3 million mile trucker named Arkansas association's Driver of the Year

Updated May 26, 2024
Arkansas Driver of the Year
Arkansas Trucking Association

On Friday, May 10, the Arkansas Trucking Association announced the 2023 Driver of the Year, 2023 Safety Professional of the Year,  and 2023 Maintenance Professional of the Year. The top honors were announced at the awards luncheon during the ATA Conference in Rogers, Arkansas

Stallion Transportation’s Josh Fortner, 2023 Arkansas Driver of the Year with Arkansas Trucking Association President Shannon NewtonStallion Transportation’s Josh Fortner, 2023 Arkansas Driver of the Year with Arkansas Trucking Association President Shannon NewtonEach year, the Arkansas Trucking Association recognizes one driver for their strong and noteworthy professional qualifications, experience and performance; one safety professional for their qualifications, safety program and safety achievements; and a maintenance professional for their contributions to their company’s maintenance program, certifications and credentials.

Josh Fortner, the 2023 Driver of the Year, has been a professional truck driver for Stallion Transportation Group since 2010. In his 25-year career, he has driven more than 3 million accident-free miles. He is a dependable participant in the company’s charitable work, transporting food for the Arkansas Hunger Alliance and playing “The Grinch” on the annual Stallion Christmas float. He also supports the Special Olympics of Arkansas in the annual Truck Convoy and Law Enforcement Torch Run. Fortner is an Army veteran and participates in the industry’s Wreaths Across America campaign. Every December, Fortner drives to Maine, retrieves memorial wreaths and delivers them to the Little Rock National Cemetery for the graves of the country’s fallen servicemen and women.

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Stallion’s Safety Director Brody Welcher nominated Fortner for his performance record that stands out among his peers. Welcher said, “Josh simply represents the best of Stallion Transportation and professional truck drivers across the industry. He is considered a model employee and has created a standard we look for when recruiting and hiring. It would be hard to find a more deserving candidate for Arkansas Driver of the Year than Josh Fortner.”

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ABF Freight’s Heath Arnold, 2023 Arkansas Safety Professional of the Year with Arkansas Trucking Association President Shannon NewtonABF Freight’s Heath Arnold, 2023 Arkansas Safety Professional of the Year with Arkansas Trucking Association President Shannon NewtonArkansas Trucking AssociationThis year’s Safety Professional of the Year, Heath Arnold, director of safety and compliance at ABF Freight, has been supporting a safer trucking industry for over 20 years. At ABF, he leads the safety, safety innovation and technology, hazardous materials, and safety and security administration teams. Arnold has spearheaded efforts to create a communications and support team to give field employees a single, reliable support system for important updates and information, decreasing delay times and increasing efficiency.

Arnold has also been critical in the company’s testing and implementation of forward-facing cameras, electronic log device adoption, and other new technology research. An advocate for safe drivers at the state and national level, he serves on the American Trucking Associations Safety Policy Committee, American Trucking Associations Safety Management Council (past chairman), American Trucking Associations Hazardous Materials Policy Committee (past chairman), Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, Arkansas Trucking Association Safety Management Council and is a leader during the state and national truck driving championships.

“Heath is a safety professional that embodies the best qualities a person can have,” said Mike Brust, Arkansas Trucking Association’s director of safety services and loss prevention. “He never seeks the limelight and always has a positive attitude. Year after year, Heath tirelessly works behind the scenes to make our truck driving championship a success. He has supported safe roads for many years and is always willing to help however he can.”

Altec’s Kenneth Calhoun, 2023 Arkansas Maintenance Professional of the Year with Arkansas Trucking Association President Shannon NewtonAltec’s Kenneth Calhoun, 2023 ArkansasMaintenance Professional of the Year with Arkansas Trucking Association President Shannon NewtonArkansas Trucking AssociationMaintenance Professional of the Year Kenneth Calhoun, fleet optimization manager for Altec, has gone above and beyond in supporting the maintenance industry, technicians and schools. He has been a passionate advocate for the next generation of technical talent in trucking. In each company he has worked for, he has found ways to start programs that would train entry-level and apprentice technicians.

Calhoun is a former chair of both the American Trucking Associations TMC and the Arkansas Trucking Association Maintenance & Technology Council. He previously served on the Arkansas Office of Skills Development industry advisory board where he assisted technical schools in obtaining funding for updated training equipment whichhelps ensure that students are learning the skills that the industry needs.

A dozen technical students can thank Calhoun for his efforts founding the Carl Tapp Memorial Scholarship. Since 2017, ATA has been able to provide $90,000 in scholarships to 12 students pursuing careers in medium/heavy duty truck technology.