Search is on for top rookie military veteran driver; winner gets new Kenworth

Updated Mar 26, 2024
Kenworth T680
Kenworth

Kenworth, FASTPORT and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative announced they are again partnering in the search for America’s top rookie military veteran driver who successfully transitioned to the trucking industry following military service.

Under the “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” recognition program, Kenworth will provide the grand prize for the ninth consecutive year. This year’s award is a T680 equipped with a 76-inch sleeper and the PACCAR Powertrain featuring the PACCAR MX-13 engine rated at 455 horsepower, PACCAR TX-12 automated transmission and PACCAR DX-40 tandem rear axles. The truck is on display at the Mid-America Trucking Show at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville at the Fastport booth, #65024. 

“The transportation industry goes beyond a military-friendly attitude to embody veteran-ready actions where the valuable skills and career experience obtained during active duty are a natural fit,” said Brad Bentley, FASTPORT president. “We are excited to be at the Mid-America Trucking Show with this year’s Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence grand prize, the Kenworth T680, and hope participating in the largest gathering of heavy-duty trucking professionals will help us surpass last year’s record number of nominations.”

The Kenworth T680 features a Diamond VIT interior in slate gray with madrona accents and includes the latest in driver amenities. Both the driver and passenger seats are GT703 leather seats that are fully heated and cooled. The 76-inch sleeper includes space for a microwave and TV, a factory-installed fridge, and a rotating work table. The T680 also includes the latest in driver assistance systems, including Kenworth's Digital Mirrors, Bendix Fusion Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) Stop and Auto Go, and Lane Keeping Assist with Torque Assisted Steering. 

 â€śEvery year, I am inspired by the caliber of nominees and look forward to reading about the 2024 applicants,” said Kyle Kimball, Kenworth director of marketing. “Through this program, I have seen how well the transportation industry and veterans can be successful together. We, at Kenworth, are proud to participate in this life-changing initiative to award The World’s Best Truck to a deserving veteran.”

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 The top driver will be determined by an expert panel of judges. To qualify, drivers must meet eligibility requirements as specified in the official Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence Award rules, including:

  • Be a legal resident of the continental United States and military veteran or current/former member of the National Guard or Reserves
  • Graduated from PTDI-certified, NAPFTDS or CVTA member driver training school, with a valid CDL
  • Have been employed by any for-hire carrier or private fleet that has pledged to hire veterans and hired as a CDL driver after January 1, 2023

The deadline to submit applications is June 20. Award semi-finalists will be announced on Aug. 1. Finalists will be invited to Columbus, Ohio to tour the National Veterans Memorial and Museum and attend a reception, followed by a tour of the Kenworth Chillicothe manufacturing plant, where the finalists will be announced.

Public voting on the finalists will occur from Nov. 1 through 11. On Dec. 13, finalists will gather at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where the final award announcement will be made, and the winner will drive home in the Kenworth T680. 

Full criteria and online nomination forms are available now on the “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” website (www.transitiontrucking.org).