Top Rookie finalist raised near big trucks, now drives his own

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Updated Aug 18, 2016

Marc Walther grew up around big trucks, so it’s not surprising he ended up in one of his own.

Walther’s father drove dump trucks, which planted a love for driving in Walther from a young age.

“I’ve always had an interest in it ever since I was a little kid,” said Walther who lives in Pittsfield, Maine.

When Walther found himself looking for a good career move, he decided to go ahead and get his license and become a trucker.

“I love driving, I love seeing the country. I love all the things that come with it. I like being alone a lot, that helps,” Walther said.

Now Walther hauls a refrigerated trailer over the road for Wil-Trans. He was recently selected as a Trucking’s Top Rookie finalist. Walther says truck driving has changed his life for the better. He prides himself on his ability to get the job done.

“People count on us for their products every day,” Walther said. “The feeling of accomplishment that comes with getting it there safely validates my career choice.”

Walther plans to stick with truck driving as a long term career. He says he may like to give back by training entry level drivers in the future.

“I see myself involved in this industry long term as a professional driver accumulating many safe driving miles, enjoying the beauty of this great country of ours in every mile I drive, and enhancing the image of professional drivers everywhere a load takes me,” Walther said.

Since Walther started driving for Wil-Trans in August 2015, he has been crash free and safety violation free, says Mike Tettamble, director of safety for Wil-Trans. Walther passed the only inspection he’s had in January with Level III.

“Here’s the thing about Marc that stands out for me: He love’s what he’s doing,” Tettamble said. “He feels like his life has purpose and meaning. He understands the responsibility and accountability for his actions. Marc always seems to be looking for a way to improve.”

Marc Walther

Tettamble went as far as to say Walther has raised the bar for what the company desires in their entry level driver pool.

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“At the very least he has caused us to look more closely at ourselves and inspires us to do better,” Tettamble said.

The winner of the Trucking’s Top Rookie award will be announced during ceremonies at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas this month, and will receive $10,000 and a package of prizes. 

The eight runners up will receive $1,000 and other prizes as well.

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

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
  • An American Trucking Associations prize package, which includes a polo shirt with logo, baseball cap, model truck and utility knife
  • A GPS unit and a Motor Carrier Road Atlas from Rand McNally
  • A dash cam and CB radio from Cobra 

The eight 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
  • An American Trucking Associations prize package which includes a polo shirt with logo, baseball cap, model truck and utility knife
  • A GPS unit from Rand McNally
  • A CB radio from Cobra

The award is named for 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.