Trucking’s Top Rookie finalists named for 2017

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Ten drivers moved a step closer to being named Trucking’s Top Rookie for 2017 and winning $10,000 and a package of prizes in the contest presented by Truckers News. 

The panel of judges from the trucking industry and truck driver education organizations narrowed the field to 10 finalists who will be recognized at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas later this month. The winner will be announced at GATS  on Friday, Aug. 25.

This year’s 10 finalists, their employer and the driving school they attended include:

  • John Casey, TMC Transportation, New England Tractor Trailer Training School
  • Everett Gamble, Averitt Express, Sage Tech at Nash Community College
  • Sean Harding, Stevens Transportation, Stevens Driving Academy at Fort Hood
  • Carl Humphrey, Jim Palmer, DTS (Driver Training & Solutions)
  • Tanner Johnson, Wil-Trans, Apex CDL Institute
  • Quavis Jones, TransAm Trucking, Southern Crescent Technical College
  • Wayne Nottingham Jr., Swift, National Tractor Trailer School
  • Chris Oliver, Werner, Commercial Driving Institute
  • William Root, H.O. Wolding, National Tractor Trailer School
  • Daniel Shonebarger Melton, Georgia Driving Academy

The award recognizes outstanding professional truck drivers who have been in the industry for a year or less.

“These 10 drivers represent the future of the American trucking industry,” said Truckers News Editor David Hollis. “So based on their qualifications, driving records, service to customers, the recommendations of their employers and their answers to several questions, that future has to be considered bright. They may be rookie drivers, but they conduct themselves and perform like seasoned veterans.”

One of the goals of the contest is to recognize talented professional drivers who are new to the industry so they know their hard work is appreciated. It also is meant to reinforce their decision to make truck driving their career of choice.

Hollis said the contest also helps focus attention on the innovative work done by those at the many professional driver training schools and programs across the country. Partnering with Truckers News in the search 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

The winner leaves Dallas with:

  • $10,000 cash
  • Expenses paid trip to the awards presentation in Dallas
  • A custom plaque from Award Company of America
  • Interview on Red Eye Radio Network with Eric Harley
  • $1,000 worth of DAS Products merchandise featuring the RoadPro Getting Started Living On-The-Go Package
  • American Trucking Associations “Good Stuff Trucks Bring It” package, which includes a logoed polo shirt, baseball cap, model truck and utility knife
  • An IntelliRoute TNDTM 730 LM GPS Unit and a Deluxe Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas from Rand McNally
  • A dash cam and CB radio from Cobra
  • Feature story in Truckers News

The other nine finalists receive:

  • $1,000 cash
  • A custom plaque from Award Company of America
  • $100 worth of DAS Products merchandise, featuring the Road Pro MobileSpec Portable Life Package
  • American Trucking Associations‘ “Good Stuff Trucks Bring It” package which includes a logoed polo shirt, baseball cap, model truck and utility knife
  • An IntelliRoute TNDTM 730 LM GPS Unit
  • CB radio from Cobra

Sponsors include:

  • The RoadPro Family of Brands
  • Rand McNally
  • Cobra Electronics
  • Progressive
  • RedEye Radio
  • ATA

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 helps show new drivers they are appreciated the trucking industry.

Carl Humphrey, Jim Palmer, DTS (Driver Training & Solutions)Carl Humphrey, Jim Palmer, DTS (Driver Training & Solutions)

Chris Oliver, Werner, Commercial Driving InstituteChris Oliver, Werner, Commercial Driving Institute

Daniel Schonebarger, Melton, Georgia Driving AcademyDaniel Schonebarger, Melton, Georgia Driving Academy

Everett Gamble, Averitt Express, Sage Tech at Nash Community CollegeEverett Gamble, Averitt Express, Sage Tech at Nash Community College

John Casey, TMC Transportation, New England Tractor Trailer Training SchoolJohn Casey, TMC Transportation, New England Tractor Trailer Training School

Quavis Jones, TransAm Trucking, Southern Crescent Technical CollegeQuavis Jones, TransAm Trucking, Southern Crescent Technical College

Sean Harding, Stevens Transportation, Stevens Driving Academy at Fort HoodSean Harding, Stevens Transportation, Stevens Driving Academy at Fort Hood

Tanner Johnson, Wil-Trans, Apex CDL InstituteTanner Johnson, Wil-Trans, Apex CDL Institute

Wayne Nottingham Jr., Swift, National Tractor Trailer SchoolWayne Nottingham Jr., Swift, National Tractor Trailer School