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 | email@example.com | 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.
Award and recognition for America’s top private fleet drivers.
“Growing up on a 300-acre farm in Pennsylvania, I watched my dad operate trucks all the time. In addition to working the farm, Dad owned a tractor-trailer and hauled coal and later cement,” says driver Niles Frantz, who last fall was recognized as an NPTC National Driver All-Star. “I rode along with my dad starting when I was 12 and began working full-time as a truck driver in 1972. He was the hardest-working man I’ve ever known and the best role model I could ever have. I could not imagine doing anything but follow in my dad’s footsteps.”
Bob Boyich, CTP, executive vice president of CPC Logistics Inc. and board member of the NPTC Institute Board of Governors, says that Niles is one of CPC’s very best, safe and most dependable drivers among more than 3,700 employed nationwide by the company.
“Niles has been employed for the past 25 years by CPC Logistics assigned exclusively to Walgreens, where he has logged more than 3 million reportable accident-free miles and moving violation-free service,” Boyich says. “Niles has been honored as our Driver of the Month three times and as Driver of the Year a few years ago. He is now recognized in the NPTC National Driver All-Star program.”
In the past couple of years, several dozen top drivers from CPC Logistics have also been honored as All-Star winners.
The NPTC National Driver All-Star program was founded several years ago as a national award and recognition program to complement well-established national and state trucking association-sponsored driver rodeo programs, or in-house rodeos conducted at the company level, which typically showcase truck driving operating skills at an exceptionally high level. The NPTC National Driver All-Star award program, co-sponsored by NPTC and International Truck/Navistar Inc., is custom-tailored to the private fleet sector to include the entire range of a driver’s skill set, including safe operating skills.
These prestigious awards are presented annually to some of the very top truck drivers in America who have demonstrated high performance standards in service to companies that operate private fleets based on their exemplary service and documented record of excellence. The areas measured for particular attention are customer service, safety adherence to company standards and protocols, regulatory compliance, and community service. The customer service component of this award is especially significant because many private fleet drivers spend up to one-third or more of their on-duty time performing non-driving functions—often at delivery locations dealing directly with customers.
Drivers selected for National All-Star recognition attend a special awards and recognition ceremony each fall as part of NPTC’s National Safety Conference.
“I felt very honored to attend and be recognized,” says Frantz, who typically works 10 to 11 hours and drives 500 mi. a day for Walgreens. “Today, being a driver is a lot tougher because of inattentive drivers on the road and delays caused by congestion.”
Since Frantz starting driving trucks for a living, he has seen many changes; for example, the Interstate Highway System has been completed, truck technology has improved greatly, and onboard computers help make truck driving easier. Some things haven’t changed, however, like the way he views safety. “Being safe every day is pretty much up to me. That’s what my dad taught me, and I try hard to live up to that message every day,” Frantz says.
Frantz attributes his excellent safety record to a good attitude. “Traffic backups and drivers cutting in front of me are just facts of life. I expect that to happen, and I am prepared to handle it,” he says. “I just don’t let these things bother me. Despite the challenges, I still enjoy driving every day and could not feel more fortunate to be working for Walgreens as a team member of CPC Logistics.”