Search narrows for top rookie military veteran driver

Search narrows for top rookie military veteran driver
From left are: Brad Bentley, FASTPORT president; Joey Mendel, general manager of the MHC RoadReady Center in Chillicothe, Ohio; Jimmy Reddell/U.S. Army, Army Reserves/Stevens Transport; Christopher Slindee/U.S. Army/Knight Transportation; Genevieve Bekkerus, Kenworth marketing director; James Rose/U.S. Marines/PRIME Inc.; and Adam Rocke, senior director of outreach and engagement for Hiring Our Heroes. (Courtesy: Kenworth)

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio, — FASTPORT has announced its top three finalists for “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence,” a program dedicated to finding America’s top rookie military veteran driver. The program recognizes top drivers who have made the successful transition from active duty to driving for a commercial fleet.

The top three drivers, listed with their military branch of service and current truck fleet, are: Jimmy Reddell/U.S. Army, Army Reserves/Stevens Transport; James Rose/U.S. Marines/PRIME Inc.; and Christopher Slindee/U.S. Army/Knight Transportation. The announcement was made during a ceremony at the MHC RoadReady Center in Chillicothe, Ohio, following a recognition event and tour of the adjacent Kenworth Chillicothe manufacturing plant.

For the sixth consecutive year, Kenworth has teamed with the FASTPORT Trucking Track Mentoring Program and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring our Heroes Program to support “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence.”

Kenworth is again providing The Driver’s Truck™ – a Kenworth T680 with a 76-inch sleeper – to serve as the program’s award to this year’s overall winner. The T680 features the complete PACCAR Powertrain with PACCAR MX-13 engine, PACCAR TX-12 automated transmission, and PACCAR DX-40 tandem rear axles.

“Congratulations to our three finalists – Jimmy Reddell, James Rose and Christopher Slindee – and to the other successful drivers who achieved Top 10 status in this special recognition program,” said Jim Walenczak, Kenworth assistant general manager for sales and marketing.

“Kenworth’s continuing participation is a way to thank our military veterans for their service, and to encourage the trucking industry to offer them career opportunities and support.”

“Each of our three finalists achieved significant accomplishments during their military careers and are now excelling as professional truck drivers. It is always important to help our veterans make a smooth transition into civilian life, and the trucking industry certainly provides a key avenue for that objective,” said Brad Bentley, FASTPORT president.

Other truck drivers, who achieved the Top 10 are: Steven Brown/U.S. Navy/EPES Transport System; Lucresha Daniels/U.S. Navy/PRIME Inc.; Marcus Ellis/U.S. Air Force/Stevens Transport; Will Gamez/U.S. Army, National Guard/Roehl Transport; Scott McFadden/U.S. Navy/Melton Truck Lines; Brad Stonebraker/U.S. Army/Melton Truck Lines; and Justin Utt/U.S. Marine Corps Reserve/Swift Transportation.


To qualify, drivers had to meet three eligibility requirements:


  • Must have been active military or member of the National Guard or Reserve.
  • Graduated from PTDI-certified, NAPFTDS or CVTA member driver training school, with a valid CDL.
  • First hired in a trucking position between January 1, 2020 and July 31, 2021.


A popular vote will take place online from Oct. 28 until Veteran’s Day Nov. 11. The winner will be determined by a Selection Committee and announced December 17 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.



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