The Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award program hit another milestone at the Great American Trucking Show (GATS) with its announcement of the top 3 finalists in the running to win a fully-loaded Kenworth T680 with a PACCAR engine.
Coordinated by FASTPORT, Kenworth, and Hiring Our Heroes, the finalists first explored the George W. Bush Presidential Library where Colonel Miguel Howe of the George W. Bush Institute met and spoke with our Veterans to give them even more insight into the library and museum.
“FASTPORT was privileged to be able to provide our incredible Veterans with the opportunity to have an insider look at the George W. Bush Library and Museum, an incredible piece of American history,” said Jim Ray, FASTPORT Co-Founder who also took part in the tour. “These finalists all fought with distinction to protect and serve the presidential office and what it stands for, so we are grateful for the efforts of Col. Howe and the George W. Bush Institute team to recognize the Veterans’ important work both in the Armed Services and in the Trucking Industry.”
Following their tour, all finalists were honored at the historic ESGR Signing Ceremony at GATS where a record 95 trucking industry employers gathered to sign Statements of Support for the Guard and Reserve. FASTPORT President Brad Bentley first recognized all 10 Finalists on stage and described how military experience hard-wires Veterans and members of the Guard and Reserve for success in the trucking industry.
This statement was further supported by the fact that members of all service branches plus the Guard and Reserve were represented in this group of nominated professional drivers. “As an industry, trucking and transportation has continued to unite in the effort to employ Veterans and set them up for a successful career,” said Bentley. “I am proud to assert that our industry is not just military-friendly—we are Veteran-ready. These exceptional drivers are proof that those with military experience excel in our great careers.”
After recognizing the entire Top 10, Bentley announced the Top 3 Finalists who stepped to the front of the stage at the end of the even (left to right in the photo below):
Reflecting on his career as a professional driver, Russell Hardy said, “I have been drawn to wheels that turn since childhood. I grew up in the day when a boy’s most treasured possessions almost always included a prized collection of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars…Now as a professional driver, I can support my family with those wheels. Trucking grants us flexibility. Because trucking is a career that I enjoy, I tend to be less stressed and more energized…The time I spend out on the road, I spend listening to a wide variety of audio books. My truck cab, therefore, is like a wondrous classroom. This education and higher learning is uplifting and instills confidence in me.”
Kevin Scott agreed that his trucking career instills that same confidence: “Choosing this career has given me a sense of pride. Each week, every load is like a deployment. You go for a week and do your job at hand, and then home time is for demobilization. I enjoy the fact that when I am at work, I am truly at work, but my home time is solely devoted to my family. Our goal at my company is “Destination: Excellence” and that goal goes hand-in-hand with the personal goals I have set for myself, from my military career to my personal life.”
Troy Davidson added, “I currently drive a 2015 Kenworth T680, which I nicknamed “Big Betsy.” This truck, in my opinion, is the Cadillac of all semis on the road today. Her safety features, including the anti-collision control system to the ABS adaptive cruise control features on the T680s, makes for a safer truck driver overall. … I remember back in my youth, I liked big trucks. I wanted to be a service member to my country as well, which the trucking industry inspired me to do. Also, it is a way to see what beauty this awesome U.S.A. has to offer, and had it not been for me joining the industry, I probably would not have been able to see it.”
The Top 3 Finalists will now go on to have their fates in the contest decided by America when the general population will vote to award their favorite driver the Kenworth T680. For further information on the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award program, please visit http://www.transitiontrucking.org/.