Finalists named for Mike O’Connell Top Rookie Award

Updated Aug 11, 2019

Eleven new truck drivers have been named finalists for the 2019 Mike O’Connell Trucking’s Top Rookie Award contest presented by Truckers News. 

The finalists will be recognized and the winner announced Friday, Aug. 23 at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.

The finalists, the driver training school they attended and their employer include:

  • Aaron Pratt, Maverick Transportation, Maverick Transportation
  • Bradley Chislett, National Tractor Trailer School, H.O. Wolding
  • Daniel Walton, Roehl Transport, Roehl Transport
  • Dwight Arnold, Tennessee Truck Driving School, Stevens Transport
  • Jaron Grier, New England Tractor Trailer Training School, U.S.Xpress
  • Kandy Qualls, United Truck Driving School, Earl L. Henderson Trucking Co.
  • Matthew Hepburn, Miller-Motte College, Melton Truck Lines
  • Oday Alhousha, CDL Xpress School, Hogan Transport
  • Pamela Girton (Coffman) Tulsa Technology Center, Groendyke Transport
  • Thoma Biltch, Roadmaster Drivers School, Werner Enterprises, Inc.
  • Tyria Snow, Diesel Driving Academy, TMC Transportation

The winner receives $10,000, a plaque and a package of prizes. Ten other finalists will each receive $1,000, a plaque and prizes. All 11 finalists will receive prizes from the RoadPro Family of Brands and Rand McNally.

Recognition ceremonies and the announcement of this year’s winner will be at 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23 on the Truckers News Stage in Hall “A” of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

Partners with Truckers News in the search for Trucking’s Top Rookie are the national organizations overseeing truck driver training:

  • Commercial Vehicle Training Association
  • National Association Of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools
  • Professional Truck Driver Institute

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. The award is named in his honor. He believed that honoring a top rookie driver helped show new drivers they are appreciated by the trucking industry.

GATS is Aug. 22-24 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas. There still is time to register for free online, and spaces remain at the TA/Petro Truck Parking Community.