Company driver Roger Wyble humbly describes himself as “an old country boy,” but there’s nothing simple about the impact he has on those around him, says his boss Steve Williams, CEO of Maverick Transportation. It’s no surprise then that Wyble, along with drivers Stephen Richardson and Don Lewis, is one of the three finalists for the 2017 Company Driver of the Year Award, presented by Truckload Carriers Association and Truckers News. The award is sponsored by Love’s Travel Stops and Cummins.
The 68-year-old Wyble, who hails from the small town of Beulah, Missouri, prides himself on professionalism at his job. He’s spent nearly 45 years on the road, the last 21 at Maverick, and still has a nearly spotless driving record. And while maintaining his own safety record is important to Wyble, teaching other drivers how to be equally as safe is another priority of his.
“Drivers who take a lot of shortcuts get themselves into trouble,” Wyble says. “It might not hurt you this time, but it will down the line … You’re not only endangering yourself, you’re endangering other people’s lives out there.”
Wyble says taking an attitude of education rather than immediate judgement with other drivers has helped him teach safety to those around him. Instead of reporting a fellow driver who’s violated procedures, he takes the time to teach them the correct way to do it.
“It’s about helping people out,” Wyble says. “That’s how you earn respect from other drivers and your bosses.”
And, although he chooses to stay out on the road for a month at a time, Wyble still gives back to the community when he’s home. The Army veteran has participated in Wreaths Across America, but his favorite cause is the Special Olympics Convoy. He shares with pride that Maverick has hosted the event for the last few years, raising nearly $40,000 in 2017 for Special Olympics Arkansas.
Despite having no special ties to the cause, “I will always take time out for that because it’s for the children,” Wyble says.
With a successful driving career that’s spanned 46 states and more than four decades and has already included recognition through numerous safety awards, a Maverick Driver of the Month award, and being voted by fellow Maverick drivers as their Driver of the Year, there doesn’t seem much left for Wyble now that he’s been nominated for Company Driver of the Year. Wyble says he’s considered retiring at 70, but with that only 18 months away, he’s beginning to have second thoughts. Trucking’s in his blood, he says, and leaving it is harder than he thought.
“As long as my health holds out, if I can go a little bit longer there, I might do it,” he says.
The Company Driver of the Year Award, which comes with a $25,000 prize, may help make that decision a little easier for Wyble. He’ll find out if he’s won on March 24, when the award is presented at TCA’s annual convention in Kissimmee, Florida.