This year marks HDT's largest group of Truck Fleet Innovators ever, seven fleet executives who...

This year marks HDT's largest group of Truck Fleet Innovators ever, seven fleet executives who are being recognized for their leadership and forward-thinking in managing fleet operations and employees.

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“He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator.”

--Francis Bacon, English philosopher-statesman (1561-1626)

Not that I would expect to win an argument with the lofty Sir Francis, I would nonetheless suggest to him that nowadays the greatest innovator is waste— the squandering of time and other resources that drives down efficiency and drives up cost in any commercial venture, which it most certainly does in truck fleet operations.

Waste not, want not is arguably a very good place to start on the road to innovation. And given that the Merriam-Webster definition of waste is “to spend or use carelessly: squander,” it bears minding that time is to be trifled with even less in today’s blindingly fast-paced world than it was in the Shakespearean era of Bacon’s time.

No wonder then that the managers, executives, and owners of truck operations who are honored each year by Heavy Duty Trucking with our Truck Fleet Innovator awards, which are again being sponsored by Phillips Industries, so often seem to be moving at a fast clip in how they think about things.

That’s because they are not the types to wait for solutions to find them— you’ll more likely find them out front seeking the right answer or coming up with their own.

Each year, HDT's editors sift through nominations received from members of the industry as well as considering the fleet executives they have come into contact with throughout the year to single out a select group of fleet executives who have consistently shown innovation in areas such as leadership, productivity, business practices, safety, maintenance, spec'ing, technology, human resources, fuel efficiency, the environment, and so on.

The editors of HDT recently announced our Truck Fleet Innovators for 2019, whom I will profile in the cover story of the May print edition of Heavy Duty Trucking. The honorees will also comprise a panel of experts on where trucking is headed at our exclusive Heavy Duty Trucking Exchange fleet networking event, being held May 8-10 in Scottsdale.

This year marks our largest group of honorees ever, seven fleet executives who are being recognized for their leadership and forward-thinking in managing truck fleet operations and employees.

These are the winners being saluted for management accomplishments in areas ranging from being on the cutting edge of vehicle design and digitizing preventive maintenance procedures to switching up driver pay programs and selecting specs based tightly on the job at hand:

  • Bill Brentar, vice president, maintenance & engineering, UPS, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Don Digby Jr., president, Navajo Express, Denver, Colorado
  • Ryan Hammer, president, Quality Custom Distribution, Irvine, California
  • Gregg Mangione, senior vice president of maintenance, Penske Truck Leasing, Reading, Pennsylvania
  • Joshua Porter, executive vice president, B&B Trucking, Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • Vince Tarantini, president, Carmen Transportation, Toronto, Ontario
  • Dan Wirkkala, president & CEO, Smokey Point Distributing, Arlington, Washington

Please join me in congratulating each honoree and please keep an eye out for my profiles on each of them in our May magazine issue, or when all the issue's content is posted online at our site.

And let’s all keep on thinking hard and fast on how we can each get where we want to go, and as smoothly and safely as we can.

About the author
David Cullen

David Cullen

[Former] Business/Washington Contributing Editor

David Cullen comments on the positive and negative factors impacting trucking – from the latest government regulations and policy initiatives coming out of Washington DC to the array of business and societal pressures that also determine what truck-fleet managers must do to ensure their operations keep on driving ahead.

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