CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — During a ceremony in Chillicothe, Ohio, recently, Fastport announced the finalists for the 8th annual “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” award.
The award program is dedicated to finding America’s top rookie military veteran driver through a rigorous nomination, selection committee and public voting process, according to a news release.
The 2023 finalists, in alphabetical order by last name, are: Todd Kraus, U.S. Army, Werner Enterprises; Brandon Meredith, U.S. Army, Slay Transport; Ondrae Meyers, U.S. Marines, CRST; Jessica White, U.S. Army, Stevens Transport; and LaTravis Wilcox, U.S. Marines, Prime Inc.
The program recognizes top drivers who have made the successful transition from active duty to driving for a commercial fleet.
“Each of our semi-finalists are accomplished veterans driving positive change as professional truck drivers and this is especially true for the finalists representing their newly adopted industry. Moving past military-friendly, this Veteran-ready industry is providing a key avenue to bring in a great new generation of trucking talent like these inspiring individuals,” said Brad Bentley, FASTPORT president.
All 17 semi-finalists traveled to Columbus and Chillicothe, Ohio, to be recognized as the trucking industry’s top emerging talent. During the trip, the semi-finalists visited the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus, appeared on the Dave Nemo Show with Jimmy Mac on Road Dog Trucking Radio live from the MHC RoadReady Center in Chillicothe and received an in-depth 90-minute tour of the Kenworth Chillicothe manufacturing plant.
“The five finalists for the 2023 Transition Trucking award have drawn on the skills they developed in the military and quickly translated those skills into success in an industry that allows them to play a vital role for American businesses,” said Eric Eversole, a vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and president of Hiring Our Heroes.
In recognition of Kenworth’s 100th anniversary, this year’s award is the T680 Signature Edition truck, equipped with a 76-inch sleeper and the PACCAR Powertrain featuring the PACCAR MX-13 engine rated at 455 horsepower, PACCAR TX-12 automated transmission and PACCAR DX-40 tandem rear axles.
The first runner-up will receive a $10,000 prize and the remaining finalists will receive $5,000 each.
“It was an honor to meet and recognize the 17 driver semi-finalists in Columbus and host them at our Kenworth Chillicothe manufacturing plant where the grand prize T680 Signature Edition truck was made,” said Kyle Kimball, Kenworth director of marketing. “Kenworth is proud to participate in the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence program, and we look forward to awarding the T680 to this year’s winner, a deserving veteran entering the trucking industry.”
A popular vote will take place online from Nov. 1 until Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11.
The winner will be determined by a Selection Committee and announced on December 15th at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit transitiontrucking.org.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.