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TCA announces 2018 Driver of the Year finalists

Ashley Coker

2017 Driver of the Year Contests - Awards Presentation. Professional Truck Driver and Big G Express, Inc.'s Stephen Richardson was deemed the 2017 Company Driver of the Year. (Photo: TCA)


The Truckload Carriers Association announced the finalists for the 2018 Driver of the Year contests last week, recognizing both company drivers and owner operators who do a standout job and reflect well on the transportation industry as a whole.

The finalists were selected based on their safe driving records, their efforts to enhance the public image of the trucking industry and their overall contributions to their individual communities. The grand prize winner will be chosen based on the same criteria.

“The annual Driver of the Year Contests identify and honor the best men and women traveling the roads today,” TCA’s website reads. “They drive safely, give to their communities, protect the environment and enhance the image of trucking — in other words, they make us all proud to be a part of this great industry.”

The company driver and owner operator who are named the best of the best will walk away $25,000 richer, while the two runners-up in each category will be awarded $2,500 each.

2018 Company Driver of the Year Contest finalists:

  • Don Lewis of Republic, Missouri, who drives for Wilson Logistics of Springfield, Missouri;
  • David McGowan of Marinette, Wisconsin, who drives for WEL Companies, Inc., of De Pere, Wisconsin; and
  • Ester Nemeth of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who drives for Bison Transport also of Winnipeg, Manitoba
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2018 Owner Operator of the Year Contest finalists:

  • Danny Jewell of Nebraska City, Nebraska, who is leased to Warren Transport, Inc. of Waterloo, Iowa;
  • Kevin Kocmich of Litchfield, Minnesota, who is leased to Diamond Transportation System, Inc. of Racine, Wisconsin; and
  • Robert Roth of Coldwater, Ontario, who is leased to Erb International of New Hamburg, Ontario

“Each one of our finalists is exceptional,” TCA Chairman and Searcy Specialized President Dan Doran said. “Regardless of who may take home the grand prize award in March, each driver has made significant contributions to the industry and should be applauded for their efforts as they’re setting the finest example possible.”

Last year’s grand prize winners were Stephen Richardson of Decatur, Alabama, who drives for Big G Express, Inc. of Shelbyville, Tennessee and  Philip Keith of Long Beach, Mississippi, who is leased to WEL Companies, Inc. of Del Pere, Wisconsin.

Both men were experienced drivers at the time of their wins. Richardson boasted 27 years as a professional truck driver, and Keith clocked in at 34 years. Both winners have also received several other awards and accolades over the years.

This year’s grand prize winner will be announced at TCA’s 81st Annual Convention in Las Vegas on March 12.

The FREIGHTWAVES TOP 500 For-Hire Carriers list includes Big G Express (No. 118) and Warren Transport (No. 215).

Chris Henry

Chris Henry has spent his entire 20-year career in transportation. In 2014, he founded the online motor carrier benchmarking service StakUp. As a result of a partnership with the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) in 2015, StakUp was rebranded as inGauge and Henry became the program manager for the TCA Profitability Program (TPP), an exclusive benchmarking initiative that includes more than 230 motor carrier participants throughout North America. Since joining the program, participation in TPP has grown over 300%. In June 2019, StakUp was acquired by FreightWaves and Henry became its vice president of carrier profitability, in addition to his role with TPP. Henry earned an MBA from the University of Massachusetts and a bachelor of commerce degree from Nipissing University.