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TCA Newsroom

The Search is on for Trucking’s Top Rookie

Tuscaloosa, Alabama:

A check for $10,000 and a package of prizes will be awarded to one skillful professional truck driver when Trucking’s Top Rookie is named in August.

The award, named in honor of the late Mike O’Connell, recognizes the best professional truck driver who has been on the job for less than a year.

The Trucking’s Top Rookie contest is a partnership between Truckers News, the Truckload Carriers Association, Commercial Vehicle Training Association, Rand McNally, Pilot Flying J, Progressive Commercial Insurance, National Association of Publicly Funded Driving Schools, American Trucking Associations and the Red Eye Radio Network.

Nominations open May 16, 2016 and close at 5 p.m. on June 24, 2016. Nominations must be made online.

“The contest gives great insight on the first impressions we as an industry make on new drivers,” said Debbie Sparks, vice president of development at TCA. “The content that the nominees provide can help carriers in crafting their recruitment practices and messaging.”

A panel of seven judges will review each nominee and select 10 finalists. The winner will be announced Friday, August 26, 2016 at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Texas.

“Recognizing the excellence of new truck drivers has never been more important than it is today,” said David Hollis, editor of Truckers News. “Encouraging new drivers to make a career out of trucking and show them they're appreciated is a great way to stem the driver shortage.”

The winner receives:

  • $10,000 cash
  • $1,000 cash and 100,000 Pilot Flying J MyReward points
  • A custom plaque from Award Company of America
  • Interview on Red Eye Radio Network with Eric Harley
  • A feature in Truckers News
  • $1,000 worth of DAS Products merchandise featuring the RoadPro Getting Started Living On-The-Go Package
  • American Trucking Associations package, which includes a polo shirt, baseball cap, model truck and utility knife
  • A dash camera from COBRA Electronics
  • A GPS unit and a Motor Carrier Road Atlas from Rand McNally

The nine other finalists receive:

  • $1,000 cash
  • 50,000 MyRewards points from Pilot Flying J
  • A custom plaque from Award Company of America
  • $100 worth of DAS Products Merchandise, featuring the RoadPro MobileSpec Portable Life Package
  • American Trucking Associations package which includes a polo shirt, baseball cap, model truck and utility knife
  • A GPS unit from Rand McNally

Last year’s winner was Frederick Weatherspoon, a 52-year-old veteran of three branches of the military and a driver for Dartco. Other previous winners include:

  • 2014 — Julie Matulle
  • 2013 — Kyle Lee
  • 2012 — Keith Redvay
  • 2011 — Derek Paul

The late Mike O’Connell was formerly the executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association, and originated the idea of honoring a top rookie driver to help show new drivers they are important to and appreciated by the trucking industry.