequency ratio from above .80 in 1996 to just .57 in 2010 – the company’s best safety record in its 40-year history. Lacy is responsible for numerous initiatives that have increased safety awareness and cost savings at Prime, including the establishment of “Prime University,” the forerunner of the sophisticated training center that the company operates today. A strong believer in the power of communication, he convinced Prime’s management to hold weekly safety/communications meetings with drivers. He also led Prime’s efforts to fund and implement safety initiatives in areas such as safety technology, rollover prevention, and electronic log implementation.
An active participant in TCA, Lacy is a past chairman of the Independent Contractor and Safety & Security divisions. He has made presentations at TCA’s annual convention and Independent Contractor Division annual meeting and has served as a topic expert on multiple panels at the Safety & Security Division’s annual meeting. In 2010, he was part of a TCA delegation that articulated CSA concerns to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Administrator Anne Ferro and her staff. He is certified through the North American Transportation Management Institute as a director of safety and instructor and serves as TCA’s safety representative on the board of the Professional Truck Driver Institute.
Lacy holds the title of past chairman for the National Safety Council’s Commercial Motor Vehicle Section and the Oklahoma Trucking Association. He is a past national chairman of the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) Council of Safety Supervisors. Some of his other activities include the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Blueprint for Safer Roadways and an alternative parking project, serving as a truck driver training advisor for Ozarks Technical Community College.
According to Robert E. Low, president of Prime Inc., Lacy has enhanced the image of trucking in addition to his efforts in the safety arena. “Don has accomplished a great deal to polish our image with truck drivers nationwide,” he said. “For six years, he has appeared as a guest on Road Dog, a weekly Sirius Satellite Radio segment that allows drivers to call in live. He was dubbed ‘The Voice of Reason,’ answering drivers’ questions about safety and regulatory issues. This helped in tough industry times.”
Gary Salisbury, TCA’s chairman and the president and chief executive officer of Fikes Truck Line, Inc., Hope, Arkansas, said, “TCA is pleased to recognize Don Lacy for a 46-year career that has had tremendous influence on the trucking industry and the safety rules and regulations that govern it. He is passionate about safety and has worked diligently both within his company and the entire industry to effect positive changes in this field.”
The annual Clare C. Casey award is named after a safety professional who actively served the Truckload Carriers Association from 1979 until 1989. He was devoted to ensuring that all truckload safety professionals could meet yearly to build the strong safety network this Division provides today, and was instrumental in forming the first Safety & Security Division annual meeting in 1982.
After his death in 1989, the first annual Safety Professional of the Year, the Clare C. Casey Award, was given in 1990.