Trucking Elite 0611
June 1, 2011
“Mission Accomplished”: Schneider National Driver Marks Four Million Accident-Free Miles
In 1976, Mark DeSotel first got behind the wheel of a Schneider National truck and embarked on the journey toward his own remarkable achievement. He didn’t know it then, but DeSotel’s first accident-free mile would be followed by 3,999,999 million more. In late 2010, DeSotel, a resident of Fairfax, Iowa, became just the third driver in company history to hit four million consecutive, accident-free miles.
Says DeSotel, “When I first hit one million miles, I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. But the closer I got to four million, I started thinking that would really be something! When I learned I hit that number, I felt so good. I told myself, ‘Mission accomplished!’”
DeSotel attributes his safety and success to several factors:
“I give myself plenty of time to get somewhere and always make sure I know where I am going. Accidents happen when you are in a hurry or get flustered. Prevent that from happening and you’ll prevent accidents.
I take a lot of pride in the truck and take good care of it. When you care about how the truck looks, you are more motivated to avoid hitting something.
I look a minimum of three times before completing any maneuver. Never assume anything!
I think one in every 10 people are probably having a bad day, so it’s important to have patience.”
DeSotel joined Schneider on the heels of leaving his supervisory position at Quaker Oats. He quickly grew to love his new life on the open road, but marvels at how different the world was at the onset of his career.
“The job was really tough back then,” he reflects. “There were more hand unloads, and when you were ready for a new load, you’d find a row of pay phones and keep one phone in each ear so you’d have a better chance of getting through. Even then, you’d often be on hold for 60 to 90 minutes. Drivers today can’t imagine what the life was like back then. The equipment today is so great that I tell people it’s like driving an orange Winnebago!”
However, DeSotel misses some aspects of the good ol’ days. “Compared to today, there was no congestion on the roadways. You could go to a truck stop, fuel up and let your truck sit at the pump while you ate dinner or took a shower. Today, you wait in line just to get to the pumps!”
DeSotel took a year hiatus from driving in 1979 when he attended flight school in Arizona. When he struggled to find open positions in aviation, he realized the road was where he belonged. “If you’re a good, safe driver, you never have to worry about not being able to find a job in this industry. You can move anywhere, live anywhere and find work.”
Not only did DeSotel keep on trucking from that point in his career on, but he stuck with Schneider the entire time. “I remember early on, Al Schneider told us that drivers were family members and needed quality time at home. It was unusual back then for a company to get you home often. But they did it then, and they do it now. I’m grateful for that, since it allows me time with my wife Linda and my four kids.”
In addition to plentiful time at home, DeSotel has appreciated the financial security that comes with working for the company. “During the most recent recession, I didn’t feel a squeeze because the miles were always there. Schneider does a lot of things right and they just keep getting better at it.”
Travel and yard work keep DeSotel busy during his free time, but he has no imminent plans to retire. “This whole country is a neighborhood for me,” he says. Yet whenever he does choose to call it a day, he knows he’ll have no regrets.
Schneider defines a safe mile as one that does not include a preventable accident. The company annually recognizes drivers who achieve significant milestones related to their number of miles and/or consecutive years of safe driving. Current Schneider driver Bob Wyatt joins DeSotel as the only two current company drivers who have racked up 4 million miles – all of them accident free. There are 31 individuals who have hit 3 million safe miles, 377 with 2 million safe miles and 1,425 1-million safe milers.
Those interested in following in the safety-conscious footsteps of these true professionals by becoming Schneider drivers can learn about opportunities and apply at www.schneiderjobs.com or by calling 1-800-44-PRIDE.
Con-way Truckload Announces Drivers of the Month
Con-way Truckload, a full truckload carrier and subsidiary of Con-way Inc. (NYSE: CNW), today announced the six winners of its Drivers of the Month recognition for the month of February.
“These drivers have all shown exemplary commitment to the highest levels of safety and service for our customers, and they couldn’t be more deserving of this honor,” said Saul Gonzalez, chief operating officer, Con-way Truckload. “We congratulate and thank them for their dedication and professionalism.”
The following drivers were recognized by the company:
•Company Driver of the Month: Ron Lichtle has been driving professionally for five years. Since joining Con-way Truckload in 2007, he has driven more than 530,000 miles. Ron resides in Rochester Hills, Mich., with his wife of more than 40 years, Colleen.
•Company Team of the Month: Steve Hutto and Robert Sloan joined Con-way Truckload in 2009 and have since driven more than 386,000 miles. Steve has been driving professionally for seven years, while Robert has been driving professionally for two years. Steve resides in Oxford, Fla. In his spare time, Steve enjoys spending time with his sons and working around his home. Robert resides in Lutz, Fla., and enjoys riding motorcycles in his spare time.
•Owner-Operator Driver of the Month: Mike Goucher has been driving professionally for more than 39 years. Since joining Con-way Truckload in 1981, he has driven more than 2.4 million miles. Mike resides in Jasper, Mo., with his wife, Sharon. The couple has two children and two grandchildren. When not on the road, Mike enjoys hunting and archery.
•Owner-Operator Team of the Month: Alvin and Irmgard Price have driven more than 1.9 million miles together with Con-way Truckload. Alvin has been driving professionally for 18 years and joined Con-way Truckload in 1997. Irmgard has been driving professionally for four years, joining Con-way Truckload in 2006. The couple resides in Belton, Texas. In their spare time, they enjoy watching movies and traveling in their RV.
For more about Con-way Truckload, visit us on the Web at www.con-way.com/truckload or call (800) 641-4747. You can also follow Con-way Truckload on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Con_way_.
Ten YRC Worldwide Drivers Reach Safety Milestone of Four-Million Accident-Free Miles
YRC Worldwide Inc. (Nasdaq: YRCW) is proud to announce that 10 of its active professional drivers have surpassed four million miles of accident-free driving. All 10 drivers are with YRC, the largest subsidiary of YRC Worldwide. The drivers are:
• Danny Ambrose, Tuttle, Okla.
• Joe Brown, Memphis, Tenn.
• Dennis Caldwell, Altoona, Iowa
• Horace Crouch, Newark, Texas
• Bobby Elrod, Chickamauga, Ga.
• Royal Lincoln, Montgomery, Ill.
• Thomas McClain, Toledo, Ohio
• Paul Russell, Memphis, Tenn.
• Robert Seeman, Lake Park, Ga.
• Richard Shreiner, Manheim, Pa.
“Most American passenger vehicles log about 12,000 miles a year,” said Mike Smid, president-YRC Inc. and chief operations officer-YRC Worldwide. “Each of these gentlemen drives nine to 10 times that much every year, over careers that span 30 to 40 years, all without preventable accidents.”
YRC Worldwide emphasizes safety in the workplace and on the road. Its Million Mile Award Program recognizes drivers who achieve significant driving milestones without preventable accidents. Currently, the company has nearly 2,500 active drivers with one million miles or more; nearly 600 drivers who have achieved two million miles or more; over 70 drivers with three million miles or more; and one driver with over five million miles of accident-free driving. Driving one million miles is equivalent to about two round trips to the moon.
“Thousands of drivers have chosen to make a professional career at YRC and these million milers are great representatives of the YRC team,” adds Smid. “We strive to create a rewarding work environment that helps our drivers deliver on safety. These drivers are leaders in highway safety and customer service and have delivered on that commitment mile after mile, year after year.” Please visit www.yrcw.com for more information.
USA Truck, Inc. Sets The President’s Million Mile Club Celebration
USA Truck, Inc. (NASDAQ: USAK) is celebrating The President’s Million Mile Club with an awards ceremony and banquet set for April 9, 2011 at the Holiday Inn City Center in Fort Smith, AR. The President’s Million Mile Club is designed to recognize the achievements of drivers who have reached various safe-driving milestones.
USA Truck recognized 123 drivers who have accumulated an aggregate total of approximately 198 million safe-driving miles. The event also highlighted the achievements of 20 new inductees who have reached one million safe-driving miles, 23 drivers who have now achieved over two million accident free miles, four drivers who have driven over three million safe miles and one driver who has driven over four million safe miles.