Editor’s Note: Between now and Friday, Aug. 24, Truckers News will profile the finalists in its annual Mike O’Connell Trucking’s Top Rookie Award, which will be presented at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas. The awards ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24 on the America Stong Stage in Hall “A” of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
Despite dedicating eight years to the U.S. Army, David Drummond still found himself living below the poverty line after he rejoined civilian life and became an auto mechanic.
His grandfather, father, and several cousins were all truck drivers, but Drummond never thought to consider truck driving. That is, until a fellow mechanic-turned-trucker recruited him to the industry.
“I had a friend that started driving. He was a mechanic, too, and he decided to drive. It never dawned on me to go driving. He kept constantly calling me and telling me I need to look into it,” Drummond said.
Drummond was working long hours for little pay as an auto mechanic, so he found himself following in his forefathers’ footsteps by getting his CDL. Drummond, who is from Philadelphia, went to truck driving school at Allstate Careers and signed on with Melton Truck Lines immediately after. He pulls a flatbed and works with a lot of heavy metal, coils, and other heavy equipment.
Drummond was recently named as a finalist for the Mike O’Connell Trucking’s Top Rookie Award presented by Truckers News.
Drummond says his time in the military gave him the discipline he needs to be a successful truck driver.
“The job has to get done. Regardless of how you have to do it, it needs to get done. I kind of keep that with me at Melton as far as getting my job done and keeping calm under pressure,” Drummond said. “That’s the one thing the military teaches us, is that we need to keep calm in every situation.”
As a flatbedder, Drummond says he’s able to maintain a more consistent schedule than he would be if he were hauling something like, say, a dry van. Many of the places he drops at are only open for the standard 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. business hours. He appreciates the consistency.
“We don’t really have to do those two in the morning deliveries that some of the other guys have to do and our schedules kind of stay the same,” Drummond said.
Drummond aspires to one day own a fleet of his own trucks.
“It doesn’t have to be a huge fleet but I do want to put a few trucks on the road for myself and try to give other drivers the opportunities coming out of school that I had,” Drummond said.
The Trucking’s Top Rookie award winner will receive $10,000 cash and a package of prizes. The remaining eight finalists will each receive $1,000 cash as well as additional prizes.
The winner will be announced during a ceremony on the America Strong stage in Hall “A” at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24 at the Great American Trucking Show at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas.
The full list of finalist includes:
- James Bell – Stevensville, Montana; Jim Palmer Trucking; Sage Truck Driving School
- Platt Brabner – Coupland, Texas; TMC Transportation; Roadmaster Drivers School
- Adam Cobb – Deltona, Florida; Celadon Trucking; Sage Truck Driving School
- Matthew Donahue – Weedsport, New York; H.O. Wolding; National Tractor Trailer School
- David Drummond – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Melton Truck Lines; Allstate Careers
- Terrence Goodau – Springfield, Missouri; Tri-State Motor Transit; Midwest Technical Institute
- Larry Maser – McKinney, Texas; Stevens Transport; Stevens Training Academy
- Darrell Philpott – Martinsville, Virginia; Epes Transportation Systems; CDS Tractor Trailer Training
- Quinton Ward – Westville, Florida; Werner Enterprises; U.S Truck Driving School
Partnering with Truckers News in the search for Trucking’s Top Rookie are the three national organizations overseeing truck driver training:
- Commercial Vehicle Training Association
- National Association Of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools
- Professional Truck Driver Institute
Sponsors giving prizes to the finalists include:
- RoadPro Family of Brands
- Rand McNally
The Trucking’s Top Rookie winner receives:
- $10,000 cash
- More than $1,000 worth of DAS Products merchandise including a BlueParrott B450XT headset, RoadPro sauce pan, Garmin Speak, Rand McNally tablet with GPS and dash cam, Plantronics earbuds, Black Canyon Hi-Impact gloves, Black Canyon canvas backpack, and a Road King 5640 CB radio and mic
- ClearDryve 200 two-in-one headset and stereo headphones and a Deluxe Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas from Rand McNally
- A 29 LX MAX CB radio and a Dash 2308 Super HD Dash Cam with iRadar from Cobra
- A custom plaque from Award Company of America
- Feature story in Truckers News
- Interview on Red Eye Radio Network with Eric Harley
The other eight finalists will receive:
- $1,000 cash
- $100 worth of DAS Products merchandise
- ClearDryve 200 two-in-one headset and stereo headphones from Rand McNally
- A Dash 2308 Super HD Dash Cam with iRadar from Cobra
- A custom plaque from Award Company of America
Recognizing the top rookie driver was the idea of the late Mike O’Connell, who was formerly the executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association. He believed that honoring a top rookie driver helped show new drivers they are appreciated by the trucking industry.