For Immediate Release
May 11, 2004
For Information Contact:
Gary Petty, NPTC
NPTC Inducts Four Drivers Into Hall of Fame
Alexandria, VA – Four truck drivers who have logged more than a combined 11.7 million miles of safe driving were honored by the National Private Truck Council (NPTC) and inducted into the NPTC – Bridgestone/Firestone Driver Hall of Fame, May 4, 2004, at NPTC's Annual Education Management Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
For the first time since it was established in 1987 a woman was inducted into the prestigious Driver Hall of Fame. The drivers are from NPTC member companies and have met the minimum qualifications of 20 years, 2 million miles or 50,000 hours of driving without a preventable accident. Many of the drivers have far exceeded these qualifications and are known for having made significant contributions to their industry and their communities. This year's Hall of Fame inductees are:
Dennis K. Ceshker
Wispak Transport Inc., Milwaukee, WI
Dennis Ceshker loads up his T-2000 Kenworth and hits the road, traveling from Milwaukee to all points east. He hauls refrigerated food products and unloads, sorts and double-checks each drop. Dennis makes sure he's right there each time he's being reloaded. Dennis graduated from a diesel truck driving school and has driven 2.8 million accident-free miles over his 32 years on the road. Wispak Transport has recognized Dennis with its annual safe driving award. He's also pulled in the company's one million and two million mile safe driving awards. Thinking back over all those miles brought one particular experience to mind. It was the winter of 1978 or 1979, and Dennis and his wife left Milwaukee and got as far as a tiny town in Indiana, when a winter storm hit. They sat from Tuesday night until Sunday morning in his K100 Cabover Single Bunk. A nearby restaurant ran out of food, so Dennis and the other drivers took some of the food they were hauling and gave it to the restaurant. One of the drivers used to be a short-order cook, so he took over to give the cook on duty a break and the women pitched in as waitresses to help out!
Dennis thanks his wife Mary for taking care of things at home while he's out on the road. Dennis is involved with his church, an active supporter of the local high school wrestling program, and enjoys hunting and golf in his spare time. To future truckers he says, “don't give up at the first roadblock; just maintain your attitude of excellence!”
Ferdinand J. George
BOC, Gonzales, LA
Ferdinand George got his driver training in 1960 from his neighbor, a private fleet owner/operator. Since then he's driven 4 million miles over 45 years in what can only be described as a “distinguished” career. Right now his daily run is through the southern states of Louisiana and Mississippi. Most days on the road are 13-14 hours long. Ferdinand's daily route is 445 miles round trip.
He protects his sensitive cargo, 25 tons of liquid nitrogen that is stored at 320 degrees below zero, during one of his biggest challenges: the morning and afternoon traffic in New Orleans. Many of the rules, regulations and safety checks have become more stringent since September 11th. Ferdinand incorporates the Smith System into his daily routine, as well as the safety training his company provides. Ferdinand says he's proud of reaching the one, two and three million-mile markers of safe tractor-trailer operation and transportation of cryogenics.
In order to stay focused on his long day Ferdinand follows a rigid routine that includes plenty of rest and a proper diet. He credits his wife Mary with helping him keep to his schedule and for intercepting late callers or visitors once he's gone to bed. Ferdinand spends his free time fishing and traveling with his wife and is always available to help train drivers for the local Fire Departments. He offers plenty of advice for people thinking of becoming a professional truck driver. “Get certified training to make sure you follow all of the safety rules and regulations. And, most importantly, stay focused.”
Cathy Ann Henry
ConAgra Foods/Lamb-Weston, Inc., Quincy, WA
Cathy Henry's career in transportation started in 1980 when she began driving a ten-wheeled potato truck. Her teachers? Her father and her husband John. She says learning to drive large trucks came naturally to her. Over her 24 years, Cathy has driven 1.6 million miles with no accidents or moving violations. She currently drives a 2003 Freightliner in the Columbia Plateau region. One of the largest lava plateaus in the world, it has trench-like, dry canyons, and the weather there is very unpredictable.
The four seasons truly test Cathy's driving skills, especially summers. They're hot and dry, perfect weather for blowouts and overheated engines. Cathy has been involved in several courses and self-improvement efforts to broaden her knowledge on driver safety. To stay safe, Cathy follows a few simple rules of the road. The single most important thing she's learned is to be aware of potential problems in the roadway ahead. To do that, she says the key to her safe driving record is operating her truck at a speed that allows for time to compensate for hazards and react safely.
Cathy has taken part in the company's annual Truck Rodeo where she has placed in the top 10 for the five years she has participated. Cathy strives for perfection and takes her CDL seriously. She believes that it is important to be courteous to other drivers and maintain professionalism at all times. As a woman in the male-dominated transportation field, Cathy feels that she's had to do her job better than many of her co-workers. Cathy says the highlight of her career is getting into the Driver Hall of Fame.
Edgar A. Mincy
Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Hampton, VA
Edgar Mincy graduated from a professional driving school in 1970 and since then has driven 3.3 million accident free miles over a 34-year career. His week starts at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday when he and his partner meet at the home terminal in Newport News, Virginia and find out where they're going and what they're pulling. It could be anything from general merchandise, health and beauty aids, hazmat materials, furniture * outdoors and indoors, to auto parts and cars. Edgar makes his deliveries to stores on military installations, or to one of the distribution centers in Texas, Georgia or California. He also delivers trailers to several switch-points.
He regularly checks traffic and weather reports on XM radio to stay focused and aware of what is happening around him and where he's going. His routes require him to drive in all sorts of weather, traffic and terrain. Edgar says safety comes first; he never lets anyone or anything stop him from operating his vehicle in a safe manner. Besides getting into the Driver Hall of Fame, Edgar received a 31-year safe driving certificate from the National Safety Council and was named the 2003 AAFES Driver of the Year. He's also a member of the three million-mile club.
In order to stay fit both physically and mentally, Edgar walks as much as possible, takes advantage of healthy eating establishments, and makes sure he communicates with his wife Darlene every day. He tells young people that might be considering a professional driving career that it takes dedication * and takes you away from your family for long periods of time. But, it can be rewarding career as long as you maintain the skills, patience and commitment to safety to get the job done.
NPTC is the only national trade association exclusively representing the interests of corporate and business truck fleet managers. Through NPTC, both fleet and allied members come together to share information that enables them to meet the demands of changing business, safety and regulatory issues as well as competitive challenges. NPTC and its members are working together to shape the future of the private fleet industry.