TCA Honors Top Company Drivers, Owner-Operators

March 04, 2010

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The Truckload Carriers Association honored the top company drivers as well as owner-operators this week as it announced the winners of its annual Company Equipment Driver of the Year and Owner Operator of the Year contests during its annual convention
in Las Vegas.

The winners were selected based on the drivers' excellent safety records, unblemished work histories, and community and industry involvement.

The top company drivers are:

Grand Prize Winner: Gordon "Butch" Colvin, Con-way Truckload, Joplin, Mo.

Colvin has been a truck driver for 50 years, and has worked for Con-way Truckload since 1996. Over the course of his truck driving career, he has logged more than 5 million miles; 1.6 million of these were driven while employed with Con-way.

Colvin is part of a driver team along with his wife, Dora, who also won first place in the contest in 2005. Together, they have been recognized twice as Con-way's Company Team of the Year and five times as Company Team of the Month. They have also received honors for safely achieving a million miles while driving for their company.

Colvin is one of 12 drivers selected nationwide for an advisory board for Kenworth that helps make decisions that will affect the future of truck design and equipment specifications for the company.

As the 2009 Company Equipment Driver of the Year, Colvin will receive a prize package consisting of cash, gift cards, products, and services worth $25,000.

Second Place Winner: Richard Gassman, Greatwide Logistics Services, Dallas

Gassman has worked for Greatwide Logistics Services, since 2001, but has been driving trucks for more than 51 years. Over the course of his career, he has logged more than 4.5 million accident-free truckload miles and hauled everything from concrete to butter to clothing.

In December 2008, Gassman was selected as Greatwide's Driver of the Month for its Dubuque Operations Center, and in April 2009 he was chosen as the 2008 Driver of the Year from among thousands of Greatwide drivers at all locations.

Third Place Winner: Brian Rhodes, Con-way Truckload, Joplin, Mo.

Rhodes has been a truck driver with Con-way Truckload since 1995. During this time, he has logged more than 1.5 million accident-free truckload miles. Rhodes and his twin brother, Bruce, drive together as a team and have been recognized as Company Team of the Month four times. They have also received their company's Million Mile Award.

"While Brian's quiet nature and ability to problem solve on-the-go might go unnoticed, no one can overlook his high degree of professionalism that follows wherever he goes. Brian simply goes about his work with the highest degree of effort and follows through," said Randy Cornell, Con-way's vice president of safety.

TCA also honored the top owner-operators:

Grand Prize Winner: Steven J. Recker, Warren Transport, Inc., Waterloo, Iowa
Recker has been affiliated with Warren Transport, Inc., since 1985, driving more than 2.8 million accident-free truckload miles. Prior to winning the grand prize this year, he had placed as a top 10 finalist in the contest four times. In 2006, he was selected as the Iowa Motor Truck Association's (IMTA) Driver of the Year, and he also served a year on the IMTA Road Team.

When not on the road, Recker contributes money to and attends functions for the Boy Scouts, Camp Courageous of Iowa and the Special Olympics. He has also volunteered hundreds of hours to help those in need, such as hurricane and flood victims and those affected by a serious electricity outage in Iowa a few years ago.

As the TCA Owner Operator of the Year, Recker will receive a prize package consisting of cash, gift cards, products, and services worth $25,000.

Second Place Winner: Woodrow Walker, Dart Transit Company, Eagan, Minn.

Woodrow Walker has driven more than 4 million accident-free truckload miles and has been leased to Dart Transit Co. since 1988. He has received a safety award from Dart every year since becoming affiliated with the company through its Dallas Operating Center and was selected as Dart's Contractor of the Year in 2005.

When he is at home, Walker is very active in his church. He has worked with its prison ministries, serving as a mentor to less experienced, younger men. Walker also volunteers at a local nursing home. He and his wife are monthly contributing donors to support work on behalf of abused and neglected children through CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Third Place Winner: Larry L. Severson, Dart Transit Company, Eagan, Minn.

Severson has been associated with Dart Transit Company since 1975 and has logged more than 5 million miles throughout his 48-year career. In 2004, he was selected as the Minnesota Trucking Association's Driver of the Year. He has also received numerous safety awards from Dart, including the 20-Year Truck Trophy, President's Safety Award, and the Hall of Fame Safety Award.

At home, Severson helps out with church fundraisers, such as using his tractor and trailer (with permission) to collect aluminum cans and haul them to a recycling plant. He has driven in the Special Olympics' "World's Largest Truck Convoy" several times, and recently allowed one of the athletes and his mother to ride along in his truck cab.

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