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 Strong Stage in Hall “A” of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
Terrence Goodau may be a civilian trucker now, but the military veteran is still supporting the U.S. military from his role as a driver.
Goodau got experience in the U.S. Army driving and working with heavy equipment as a heavy wheel vehicle operator. When he returned to civilian life he spent a few years going through different schools and employment trying to find something that fit.
He saw an advertisement on a tractor-trailer for Midwest Technical Institute’s driving program, and after talking to a school representative he decided to get his CDL.
“Being that I spent 17 years in the military total, I’ve always had a nomadic lifestyle. It fit with what I was comfortable with,” said Goodau, who is from Springfield, Missouri. “I get to work with people but I still have enough alone time and solitude that I can just take care of what I have to.
Goodau drives for Tri-State Motor Transit where he hauls secured hazardous or sensitive material as part of a team. Goodau was recently named a finalist for the Mike O’ Connell Trucking’s Top Rookie Award presented by Truckers News.
While he’s still in his rookie year of driving, Goodau has already earned TWIC, hazmat endorsements, and Department of Defense Secret Level clearances.
“Tri-State has also allowed me to build upon my military experience as a driver and as a patriot civilian. I like the fact that I’m able to move the critical and sensitive materials our military depends upon,” Goodau said.
He says his military experience helped prepare him to work with specialized and secure freight.
“All of that is reflective of the training I had in the military. That, and my dedication and being mission-oriented,” Goodau said. “I’ve got a load. I’ve got to get this done. I can deal with everything after that, but this is primary.”
Goodau says being a finalist for the Trucking’s Top Rookie award is overwhelming.
“For myself, my company, and the school I went to, it’s a great accolade. I spent 17 years in the military. I’m not all about the accolades,” Goodau said. “A pat on the back is great and being recognized for this is remarkable, but I’m just here to do my job and get things from Point A to Point B as safely as I can and take care of my family with what I get.”
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.