XPO Logistics driver Joe Hicks has an accomplished history in the annual Rhode Island Truck Driving Championships. He’s competed eight times and won six titles. Now, it seems his success has rubbed off on his four sons.
Hicks, who has driven for XPO Logistics for 11 years, added yet another award to his collection in May when he was named the 2018 Rhode Island grand champion after also winning first place in the 3-Axle class. His most recent first place win has earned him his sixth trip to the American Trucking Associations’ National Truck Driving and Step Van Championship, held Aug. 15-18 this year in Columbus, Ohio.
“I’ve always been into competition. If I want to do something I want to be the best at it, so I enjoy competition,” Hicks said.
In 2010, Hicks was named Rookie of the Year and went on to win Rookie of the Year on the national level that year. He followed up that victory in 2012 by being named grand champion after also winning first place in the 3-Axle class. In 2014 and 2015 he won first place again in the 3-Axle class and was once again grand champion. He won first place in the 4-Axle class in 2017. Hicks’ win this year marks his fourth time being named the grand champion at the Rhode Island competition.
“The nationals is just a great experience. It’s like a family environment. There’s a lot of camaraderie so once you make it there you want to make it back just for the experience. It is really a great time,” Hicks said.
Now Hicks’ sons are following in his footsteps by becoming truckers themselves, with plans to compete at the Rhode Island trucking competition just as their father does. Hicks has four sons: Billy Hicks, Joey Hicks, Anthony Hicks and Dave DiLorenzo. Dave, Joey, and Anthony all worked the docks at XPO Logistics before getting their own CDLs recently. They’ve been driving for XPO Logistics on their own for about 2-3 weeks now. Hicks’ youngest son, Billy, is too young at age 19 to get his CDL. He currently works at XPO Logistics and plans to start trucking as soon as he’s able.
“At work, it’s a weird environment sometimes because I can’t be the parent at work. They have their boss and I’m like alright, I can’t be the parent at work,” Hicks said. “I’ve just got to give them advice and let them do their own thing and come at their own pace. It is a weird situation sometimes but I totally enjoy it because I like seeing my kids and helping them along and watching them get better and better.”
Hicks’ sons aren’t his only family members involved in trucking. While his wife Barbara isn’t a trucker herself, she’s been fundamental to Hicks’ success by helping him prepare for competitions and practice at the terminal on weekends. She’ll put him through a pre-trip inspection and come out on the course to score him while he’s driving. Barbara will set things up and change things while he’s going through the course to make it more challenging.
“It’s nice to spend time together. She loves it because, with the kids and stuff, we don’t get a lot of time together so that’s one of our favorite things to do is just go out there and practice me and her,” Hicks said.
Each of Hicks’ sons has said they want to compete alongside him at the Rhode Island Truck Driving Championship, but not in the same category. The family hopes to have each of them win first place in different categories so that they can participate in the national competition together.
“They want to sweep, everybody in just different classes, and all win and all go to nationals as a family. That’s the goal,” Hicks said.