A Star Behind the Wheel
Each month NPTC President and CEO Gary Petty writes a column in Fleet Owner magazine that focuses on the individuals, companies, best practices, and resources that make private trucking the force that it is in the American economy. Reaching more than 100,000 subscribers, three-quarters of whom are private fleet professionals, this column provides an excellent forum to communicate the value of the private fleet. Click here to view the archive.
Gary Petty | firstname.lastname@example.org | Private Fleet Editor for FleetOwner Magazine
Gary Petty has more than 30 years of experience as CEO of national trade associations in the trucking industry. He has been the president and CEO of the National Private Truck Council since 2001.
All-Stars exemplify what it means to be a private fleet truck driver.
In conjunction with its annual National Safety Conference, NPTC is pleased to recognize a unique group of some of the nation’s top private fleet drivers. They are recognized as such by being selected as an NPTC National Driver All-Star. The program, which is now in its fifth year, is sponsored by International Trucks/Navistar Inc.
Being an “All-Star” at this level places a driver in the top 1% of commercial truck drivers in America. This high honor is earned by those drivers who demonstrate the highest performance standards and who go well beyond the very important fundamentals of sound and safe truck driving practices. In this year’s class of winners, NPTC recognized 16 professional drivers.
Unlike some national, state and even many company-based driver rodeo competition programs that typically showcase truck driving operating skills at an exceptionally high level, the NPTC program scorecards the driver’s record for customer service, exceptional driving, compliance with specific company standards and practices, regulatory/safety compliance, professional appearance and personal comportment, and voluntary community service performed off-hours. The customer service component is especially important because the typical private fleet driver usually spends about one-third of the workday performing non-driving functions.
What makes these drivers so special? First and foremost, these individuals have the personal characteristics, professional skills, and attitudes that set them apart and give them the tools to deliver exceptional levels of customer service in an increasingly demanding and rigorous job.
Consider the example of “Pete” (not his real name) from this year’s class of Driver All-Stars. Pete was selected because he was the number-one rated driver for his company this year. He works 11-hour days making 10 to 12 customer stops. Most nights Pete is home for a late dinner and sleeps in his own bed. The job requires demanding physical work off-loading product from the truck into the customers’ stores. In nearly 30 years of service with the same private fleet company employer, he has driven 3-million-plus miles with no moving violations or accidents.
Customers love Pete. Not only is he calm, patient, friendly, humble, and eager to please, but he’s easy-going even when problems unexpectedly arise. Despite a demanding and stressful job, Pete is proud of being a truck driver. A person of faith with a high sense of duty, Pete goes to church with his family and teaches Sunday school. He volunteers for the blood drive in his community. On his own time, he traveled to communities that had been hard hit by tornadoes to help those in need. He serves as a Scout Master and helps his wife with her work in Girl Scouts. Pete and his wife of 30 years have served as foster parents to more than a dozen children over the past two decades.
Pete is a typical example of the NPTC National Driver All-Star winner. We are fortunate to have him—and many like him—as our “star behind the wheel.”