King of Maine
Ronald Round drives home safety skills with state championship
Growing up in Enfield, Maine, while watching his cousin handle a big rig, Ronald Round decided he’d probably end up in the trucking industry, too, he says. “I’ve always had it in the back of my head that I’d like to drive a tractor.”
Round started driving full-time in 1988, when he found a hauling job at contracting company Sheridan Smith. He learned how to drive on a Mack dump truck before he received his first tractor, a 1984 L900 Ford.
Today, living only 200 yards from the house where he was raised, Round is employed by Pottle’s Transportation, a carrier based in Bangor, Maine.
During his 23 years as a driver, Round has piled up more than 1.6 million accident-free miles. In 2010, he won the Maine State Truck Driving Championship and placed fourth while representing Maine in the national competition.
“That was probably one of my most memorable moments,” Round says. “I’ve been competing every year since 2001, and I finally pulled through and won it this year.”
Round attributes some of his safe-driving accomplishments to his fervor to win the annual championship, but he also gives credit to learning safe-driving habits early in his career. “If you work hard to develop safe habits, safety will come a lot easier to you,” he says. “It just becomes second nature.”
He also encourages new drivers to stay focused on all surrounding drivers.
“Never underestimate the other driver, because you never know what they’re going to do,” Round says. “Always stay cautious of the people around you. I’ve seen people do some pretty stupid things.”
Round hauls paper and water products locally around Maine. He says he’s been able to stick with his career for more than two decades because he loves traveling.
“I love the change of scenery,” he says. “You’re not blocked into a cubicle looking at the same four walls all the time.”
During his driving career, Round has volunteered for charity events like Convoy for Kids and Trek Across Maine.
Post-trucking, Round says he wants to do more traveling. “As if I don’t do enough traveling as it is,” he says.
Q & A
TN: What’s one thing you always carry with you in your truck on the road?
RR: Always carry a satellite radio. I’d be lost without it. I bought one just to try it, and I got addicted to it and now I can’t stand not having it.
TN: What advice would you give younger drivers?
RR: Never underestimate what the guy next to you is going to do, because you don’t know what’s going through his mind.
TN: What do you do in your free time?
RR: I love to ride my motorcycle.
Editor’s note: Ronald Round is a finalist in the 2011 Company Driver of the Year contest, sponsored by Cummins Engines and Ram, and produced by Truckers News and the Truckload Carriers Association. The winner, to be announced at TCA’s annual convention March 4-7, 2012, in Orlando, Fla., will win a Cummins-powered Ram pickup.
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