Nominations are due soon for the 2018 Mike O’Connell Trucking’s Top Rookie Award presented by Truckers News, published by Overdrive publisher Randall-Reilly.
Nominations are due by 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, June 29.
Ten finalists will be named July 30, and 2018’s top rookie will be announced Aug. 24 at the Great American Truck Show in Dallas.
The winner receives $10,000 in cash and a variety of merchandise prizes, and runners up each receive $1,000 and a prize package.
Partnering with Truckers News in the search are the three national organizations overseeing truck driver training: the Commercial Vehicle Training Association, the National Association Of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools, and the Professional Truck Driver Institute.
Recognizing the top rookie driver was the idea of the late Mike O’Connell, who was formerly the executive director of CVTA. He believed that honoring a top rookie driver helped show new drivers they are appreciated by the trucking industry.
So, eight years ago, Randall-Reilly, parent company of Truckers News, pursued that suggestion, and today the Trucking’s Top Rookie contest focuses attention on the professionalism of drivers in the industry for less than a year. It also promotes truck driving as a viable career choice during a time when there is a shortage of drivers.
“Identifying and recognizing the best new professional truck drivers with this award is one way to help focus attention on the American trucking industry’s continuing efforts to attract, train and retain top talent for a vitally important job,” said David Hollis, editor of Truckers News. “The Mike O’Connell Trucking’s Top Rookie Award helps underscore truck driving as an important career option for men and women joining the workforce or for veteran employees looking to make a career change.”
Any CDL holder who has graduated from a PTDI-certified or a NAPFTDS or CVTA member driver training school within the past year and has been employed by a trucking company for less than one year is eligible for the award.
An expert panel of judges, which includes representatives from motor carriers, schools (both public and private), suppliers and trade associations, will identify 10 finalists. Among the criteria those judges will consider when choosing 2018’s Trucking’s Top Rookie are:
- Availability for loads
- On time delivery
- Highway safety performance
- Customer relations
- Work record
- Non-job related activities