Frederick Weatherspoon is not your typical truck driver.
Truth be told, there’s not much that’s typical about this 51-year-old company driver from Georgia. For example:
- he entered the profession at an age many drivers are stepping out of the cab to find something else to do for the balance of their careers
- he holds a bachelors degree in sociology and a minor in psychology from the University of South Carolina
- he got into trucking after serving in three different branches of the U.S. military — Marines (1984-1989), Air Force Reserves (until 1993) and Army (until 2002)
- he previously was a school bus driver for children with special needs and was a volunteer coach for Special Olympics
But, one thing is for certain, he’s grateful to be part of the industry. His dedication to his new civilian career earned him $10,000, a slew of merchandise and the title of Trucking’s Top Rookie.
The contest is sponsored by Trucker’s News and the Truckload Carriers Association.
Weatherspoon, who went to Daly’s Truck Driving School and now drives for Dartco, was chosen for the award from a field of 10 impressive nominees, all of whom were recognized during ceremonies at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas recently.
Dartco’s David Worsham said Weatherspoon is always willing to assist with the load they need help with and continues to go the extra mile in all the work he does. Worsham is a new fleet manager for Dartco and said Weatherspoon has been helpful when he had questions about customers.
Shane Johnson, Dartco’s Advantage Driver University coordinator, said Weatherspoon had 100 percent on-time delivers for all 124 loads assigned in his first nine months on the job.
As part of the award nomination, Weatherspoon submitted a statement about his work and himself, In part it said:
“Entering the trucking industry was one of the best choices I have made, and has improved my life tremendously. Beginning a new career can be a daunting task, but becoming a CDL holder and completing Dart’s finishing program built on the skillset I had developed from my experience driving heavy equipment in the military and as a special needs school bus driver. This made for a smooth transition into this thriving line of business, which has enabled me to provide a better way of life for my wife, six children, and four grandchildren.
“Coming onboard at Dartco as a Georgia short haul driver has lifted a lot of stress off my shoulders as it has given my household financial stability, and allows me to come home every night to take care of my wife, who suffers from multiple sclerosis. I am very proud to be a part of this booming industry which has given true peace of mind to me and my family.”
Weatherspoon, said his short term goal is to finish out the year as a Georgia short haul driver and continue to learn about the industry. The next step, he said, is to become an owner/operator.
“With the great pay, job security, and flexibility truck driving has to offer, I have high hopes of a fulfilling career ahead,” said Weatherspoon.
Weatherspoon also offered what could be good advice for other drivers coming to the industry.
“I believe the standards for entry level drivers will most likely become stricter,” said Weatherspoon. “Drivers will need to have cleaner backgrounds, display a higher standard of professionalism, and be more physically fit. This will be a great thing as it will be important to have good quality drivers on the road.”
Along with the $10,000 prize, Weatherspoon received a large award package, including an interview on Red Eye Radio, a custom plaque, a Road Pro Getting Started Living On-the-Go package, $1,000 in cash and 100,000 MyRewards points from Pilot Flying J, a GPS unit and Motor Carrier Road Atlas from Rand McNally, a dash camera from Cobra Electronics, and a Trucking Moves America Forward gift package from the American Trucking Associations.