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May 2024

NPTC Honors Top Drivers

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 | | 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.

Driver Hall of Fame honors four drivers from the private fleet industry

SPONSORED FOR MANY years by International Truck, the NPTC Driver Hall of Fame program honors four top drivers each year from the private fleet industry. This prestigious recognition occurs at a special induction ceremony at the NPTC Annual Education Conference & Exhibition.

“We are pleased to recognize these elite professionals as among the top drivers on the road today,” said newly elected NPTC Board Chair David Barth, CTP, transportation operations manager at Wegmans Food Market.

Charles Babcock, Shaw Industries Group
Charles Babcock traces his driving history back to his early years, sitting on his grandfather’s lap in his pickup truck on the open road. After completing a two-year tour of duty in the U.S. Navy, he began his commercial driving career at the helm of a single-axle dump truck, working for Randy’s Roofing. His passion for driving and challenges has remained unwavering. For him, it’s more than just a means of transportation. It’s a gateway to freedom and independence.

After eight years working for various commercial movers and motor carriers, Shaw Industries Group hired him, and he has achieved 3.3 million miles over the last 30 years. During Babcock’s 40-year truck driving career, he has driven 3.7 million miles without any preventable accidents, injuries, or moving violations.

Kirk Phillips, Johnsonville Trucking
Kirk Phillips started with Johnsonville Trucking in 1981. Before that, he was a mechanic who worked on Johnsonville’s trucks. Phillips was hired at Johnsonville to work in the plant. On his fourth day, knowing that Phillips had a chauffeur’s license, he was asked to move some product down to Milwaukee.

From there, he was hooked on driving. A typical week for Phillips is five 10-hour days. He averages about 2,300 miles and eight to 10 deliveries weekly.

In 1995, to celebrate Johnsonville’s 50th anniversary, the Big Taste Grill was put on the road, and Phillips was the sole driver for about 2.5 years, hauling the 45-foot grill and cold storage unit to community and sporting events as well as relief efforts.

Carl Russell, New South Express
Carl Russell began his career behind the wheel in 1980, running a tandem-axle dump truck. He learned as he went and started working with a construction company running equipment and semi-trucks. In 1992, Russell came to Robert Elliott Trucking based in Estill, South Carolina, which Canfor Southern Pine, the parent company of New South Express, subsequently acquired.

Over these last 30-plus years of learning the industry and developing safe driver habits, Russell has become a safe driver who is dependable and will help his team in any way possible. Today, he averages 2,000 miles per week driving in lower South Carolina. He is responsible for loading trailers, tarping loads, making safe deliveries, and sometimes completing yard work to make sure the mills can run. In his spare time, Russell volunteers as a firefighter in his home-town of Allendale County.

Stuart Shuck, John Deere, assigned by CPC Logistics
Stuart Shuck began his career in 1981, pulling a reefer trailer of swinging meat from the Midwest to both coasts and returning with produce. In 1984, he came to CPC for three years and was assigned to HON Industries to haul office furniture until the company went out of business. He returned to CPC in 1998, assigned to the John Deere account. Today, Shuck drives with his son, Stuart Jr. They run from Davenport, Iowa, to Huntsville, Alabama, averaging around 6,750 miles per week.

In 42 years behind the wheel, he has driven more than 5 million miles with no preventable accidents, injuries, or mov-ing violations. He attributes his safe driv-ing habits “to not being complacent and keeping an open mind. You are always learning something.”

Congratulations to these four professionals as this year’s NPTC/International Truck Driver Hall of Fame winners.

Left to right) Charles Babcock, Shaw Industries Group; Kirk Phillips, Johnsonville Trucking; Carl Russell, New South Express; and Stuart Shuck, John Deere, assigned by CPC Logistics. Photo: NPTC

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