The Ohio Trucking Association celebrated the top 12 professional truck drivers in the state and announced Mark Spencer, YRC Freight, as the 2016 Driver of the Year. We Love Safe Drivers at AvatarFleet so we went down to Driver of the Year Awards Banquet with a camera and microphone to join the celebration and learn more from the best professional drivers in the state. During interviews with the 12 finalists, we heard a common theme of 3 P’s: patience, planning, and passion.
Patience is a Virtue…and a Defensive Driving Strategy
Stuff happens every day on the road outside of a driver’s control which is why all 12 finalists stated you must have patience on the road. Eric Six from AWL Transport dba TLX elegantly said: “consider everyone else on the road is an idiot.” He’s right. Assume they are about to make a mistake and give them enough room to do so.
Leaving Room is a foundational concept to our defensive driving technique, LLLC™, that was cited frequently throughout the night. Dennis Mauder from Pitt Ohio Express drives like “mom and dad are in the car in front of me”. Steven Brand from FedEx Freight approaches driving like his “family is in the cars all around them”. These simple tactics help them maintain patience when the armatures lack this virtue on the road.
The 12 companies represented in the event proved to these drivers over time that safety is truly more important than on-time delivery. These drivers know that the company has their back and it eliminates anxiety during delays. Mr. Mauder stated: “just go with the flow and communicate what’s going on.” He’s able to treat traffic delays as matter of fact and not worry about future retributions.
The most import foundation to create patience is a strong spouse and family support. Mark Spencer has a strong relationship with his wife, Cathy. He doesn’t worry about home life on the road. A clear mind lets him focus on looking ahead, leaving room, looking around and communicating behind the wheel. One small example of how Cathy goes above and beyond is volunteering at the Truck Driving Championships every year.
Plan and then Adjust the Plan
It all starts with a pre-trip. Everyone cited starting with a proper pre-trip inspection to mitigate risks on the road. After the pre-trip, Dean Quellhorst from Clopay Transportation always has a Plan A, B, and C. Having plan’s B and C reduce anxiety because there is a documented procedure of what to do next. If those break-down, he’s ready for those to break down and adjust on the fly.
Passion for the Job
These 12 drivers said they love driving truck and many wanted to be truck drivers since they were little. Brian Paige brought a family photo of him playing with a toy truck when he was a toddler to show it’s been in his blood since birth.
Mr. Spencer and Mr. Quellhorst are training new drivers in the industry at their companies. Effective teachers have a passion for their subject matter and these two love sharing what they’ve learned over the years. Teaching forces them to get better at their job. Conveying the knowledge and skills in a manner that others can learn force the instructor force reflection and concisely sharing your knowledge and skills.
Grow Your Next Generation of Professional Drivers
You have drivers at your fleet that could have been on the stage for the Driver of The Year. Take advantage of their passion, knowledge, and professionalism while you have it. They want to give back and be a part of growing the next generation. Use these drivers to lead a train-the-trainer program at your company.
Celebrate the Best Drivers in Ohio
Congratulations to Mark Spencer for winning 2016 Driver of the Year Award and to the other 11 finalists for a job well done!
|Driver||Company||Safe Miles Driven|
|Steven Brand||FedEx Freight||3,840,000|
|Don Fisher||Wooster Motor Ways||3,045,000|
|Terry Fout||R + L Carriers||4,000,000|
|Jason Imhoff||Walmart Transportation||2,129,948|
|Richard Maschino||Classic Carriers, Inc.||2,875,000|
|Dennis Mauder||Pitt Ohio Express||3,000,000|
|Nardip Singh Mavi||TRANSInternational System||2,142,000|
|Brian Morgan||A. J. Weignand, Inc.||4,000,000|
|Dean Quellhorst||Clopay Transportation Co.||2,925,585|
|Eric Six||AWL Transport dba TLX||4,522,211|
|Mark Spencer||YRC Freight||1,500,000|
|David Walsh||Garner Trucking, Inc.||2,681,000|