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Finalists for top rookie military driver announced; winner will receive a Kenworth T680

Finalists for top rookie military driver announced; winner will receive a Kenworth T680
The winner of the 2021 Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award will receive a Kenworth T680 tractor with a 76-inch sleeper. The award program honors former members of the U.S. military who have made the move to commercial trucking. (Courtesy: Kenworth)

KIRKLAND, Wash. — Ten military veterans have been named as finalists for the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award, 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.

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The winner of the award will receive a Kenworth T680 tractor with a 76-inch sleeper. The T680 features the complete PACCAR Powertrain with PACCAR MX-13 engine, PACCAR TX-12 automated transmission, and PACCAR DX-40 tandem rear axles.

This is the sixth consecutive year that 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 the program.

“We have an impressive group of drivers selected as finalists in the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence program,” said Genevieve Bekkerus, Kenworth marketing director. “Kenworth Truck Co. thanks them for their military service to the country and appreciates their dedication on the road in pursuit of their new profession as truck drivers.”

The Top 10 drivers are:

  • Steven Brown, EPES Transport System (U.S. Navy);
  • Lacresha Daniels, Prime Inc. (U.S. Navy);
  • Marcus Ellis, Stevens Transport (U.S. Air Force);
  • William Gamez, Roehl Transport (U.S. Army, Army National Guard);
  • Scott McFadden, Melton Truck Lines (U.S. Navy);
  • Jimmy Reddell, Stevens Transport (U.S. Army, Army Reserves);
  • James C. Rose, Prime Inc. (U.S. Marine Corps);
  • Christopher Slindee, Knight Transportation (U.S. Army);
  • Brad Stonebraker, Melton Truck Lines (U.S. Army); and
  • Justin Utt, Swift Transportation (U.S. Marine Corps Reserve).

“It was certainly a challenging task to reduce the list of our talented nominees down to the Top 10. Our finalists are outstanding examples of the over-the-road service that veterans can offer the trucking industry, and they represent a variety of military branches,” said FASTPORT President Brad Bentley. “It is important for organizations across the United States to especially reach out to our veterans to help them make a smooth transition back into civilian life.”

Drivers were nominated by trucking companies that have made a hiring commitment and pledge to hire veterans on truckingtrack.org, members of the National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools (NAPFTDS), or Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA) member school.

To qualify, drivers must:

  • Have been active military or a member of the National Guard or Reserve;
  • Graduated from a PTDI-certified, NAPFTDS or CVTA member driver training school and hold a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL); and
  • Been first hired in a trucking position between Jan. 1, 2020, and July 31, 2021.

The top three finalists will be announced Oct. 6 at the MHC Road Ready Center in Chillicothe, Ohio, following a recognition event and tour of the adjacent Kenworth Chillicothe manufacturing plant.

The public can participate in a popular vote, conducted online from Oct. 28 through Nov. 11 (Veteran’s Day); the final winner will be determined by a selection committee. The winner will be announced Dec. 17 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

For more information about the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award program, click here.

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.
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