Three men have been named finalists for the Company Driver of the Year award, which carries a $25,000 cash prize. The winner will be announced March 28 at the annual meeting of the Truckload Carriers Association in Nashville.
The finalists include:
- William Poteet of Saddle Creek Transportation
- Murray Manuliak of Bison Transport
- David McGowan of WEL Companies, Inc.
TCA and Truckers News produce the contest. TCA and Truckers News’ sister brand Overdrive produce the Owner-Operator of the Year contest, which also has a $25,000 prize.
The contests are sponsored by Cummins and Love’s Travel Stops.
The owner-operator finalists are Philip Keith of WEL Companies, Inc.; Kevin Kocmich of Diamond Transportation; and Gary Buchs of Landstar System, Inc.
The six finalists will receive a trip to TCA’s Nashville meeting. The four runner-up finalists will receive $2,500 each.
The contest recognizes winners for their ability “to operate in a safe manner on the public highways, efforts to enhance the public image of the trucking industry, positive contributions to the community in which he/she lives,” and in the owner-operator contest, the “ability to run a successful business.”
“Our nation’s economy depends on the health and strength of the trucking industry, and at the heart of it is the driver,” said Amy Boerger, vice president of sales for Cummins. “We sponsor this award because Cummins wants to shine a broader light on this great and important profession.”
Too often drivers’ “hard work and dedication to safety and professionalism goes unnoticed,” says Jon Archard, vice president of sales for Love’s. “We know that to sustain growth we need the continued support of our trucking customers and professional drivers, and we could not be more proud to support TCA’s Driver of the Year award.”
Poteet has driven for Saddle Creek for five years, and was named the Florida Trucking Association Driver of The Month for July of 2015.
A Vietnam veteran, McGowan has driven more than 6.5 million miles in his 42 years as a driver. He was a finalist for the award last year.
Manuliak has been in the industry for more than 23 years as a driver and as an in-cab instructor.
To be eligible for the contest, driver applicants had to have one million consecutive accident-free miles and meet other standards. For the owner-operator candidates, judges also reviewed equipment specifications, business plans and financial statements.