Larry Severson Named 2011 Owner Operator of the Year by Truckload Carriers Association and Randall-Reilly

March 9, 2012

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and partner Randall Business Media & Information Company (Randall-Reilly) are pleased to announce the grand prizewinner of the much anticipated 2011 Owner Operator of the Year competition: Larry Severson of Vadnais Heights, Minn., who is leased to Dart Transit Company, of Eagan, Minn. Severson’s name was revealed last night at TCA’s Annual Convention at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, Fla.

Sponsored by Cummins Inc. and Ram, the Owner Operator of the Year contest recognizes and pays tribute to the top independent contractors in the United States and Canada who provide reliable and safe truck transportation in moving the nation’s goods. Severson was selected based on his ability to operate in a safe manner on the public highways, efforts to enhance the public image of the trucking industry, positive contributions to his community, and skills as a businessperson.

A truck driver for 49 years, Severson has driven more than 5.1 million accident-free miles. He is a past Driver of the Year for the Minnesota Trucking Association and has earned countless safety awards from Dart Transit.

With a strong skill base that has been continuously refined since his pre-driving days as a truck washer and a mechanic, Severson takes his job very seriously. He has helped many new and inexperienced owner operators learn the business and has even recruited a few into the profession. He is known to be courteous, loyal, pleasant, and dedicated – both on and off the road – and has been chosen to represent Dart to new clients when the company wants to make the best possible first impression. All of these things have earned him the nickname “Larry the Legend” by his peers.

“To me, I’m just doing a job I love, but if others have felt my efforts are worthy of that title, I’m honored and humbled by the name,” said Severson.

When not on the road, Severson is active in his church, often organizing youth group fundraisers such as car washes and drives to recycle aluminum cans. He has spoken at his local high school’s career day. For several years, he has driven in the World’s Largest Truck Convoy for Special Olympics. He is also known for performing random acts of kindness for neighbors and acquaintances, such as plowing driveways in the snow or lending a tool when someone needs it.

“When we think of professional, safe representatives for our industry, Severson’s name comes to the top of the list,” said Gary Volkman, vice president of Safety Compliance for Dart Transit Co. “We are grateful that he represents us.”

As the 2011 Owner Operator of the Year, Severson has won a Cummins-powered Ram truck. In addition, he was flown to TCA’s convention, where he was awarded a plaque and the keys to the pick-up truck in front of hundreds of the industry’s top leaders.

To be eligible for the contest, Severson had to meet certain criteria. At a minimum, he had to prove he has driven one million consecutive, accident-free miles. His operating information, equipment specifications, business plans, financial statements, work history, and safety record were closely examined by the contest judges. He also had to write two personal statements: One outlining why he should be a candidate for the grand prize and another describing what makes him a good “trucking citizen.” Based on these materials, Severson was selected as the 2011 grand prizewinner.

“Having experience as a driver myself, I know how tough it would be to drive one million miles, let alone five million,” said Gary Salisbury, TCA’s 2011-12 chairman and the president and CEO of Fikes Truck Line, Inc., of Hope, Ark. “In fact, ‘tough’ is an understatement. This is an achievement that very few individuals can claim.”

Jeff Mason, senior vice president of trucking for Randall-Reilly, said, “One of the reasons I love this contest so much is that it shines a spotlight on drivers who are truly the best in their field. I am amazed by Mr. Severson’s driving record and all that he has accomplished.”

Two other owner operators were honored along with Severson in the 2011 competition. Kirby Killgore of Mountain View, Mo., who drives for O & S Trucking, Inc., of Springfield, Mo., and Bryan Smith of Dubuque, Iowa, who drives for Art Pape Transfer, Inc., also of Dubuque, received Honorable Mentions. Killgore has driven 2.7 million accident-free miles over a 24-year career, while Smith has driven 2.1 million accident-free miles over a 17-year career.

For further information on the Driver of the Year competition, please visit www.truckload.org/Driver-of-the-Year.