Well-known trucking writer Steve Sturgess has died. He worked for Newport Communications, then-publisher of Heavy Duty Trucking, from 1993 – 2011, most recently as executive editor of HDT.
After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering in London in 1970, Sturgess discovered he enjoyed writing about cars and trucks more than designing them. He eventually made his way to Canada and then the United States. Throughout his career he wrote for many different trucking publications, both U.S. and foreign. Since HDT and Sturgess parted ways in 2011, he has been published in U.S. and global trucking publications such as Diesel Progress, Transporte Latino, Australia’s Diesel Magazine, and NZ Truck & Driver.
A licensed commercial driver, Sturgess was known for his in-depth knowledge of trucks and equipment, and for insider information gleaned from his relationships in the truck industry. Throughout his career he performed road tests of new trucks and sat down with design engineers afterward to discuss the good and the bad.
“Steve Sturgess was comfortable talking trucks with anyone — from drivers to mechanics to designers to marketers...and company executives from all over the world,” said Doug Condra, who was president of Newport Communications during Sturgess’ time with the company. “And he did it with charm, class and his own brand of British wit. Those qualities also earned him the admiration and friendship of fellow journalists, including his competitors.”
HDT Senior Contributing Editor Jack Roberts, who got to know Sturgess when Roberts was a young writer at another trucking publication, recalled that “Steve was unfailingly generous with his knowledge, sharing secrets and always giving friendly advice or tips of the trade to younger journalists.”
HDT Equipment Editor Jim Park first became acquainted with Sturgess through the Letters to the Editor page in another Newport publication, RoadStar. Sturgess was editor of the publication for drivers and owner-operators in the 1990s, and Park was a truck driver and a prolific letter-writer.
“Steve answered many of my missives,” he recalled. “When I joined the trucking trade press corps in 1998, Steve … remembered me as that letter writer and made a point of welcoming me to the press corps, saying, ‘I'm not at all surprised to see you here. You'll do well.’”
Sturgess won a number of Jesse H. Neal Awards — the highest journalism prize in the business press —during his time with Newport, including being part of the team that won the Grand Neal Award in 2009 for a special theme issue, Fuel Crisis Survival, published in June 2008 as trucking struggled with sky-high fuel prices.