Top Rookie plans to drive until retirement

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Updated Aug 26, 2016

Kenneth Youmans’ career in the natural gas industry primed him for a second career in trucking.

Youmans, of Muncy, Pennsylvania, would frequently be gone throughout the week when he was working in the natural gas industry, so when he decided to pursue trucking his family knew what to expect. He wanted to go into trucking because of the job security it offered, and with his family’s support he went to trucking school.

Youmans now hauls reefer for Dutch Maid Logistics, a trucking company based in Willard, Ohio. He has settled into the industry well, having been recently named a 2016 Trucking’s Top Rookie finalist. The 2016 Trucking’s Top Rookie will be announced Friday, Aug. 26 during the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.

“I just was thrilled, excited to be considered. It’s kind of cool because being the age I am of 55 and being considered for a rookie contest it just excites me,” Youmans said.

Youmans says everything just kind of fell into place for him when he was getting into trucking. He was able to get a grant from the state of Pennsylvania to cover part of his tuition for trucking school, and went to work for Dutch Maid right after graduating. Now that he’s a driver, he says he wants to put his best effort forward every day.

“I just consider myself wanting to do a good job and that’s what I’m trying to do and do to the best of my ability,” Youmans said.

Youmans plans to continue trucking for Dutch Maid until he retires. Unlike in his previous career, Youmans is excited to step into the drivers seat every day.

Kenneth YoumansKenneth Youmans

“I didn’t wake up everyday looking forward to going to work, and with this it just seems like every day I wake up I look forward to it,” Youmans said.

When Youmans isn’t driving, he’s spending valuable time with his family. He and his wife have four children and four grandchildren, so when he has some downtime he’s spending it with them.

Stewart Myers, safety director for Dutch Maid, says Youmans maintains 7.65 mpg, which is in the top 20 percent of their fleet. To accomplish that, Myers says Youmans drives around 62 mph or less, limits idle time and has good progressive shifting habits.

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“Ken Youmans has been a wonderful addition to our fleet. He excels in all areas of the transportation business, he still enjoys what he does with great enthusiasm,” Myers said.

“He excels in customer relations, always has a smile on his face, very polite and respectful with fellow employees and customers that we deliver,” Myers said. “Ken is a real pleasure to work with, look forward to his continued success as he tries to make a name for himself in the transportation world.”

The winner of the Trucking’s Top Rookie award will be announced during ceremonies at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas this week, 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.