In accepting the National Tank Truck Carriers Professional Driver of the Year award James Starr said safety is the most important job a driver has

In accepting the National Tank Truck Carriers Professional Driver of the Year award, James Starr said safety is the most important job a driver has.

Groendyke Transport’s James Starr named first NTTC Driver of the Year

JAMES Starr, a certified driver instructor based at Groendyke Transport Inc’s Wichita, Kansas, terminal, was the inaugural Grand Champion of National Tank Truck Carriers’ new William A Usher Sr NTTC Professional Tank Truck Driver of the Year. The award was presented April 28 during NTTC’s 66th Annual Conference & Exhibits in Las Vegas, Nevada.

During Starr’s 42 years as a truck driver, he has accumulated 3,498,124 accident-free miles while behind the wheel of a tanker rig. In addition to his duties as a certified driver instructor, Starr was a three-time winner of Groendyke Transport’s President’s Club award and was a winner of the 1987 Terminal Efficiency Award.

“Grand Champion James Starr represents the constant vigilance and dedication to safety that is embodied in the NTTC mission statement, said Jim Shaeffer, NTTC executive committee chairman. “All eight finalists are authentic safety experts and represent the very best of our industry. I had the privilege to meet Jim Starr earlier this year, and I am confident that he will be a tremendous safety ambassador for the NTTC. Our new program also complements our recent investment in the Trucking Moves America Forward initiative ( and furthers our focus on safety and success in the tank truck industry.”

During his acceptance, Starr said it was truly inspirational to be standing on a stage with his fellow finalists. “I’m glad I met all of you,” he said. “I love this industry and the importance it places on safety.”

Driver finalists

Starr was one of eight finalists who earned the trip to Las Vegas for the award presentation. The other finalists included:

Allen Blair, a driver with Miller Transporters Inc in Petal, Mississippi, with 3,100,000 accident-free miles over 38 years. The 2011 XL Insurance Driver of the Year, Blair mentors new drivers on safety and service as they begin their careers at Miller Transporters.

Robert Coverson, Dupré Logistics LLC in Missouri City, Texas. During 38 years and 3,000,000 accident-free miles of truck driving, he has earned a Green Fleet Elite pin and 24 individual safety performance awards. He serves on Dupré Logistics’ driver training team and accident review board.

James Starr [third from right] was one of eight champions selected to compete for the new National Tank Truck Carriers Professional Driver of the Year award. Employed by Groendyke Transport Inc, Starr is a 42-year trucking veteran.

Ronald Evans, Liquid Cargo Inc in Crown Point, Indiana. Over 16 years, he has compiled 2,000,000 accident-free miles as a tank truck driver. Evans is involved in training new and experienced drivers, helping them become more familiar with the specialized equipment and proper loading and unloading procedures.

Ronald Hawkins Jr, based in Perrysburg, Ohio, for K-Limited Carrier Ltd. With 30 years and 2,000,000 accident-free miles of truck driving experience under his belt, Hawkins was an American Trucking Associations America’s Road Team Captain in 2009-2010. He serves as head certified driver trainer and certified Smith System instructor for K-Limited and conducts No-Zone demonstrations for the Toledo OH Trucking Association and the Ohio Trucking Association.

Benjamin Robbins Jr, a driver for Quality Distribution Inc based in Salem, New Jersey. A member of Quality Carriers’ High Mile Driver Club, Robbins has accumulated 4,000,000 accident-free miles over 56 years of truck driving. He trains new drivers and conducts driver road tests.

Robert Stevens, a McKenzie Tank Lines Inc driver based in Panama City, Florida. With 38 years and 4,000,000 accident-free miles of truck driving, Stevens was a winner of the President’s Club Award at C W Matthews and multiple safety awards. He currently serves on the Lead Driver Training program at McKenzie Tank Lines.

Robert Weller, a Hahn Transportation Inc driver based in Monrovia, Maryland. A member of the ATA America’s Road Team in 2011-2012 and Maryland’s First Road Team, Weller has acumulated 3,300,000 accident-free miles over 39 years. Awards include ECS Driver of the Year, a first place in Hahn Transportation’s Rodeo and second at the Maryland State Rodeo. He is involved in new driver and hazardous materials training at Hahn Transportation.

The NTTC Professional Tank Truck Driver of the year program is sponsored by Baldwin & Lyons Inc, a specialist in marketing and underwriting insurance for the transportation industry. The Grand Champion represented the NTTC at this year’s Indy 500, served as featured speaker at NTTC’s annual safety conference in San Antonio, Texas, and designated a $2,500 charitable gift to St Jude.     ♦

More NTTC coverage

More NTTC coverage

Find the NTTC Annual Conference Report archive with articles from 2011 to present


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