Trucker of the Month

Jill Dunn | November 02, 2010

As for safety, Davis credits concentration behind the wheel, maintaining distance from other vehicles and keeping up on safety information. He’s proven his dependability at Ohio-based Ace Doran & Rigging, where he’s been leased since 1980 and often hauls steel or bricks on his 2005 Ravens flatbed. Terminal manager Terry Erny described him to the Ohio Trucking Association, which voted Davis 2001 Driver of the Year, as “the most purposed owner-operator I have ever encountered.”

Davis recalls that during the ‘60s and ‘70s, when he was leased to three other carriers, truck stops usually had communal showers, where wallet theft was not uncommon. Calling his family meant finding a pay phone and often waiting to use it.

“I was lost all the time,” he says. “I didn’t know anybody, and it was pretty lonely out there. It took a year to get comfortable on how to get in and out of the mills.”

His baptism-by-fire start might be part of his motivation to help other truckers. Fellow leased Ace Doran operator Lance Weaver described Davis’ mentoring when he nominated him last year for Truckload Carriers Association Owner-Operator of the Year.

“There are so many dynamic aspects involved with trucking and many hard lessons to be learned,” Weaver said. “Fortunately for me, I became acquainted with Mike Davis early in my career.” Davis gave him tips in routing, securement and finances. Weaver followed his mentor’s meticulous habits and saved significant time and money.

Daniel Doran, Ace Doran president, noted Davis’ claim-free company record in his TCA nomination letter. “He is known and respected for his honesty, integrity and hard work,” Doran said.

When he needs a good break from that hard work, he takes annual vacations with Shirley, his wife of 41 years, who keeps his books and bakes part-time for local schools. They especially enjoy San Francisco and Lake Tahoe.

Davis says he expects to retire in a year or two, then do truck repair and maintenance part time at his garage.

Trucking’s freedom and travel have kept him happy on the job, as does the enjoyment of a job well done. “I like to do something and get it over with,” he says. “It’s a tremendous accomplishment. I can put a period after it.”

Mike Davis

1941: Born July 15.

Davis became an owner-operator in 1967 when he bought this new Ford F1000. Lacking a bunk, he slept on the seat.

1959: Graduated from Coshocton High School.

1963: Began as a company driver.

1967: Became an owner-operator.

1969: Bought a garage to service equipment.

1969: Married hometown girlfriend Shirley Crowthers.

1970: Began building stock cars and racing them.

1970-73: Daughters Jami and Jodi were born.

2001: Named Ohio Trucking Association Driver of the Year.

2006: Named National Safety Council’s Joseph M. Kaplan Safe Driver of the Year.

2007: Named Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association Driver of the Year.

Trucker trivia

DAVIS HAS INVESTED in mutual funds and stocks since 1980. He’s often listened to financial radio programs, including Bob Brinker’s “MoneyTalk” and averaged better than a 6 percent annual return on his investment. “Research is a lot of work,” Davis says. “Many don’t have the stomach for it.”

DURING THE VIETNAM WAR, Davis hauled a load of steel bombs from York, Pa., to a Crane, Ind., military installation. The empty bombs were free of gunpowder, but covered with a tarp to avoid alarming motorists. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.