WASHINGTON, D.C. — Seventeen drivers have been announced as semifinalists for the 2023 Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award, according to an announcement by Kenworth, Fastport and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative. This year’s program saw a record number of nominees.
Launched in 2016 as part of a drive to recognize the achievements of veterans who are transitioning into the transportation industry, this year’s program semifinalists represent each branch of the U.S. military, including the National Guard and Reserve.
Semifinalists include the following:
- Andre Matthews, U.S. Army (O-4), Melton Truck Lines
- Anthony Nelson, U.S. Air Force (E-6), Roehl Transport
- Brandon Meredith, U.S. Army (E-7), Slay Transport
- Christian Slingerland, U.S. Army (E-5), Paschall Truck Lines
- James Ferrante, U.S. Navy (E-5), Epes Transport System LLC
- James Smith, U.S. Army (E-4), Viking Electric
- Jeffrey Pitts, U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserve (E-3), NFI Industries
- Jessica White, U.S. Army (E-5), Stevens Transport
- Kareem Isaac, U.S. Army National Guard (E-4), Ryder
- Joseph Harmon, U.S. Marine Corps (E-4), USA Truck/DB Schenker
- Larry Todd Kraus, U.S. Army (CW3), Werner Enterprises
- LaTravis Wilcox, U.S. Marine Corps (E-8), Prime Inc.
- Ondrae Meyers, U.S. Marine Corps (E-7), CRST
- Ryan Buttenob, U.S. Air Force (E-4), Schneider
- Tameca Dale, U.S. Army Reserve (O-4), US Army/Kingdom Message Carriers LLC
- Tobie Myers, U.S. Army and Army Reserve (E-2), Putnam Trucking
- William “Bill” Masters, U.S. Air Force and Army National Guard (E-4 and E-5), Veriha Trucking
One of these semifinalists will win the grand prize — a Kenworth T680 Signature Edition truck equipped with a 76-inch sleeper and the PACCAR Powertrain featuring the PACCAR MX-13 engine rated at 455 horsepower, PACCAR TX-12 automated transmission and PACCAR DX-40 tandem rear axles.
“Kenworth is honored to again participate in this year’s Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence program to recognize the service of distinguished military veterans and encourage the trucking industry to provide career opportunities and support,” said Kyle Kimball, director of marketing for Kenworth. “Congratulations to this esteemed group of semifinalists as they vie for the T680 Signature Edition truck in Washington, D.C.”
As part of the eighth annual award program, the semifinalists will be honored throughout September. On Sept. 21, the honorees will attend a ceremony at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus, Ohio. The following day will include a tour of the Kenworth Chillicothe manufacturing plant. In addition, the semifinalists will be recognized during a ceremony at the MHC Road Ready Center, and finalists continuing in the program will be announced.
“The Transition Trucking award campaign is an opportunity to highlight the impact veterans are making in the transportation industry and introduce a new generation of veterans to the real economic opportunity a career in trucking can represent,” said Eric Eversole, president of Hiring Our Heroes and a vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“This year was the hardest year yet to select the semifinalists. It’s the most diverse group in the program’s history, and we are proud to be able to recognize them and each branch of the military through their stories, said Brad Bentley, president of Fastport. “This is an incredible group of drivers who show us that the future of this industry is in good hands.”
Online voting will take place Nov. 1 through Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11.
A public vote will occur online from November 1st until Veteran’s Day. This voting is an important determiner for the award’s selection committee, which makes the ultimate choice for the next Transition Trucking award winner.
The finalists — and the ultimate winner — will be part of an expanded veteran-focused week that includes a Veteran-Ready Summit (Dec. 15), the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence Award announcement (Dec. 16) and Employment Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Statement of Support Signing Ceremony later that afternoon, and Wreaths Across America (Dec. 17).
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.