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ATA’s National Driver of the Year David Boyer has been living his childhood dream for 45 years

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Honors and awards are nothing new to David Boyer. When you’ve racked up a driving record like his, recognition is bound to catch up with you, and in the last few years the accolades have been piling up.

Boyer, of Wytheville, Virginia, has been a professional driver for 45 years, the last 40 as a less-than-truckload driver with ABF Freight. In that time, he’s earned the 30-year Safe Driving Ring, the 35-Year Safe Driving Plaque, the 1-million Mile Safe Driving Award and the 2 Million Mile Safe Driving Award.

He’s been a member of the ABF Freight Road Team twice within the last 10 years, as well as an America’s Road Team Captain. In 2016, he was honored with the Virginia Governor’s Transportation Safety Award, and earlier this year, Boyer was named the Virginia Truck Driver of the Year.

The icing on the cake came October 30 in Austin, Texas, during the American Trucking Associations’ annual Management Conference & Exhibition, where Boyer was named ATA’s National Driver of the Year.

“It’s overwhelming,” Boyer said a few days after the awards luncheon where he received the honor. “There’s a lot of great drivers out there. I never dreamed I’d get selected out of all the top drivers that we got. It’s quite an honor.”

Even though it’s called a “driver of the year” award, it can be seen as something of a lifetime achievement honor. As far as Boyer’s concerned, the honor has been all his.

“You’re talking to someone who got to live out his childhood dream,” Boyer said. “All I wanted to do was be a truck driver. From the time I was 11 years old and I drove a truck behind an old corn chopper, I never wanted to do anything else.

“If the Good Lord said, ‘David, you can go back to being an 18-year-old and you can be anything you wanted to be,’ I’d say, ‘I want to be a truck driver.’ I love it.”

Things have changed a lot in trucking since Boyer started driving, not the least of which are the trucks themselves, he said. Back when he started, “Those old trucks used to burn as much oil as they did fuel,” he said. They didn’t have air conditioning or power steering or air ride suspension.

In some ways the job has gotten a lot easier than it used to be, Boyer said. But the real key to his success and longevity has been in being lucky enough to have had the right people in his life.

“Without having someone behind you, helping you, you can’t do it,” Boyer said. “I’ve been married to my lovely wife Pam 48 years. We have three kids, nine grandchildren. And my wife’s done a good job raising them. I was gone 90 percent of the time, and she done a great job.”

On the road, he got lucky early on, he said, when he went to work for a company called Blue Ridge Transfer and found a mentor in a veteran driver by the name of Henry Jenkins.

“He was a hardworking man, fond of saying, ‘we don’t have time to get involved in an accident,’” Boyer recalled. “He said, ‘we’re going to have to fill out paperwork, and we’re not making no money when we’re sitting still.’

Boyer said Jenkins taught him that to be a good driver one of the most important qualities to have on the road is patience.

“He never got excited,” Boyer said. “He never badmouthed the traffic. When we’d get in a backup, he’d wave to people.” Jenkins’ style became his, and he’s never let it go.

“I don’t get upset at the traffic,” he said. “We’re all out here sharing the road together and trying to make a living.  The way I see it, if you pass me, you’re my family, I want you to get home safe to your family just like I want to get home to mine.”

Boyer also attributes much of his success and satisfaction with finding the right company to drive for. Yes, it’s pretty amazing to be with the same carrier for 40 years, Boyer said, but you also have to consider that it also means ABF has been around that long. That shows this is a company that does something right.

“They don’t harass you, or stay on your back,” he said. He said when he was hired, they told him they expect drivers to use their intelligence and skill and discipline to get the job done. In return, he said, they’ve shown him the respect he earned.

Boyer is a strong believer life gives back what you put into it. He participates annually in the Mid-Atlantic Charity Fun Drive benefiting the Make-a-Wish Foundation and is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Professional Truck Drivers Association and of God’s Pit Crew, a program that provides aid during disaster relief efforts.

“I couldn’t have done it without working for a company like ABF that helped me do the things that I’ve been able to do,” he said. “They’ve stood by me 199 percent.”

He is particularly proud of the work he’s done as a road team captain, especially going to schools and educating teen drivers. He loves letting them climb up into a cab so they can see from a driver’s perspective when he explains things like blind spots and braking distance.

One of his favorite exercises is to have the teens get behind the wheel and pretend they’re driving 55 mph. He’ll tell them hit the brakes, then he’ll point to a stop sign set up 363 feet ahead and explain that’s where the truck would come to a full stop.

“You know you got them when you see their eyebrows raise up or their eyes get bigger or they say ‘wow,’ and that’s the best feeling in the world,” Boyer said, “to know you just showed that young driver something they’ll carry with them from now on.

“Someday, something will happen out on the road, and these kids will say, ‘that old man Boyer knew what he was talking about.’ And you’ll never know that, but you plant that seed and hope it grows.”

Receiving such a prestigious award would make it a natural time to reflect after 45 years behind the wheel, and possibly start pondering what’s next.

Funny thing, Boyer said, as a matter of fact, he’s been doing just that.

“I thought the other day, ‘you know, I think I’m going to make a career out of this.’”

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Andrea Hansen

    November 18, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    I am so proud of my big brother. To think we started out as kids driving around the hills on the farm. As a teenager, David, had cows he milked and sold the milk to Kraft Foods. I guess he realized early on that it is a lot easier to drive a truck than to milk a bunch of cows. Although David says Pam did most of the raising of the kids, and she did, when he was home and able to attend ball games, it was a great treat. His attendance was anticipated by the friends of his kids almost as much as the kids themselves. You could always hear David’s voice encouraging the kids whether in football, basketball, or baseball. He was a proud dad and his kids were proud of him. We have always been proud of him and he is finally getting the recognition he has always deserved.

  2. Carla Norman

    November 19, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    CongratulationsDavid!!!You have always been a truck driver for a long time. I’m glad that you had a job that you liked and enjoyed so you could support your family.The Lord blessed you all the years that you were out on the roads.

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The Nation

FMCSA reminds truckers drug, alcohol clearinghouse coming soon

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The clearinghouse will be a professional truck driver database that will serve as a centralized record of all failed drug or alcohol tests, whether from pre-employment screenings, post-crash tests or random. (©2019 FOTOSEARCH)

Remember two years ago, when it seemed like the entire trucking industry was counting down the days to the ELD deadline?

Well, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) wants drivers to be aware of another countdown happening right now, although with much less hoopla than the Great ELD Panic of ’17.

At the recent Mid-America Trucking Show, Joe DeLorenzo, FMCSA director of enforcement and compliance, gave a presentation to raise awareness about the soon-to-be launched federal CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.

Mandated as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, or MAP-21, in 2012, the same piece of legislation that bore the ELD mandate, the drug and alcohol clearinghouse is scheduled to launch January 6, 2020.

The clearinghouse will be a professional truck driver database that will serve as a centralized record of all failed drug or alcohol tests, whether from pre-employment screenings, post-crash tests or random. All refusals to take a drug or alcohol test will also be recorded.

“I came here with a bit of a mission on the drug and alcohol clearinghouse rule,” DeLorenzo said to the MATS audience. It has come to the agency’s attention the clearinghouse has been flying under the radar, a bit, and not enough drivers seem to know about it or they haven’t gotten a full explanation of what the clearinghouse will contain and what it will be used for.

DeLorenzo said drivers have said to him, “Well, I don’t do drugs, so I don’t have to worry about this.”

“Actually, that’s not the case,” DeLorenzo said. “Everybody needs to know about this and get going on it.”

Starting in January, carriers will be required to query the database as part of the new-driver hiring process to ensure that the candidate does not have any failed tests or refusals in the previous three years. Carriers can only gain access to a driver’s record and make the mandatory query with the consent of the driver, and the only way a driver can give that consent is to be registered in the clearinghouse.

So, technically, drivers are not going to be required to register in the clearinghouse, DeLorenzo said. However, if you ever want to get hired anywhere again you’ll have to be registered in the clearinghouse.

“If you’re just kind of staying where you’re at, no intention of leaving, or if you are working for yourself, or if you are nearing retirement, you may decide not to register,” he said. “But in an industry with 100%-plus turnover, I know people are always looking for a new job, a different job, a better job. Any driver who’s going to apply for a new job after this rule goes into effect is going to have to have an account and is going to have to be able to go in.”

DeLorenzo explained why the clearinghouse has been set up this way. Today, when someone applies for a job, they get tested as part of the process. They fail the test and the carrier doesn’t hire them. Three months later, they stay clean just long enough, the apply somewhere else and that company hires them, not knowing about the prior failure.

Starting January 6, carriers will be required to upload notices into the clearinghouse of all failed drug tests by drivers and driving applicants, as well as all refusals to test, as they occur.

The database is designed to go back three years. At first, employers will have to conduct both electronic queries within the clearinghouse and manual inquiries with previous employers to cover the preceding three years to meet the mandated hiring requirement. As of January 6, 2023, they will only need to check the clearinghouse.

Drivers’ records will only contain positive tests and refusals. When a prospective employer makes a query, they will be told if the record is clean. If there are entries, they will be able to get more details.

If a driver has a failed test, the database will also record whether that driver has completed the return-to-duty process.

Drivers will also be able to review their own records, DeLorenzo said, which is another incentive to register. If a driver finds an entry they wish to dispute, they can file a DataQ request to have it corrected.

The clearinghouse website is already up and running. Drivers can go to Clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov to read about the clearinghouse and to register their email addresses for any updates. Actual registration is scheduled to begin in October.

DeLorenzo said he is hoping to raise more awareness about the clearinghouse now so they start registering in October instead of finding out the hard way come February when they try to apply for a job.

“What I’m trying to avoid, actually, is human nature, which is to wait until the very last minute.”

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The Nation

Drivewyze completes Missouri weigh installations, now fully deployed with 19 locations

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Drivewyze President and CEO Brian Heath noted that Missouri is a centralized state in the U.S., home to major trucking lanes connecting the west and east coasts. (Courtesy: DRIVEWYZE )

501 drivewyze Missouri.doc

DALLAS — Drivewyze has completed its service site rollout in Missouri at all 19 weigh stations across the state. Drivewyze PreClear weigh station bypass is now operational at all Missouri locations, delivering weigh station bypass opportunities to its customers driving in the state.

“Our bypass service network is second to none in Missouri,” said Brian Heath, president and CEO of Drivewyze. “Drivewyze is the largest provider of weigh station bypass service by a factor of almost two — with more than 750 service sites in North America. By providing more bypass opportunities than our competitors, we enable our customers to earn a higher safety return on investment than anyone else in the industry. The time has never been better for carriers to adopt weigh station bypass, or switch away from transponder-based systems. Now, they can maximize our bypass services in Missouri and enjoy the same extended coverage of our transponder-free services offer across the country.”

The final four activated Missouri Drivewyze sites are located in Kearney (northbound), Platte City (northbound), and Willow Springs (both east and westbound). Kearney is on I-35, northeast of Kansas City (between Kansas City and Des Moines, Iowa); Platte City is on I-29, northwest of Kansas City (between KC and Omaha, Nebraska); and Willow Springs is on Highway 60/63, southeast of Springfield.

“Missouri is a centralized state in the U.S., home to major trucking lanes connecting the west and east coasts,” Heath said. “With hundreds of trucking companies based in the state, we are pleased to offer state-wide services to all carriers operating in Missouri, as well as those passing through. This is another step forward for Drivewyze — and our customers — and we look forward to continue revolutionizing the freight industry with world-class service and technology. More bypasses not only improve a carrier’s bottom line, it makes a positive impact on driver’s lives.”

Carriers can eliminate the cost and administration of traditional transponders with Drivewyze. The Drivewyze PreClear weigh station bypass service is integrated with existing in-cab equipment like electronic logging devices, smartphones, tablets and other in-cab telematics systems. Customers can now receive bypass opportunities in 42 states and two Canadian provinces.

The Drivewyze PreClear weigh station bypass application is available on a number of Drivewyze partner platforms, including Omnitracs, Orbcomm, PeopleNet, Transflo, Rand McNally, Zonar, Platform Science, ISSAC and Switchboard. The application is also available for drivers to download on Android and iOS-based tablets or smartphones.

Fleets can request a free weigh station activity report to help them determine how much time and money they could save by using Drivewyze PreClear.

Drivewyze comes with a free Weigh Station Heads-Up service for real-time notifications at more than 1,200 weigh stations and inspection sites nationwide.

To learn more about Drivewyze, please visit www.drivewyze.com. 8

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Pilot Flying J to hold in-person, virtual hiring event May 2

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Pilot Flying J is hiring an average of 10 positions per location with some states adding more, including Illinois, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia. (Courtesy: PILOT FLYING J)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Pilot Flying J will conduct its first-ever National Hiring Day on May 2 – the largest in-person and virtual hiring event in the company’s history.

Gearing up for the influx of travelers this summer, the company aims to hire more than 5,000 new team members across its network of more than 750 travel centers in the U.S. and Canada. Pilot Flying J invites job seekers to experience and explore what it means to be part of the Pilot Flying J team with on-the-spot in-person and virtual interviews.

“Making the decision to start a career at Pilot Flying J provides the opportunity to work hard, have fun and live up to one’s full potential, while also advancing professionally,” said Paul Shore, chief people officer of Pilot Flying J. “Hiring 5,000 enthusiastic team members to join our company in a wide array of positions across North America is an exciting challenge, especially during a time of low unemployment. To help candidates get a feel for our values and culture, learn about the great benefits we offer and find the right job opportunity, we can’t rely on standard outreach. That’s why we’re inviting everyone to join us on National Hiring Day.”

Shore said Pilot Flying J is seeking hands-on, high energy individuals with a people-first service mentality.

Candidates are invited to visit all Pilot and Flying J travel centers and Truck Care service centers on Thursday, May 2, from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. for on-the-spot interviews and information. To make it easier for candidates to learn more and apply wherever they are, the company also is offering virtual job tours and interviews available at pilotflyingj.com/hiringday.

Open positions include:

  • Travel center leadership and entry level part-time and full-time roles in quick-service restaurants, deli, retail and maintenance
  • Truck Care mechanics and certified technicians
  • Professional drivers for fuel transport, DEF, crude and refined fuel

The company is hiring an average of 10 positions per location with some states adding more, including Illinois, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia.

For technology candidates, Pilot Flying J is hosting Tech Night, a meet-and-greet at the company’s support center and headquarters in Knoxville. On May 2 from 5-7 p.m., interested individuals are invited to bring their resumes, meet the company’s IT leaders, enjoy light refreshments and learn more about the growing Technology Innovation department. The company plans to hire 55 professionals in technology fields, including mobile developers, data scientists, engineers and more.

Pilot Flying J promotes a team member-first culture and offers both part-time and full-time team members benefits, such as weekly pay, tuition assistance, 401(k) participation, dental and vision plans and paid time off.

On average, the starting salary for hourly, entry-level employees at Pilot Flying J travel centers is $10.75 per hour, $3.50 more than the federal minimum wage. Comprehensive and affordable medical plans are also available to full-time team members, including a $10 per week plan for Travel Center team members, and access to no-cost medical consultations with Teledoc. In addition, team members enjoy unique perks, including free beverages and 50% off on deli and made-in-house PJ Fresh meals while at work.

“Giving back to the communities in which the company operates has been a core value of Pilot Flying J since the beginning. Team members are encouraged to take part in volunteer opportunities, fundraising efforts and other philanthropic activities in support of their local communities,” Shore said.

For more information about National Hiring Day events, visit pilotflyingj.com/hiringday. To learn more about the company, benefits and view open positions, go to jobs.pilotflyingj.com.

Pilot Flying J has more than 750 retail locations in 44 states, Roadside assistance available at over 135 locations nationwide and growing as part of its Truck Care program, 44 Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Centers, and 34 Boss Shops. The Pilot Flying J network provides drivers with access to more than 72,000 parking spaces for trucks with Prime Parking at more than 400 locations, 5,200 deluxe showers and more than 6,200 diesel lanes with 5,200 offering diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) at the pump. Pilot Flying J is currently ranked No. 14 on Forbes’ list of America’s largest private companies.

Visit www.pilotflyingj.com for more information.

 

 

 

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