To celebrate the modern-day achievements of African Americans in the trucking industry, Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF) has selected four drivers who exemplify excellence in trucking. They were selected because of their professionalism and dedication to their jobs, commitment to safety and continuous efforts to move America forward every day.
The drivers are being featured on TMAF’s blog and social media pages throughout the month of February as well as on The Trucker.com. The stories highlight the drivers’ accomplishments and safety records and share the personal story of each driver. This is the second of four features in the series.
Moving America forward: Alphonso Lewis, Sr. is making NTDC history
Alphonso Lewis, Sr. is a professional truck driver from Montgomery, Alabama. Lewis has been driving for YRC Freight for over 27 years.
Trucking has been a part of Lewis’s life from a young age. While growing up, his father was a truck driver. During an interview with TMAF, Lewis said, “My father was that big superhero that was driving that big truck, which I totally admired!” Lewis’s father let him ride along in the truck. Lewis told TMAF, “He would also let us ride along with him during the
summer months while we were out of school which cemented my desire to one day be a professional driver myself.”
Lewis started in the trucking industry while serving in the U.S. Army as a light wheel vehicle mechanic for six years. He was trained and learned how to drive trucks in that role. Once he completed his service, Lewis became a professional truck driver for the company now known as YRC Freight.
Lewis said that the military gave him a strong foundation to build on in his life and career in trucking: pride, teamwork, confidence, integrity, commitment and drive.
Safety is a priority for Lewis while he’s on the road. Lewis told TMAF, “every day safety comes first, second and last in this industry. No short cuts!” In 2007, Lewis won the honor of National Truck Driving Grand Champion at the National Truck Driving Championships (NTDC), which is also known as the “Superbowl of Safety.” Lewis made NTDC history as the first African American to earn the title of Grand Champion.
Lewis’s safety record has been recognized within the industry and he was asked to serve as a member of the ATA’s America’s Road Team. In 2016, Lewis shared safety tips for drivers and helped educate motorists on the dangers of distracted drivers in ATA’s Share the Road highway safety program instructional video. Lewis was one of two drivers to lead the 2019 Wreaths Across America truck convoy.
Lewis has described his career in trucking as tremendously rewarding and a job one can take considerable pride in doing. “What I love about trucking is the freedom you have to do your job on a daily basis,” Lewis said. “Your deliveries and pickups are mostly left up to the driver to plan his or her route to be successful.” In additional to the flexibility and freedom granted by the job, Lewis also enjoys meeting different people and having a difference in scenery from day to day.
With a strong love for trucking, Lewis said his wife, Regina, “recognizes often how much I enjoy being a driver.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.