12 finalists named for military veteran rookie trucker award

Transition Trucking Kenworth T680
The winner of the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence program will receive a brand-new Kenworth T680, equipped with a 76-inch sleeper and the complete Paccar Powertrain.

After receiving entries from a record number of nominators, Fastport recently announced the 12 finalists for its “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” award, which recognizes America’s top rookie military veteran driver.

Fastport has teamed up with Kenworth, the American Trucking Associations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring our Heroes Program to support the program.

Under the recognition program, Kenworth will provide the top award for the seventh consecutive year. For the first time, that award is a Kenworth T680 Next Generation, equipped with a 76-inch sleeper and the complete Paccar Powertrain featuring the Paccar MX-13 engine, Paccar TX-12 automated transmission, and Paccar DX-40 tandem rear axles.

The 12 finalists for the award, along with their branch of service and current employer, are:

  • Sean Adams, U.S. Navy, McElroy Truck Lines
  • Jason Van Boxtel, U.S. Marines, Veriha Trucking
  • Alexander Brandt, U.S. Army, Hirschbach Motor Lines
  • Cale Jensen, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army, G. Dubbels Trucking
  • Ashley Leiva, U.S. Army, Draco Energy/Noemi Trucking
  • Paul Gouker, U.S. Army and National Guard, Stevens Transport
  • Dave Marihugh, U.S. Navy, Roehl Transport
  • Chris McDowell, U.S. Army and National Guard, Epes Transport
  • Joe Nyenatee, U.S. Army, Melton Truck Lines
  • Talon Rogers, U.S. Army, CRST 
  • Justin Silk, U.S. Army, Paschall Truck Lines
  • Michael D. Thomas, U.S. Marines, Prime Inc. 

Drivers were nominated by trucking companies that made a hiring commitment and pledge to hire veterans, members of the National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools (NAPFTDS), or Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA) member school.  

The top driver will be determined by an expert panel of judges.

The Top 12 will receive recognition for both their military and civilian accomplishments at the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence Salute dinner on Sept. 22 in the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus, Ohio. On Sept. 23, the finalists will tour the Kenworth Chillicothe manufacturing plant. The Top 3 announcement will follow at the nearby MHC RoadReady Center in Chillicothe. The final winner will be announced on Dec. 16 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in Washington, D.C. 

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