Driver of the Year: Third time’s the charm for Big G Express’ Danny Smith

A 56-year-old trucker from Tennessee is the Truckload Carriers Association’s company driver Truck Driver of the Year for 2015.

Danny Smith, a dry van driver for Big G Express of Shelbyville, Tennessee, was honored at the TCA’s 78th annual convention in Las Vegas today March 8. It was the third time in four years that Smith was nominated for the award.

DSC_0029From the left: Brad Holthaus of Randall Reilly, Danny Smith, Randy Vernon of Big G Express and Jon Archard of Love’s Travel Stops

Smith, who has been driving for Big G Express for more than 21 years, received $25,000 in the contest sponsored by Love’s Travel Stops and Cummins and presented by Randall Reilly’s “Truckers News.”

The other two finalists — Guy Broderick and David McGowan — each received $2,500.

Introducing the company driver of the year finalists, Jon Archard, vide president of sales for Love’s Travel Stops, called them “the best of the best.”

DSC_0061Owner/operator of the Year Mark Tricco and Danny Smioth

The owner/operator of the year is Mark Tricco, who drives for Bison Transport. Out of Manitoba, Canada. That award is presented by “Overdrive.”

“Twenty-one years ago I made the best decision of my career to join Big G.” said Smith during the TCA’s closing awards banquet.

DSC_0062Danny Smith and his daughters

Just before arriving at the TCA conference, Smith surpassed the career milestone of driving 3 million consecutive, accident-free miles. Smith, the first driver hired at Big G Express in 1995, is also the company’s first driver to reach this achievement.

Jack Marsh hired Smith in January of 1995, and was at the banquet to see him receive his award.

2 FullSizeRender.jpgDanny Smith (at podium) and Big G’s Randy Vernon

“I knew him and knew his work ethic,” said Marsha. “He shows up every day and gives if 110 percent. He’s a leader among his peers, and a fine family man.”

In celebration, Big G Express employees surprised Smith as he delivered a load to the company’s Mt. Juliet, Tennessee terminal. Smith knew he was going to be honored at the company’s annual Elite Fleet banquet the next day, but had not been told he officially reached the 3 Million Mile milestone.

“I couldn’t have reached this milestone without the support of my family and my Big G family,” said Smith. He describes safety as a habit and encourages others to practice good driving habits and avoid distractions while driving.

DSC_0014-001“Danny is an ambassador of safety and a great representative of Big G Express and the trucking industry. He is professional in everything he does and his spotless safety record during his 35 year career is a true testament to his attention to detail and dedication to safety,” said Big G Express President Randy Vernon.

danny-smith-tca-driver-of-the-yearDanny Smith

“Safety is the cornerstone of our culture at Big G and we think it is important to recognize and honor our drivers for their efforts to be safe each and every day,” said Kristi Seibers, VP of Safety. “Danny’s accomplishment is exciting for all of us at Big G Express. We are proud to have Danny representing Big G on the highways and as part of the Big G family.”

This is the just the latest recognition of Smith and his driving career. As an American Road Team Captain (and previously a Tennessee Road Team Captain), Smith also has been a spokesperson for the trucking industry. Smith also was Tennessee’s Driver of the Year in 2013.

The TCA convention, which is being held at the Wynn Resort, wraps up Wednesday, March 9.