ROBERT Weller was the 2015 recipient of National Tank Truck Carriers’ William A Usher Sr Professional Tank Truck Driver of the Year. He was honored at an award breakfast April 27 during the NTTC’s 67th Annual Conference in Boston, Massachusetts.
Weller, a 40-year veteran driver at Hahn Transportation Inc in New Market, Maryland, has more than 3.4 million accident-free miles on the road. He was a finalist for the Professional Tank Truck Driver of the Year Award in 2014, the inaugural year for the program.
“Grand Champion Robert Weller represents the very best of our industry, and I am confident he will be a tremendous safety representative for the NTTC,” said Dean Kaplan, NTTC executive committee chairman and K-Limited Carrier Ltd chief executive officer.
In his award acceptance, Weller said: “This is truly an honor,” he said during the presentation ceremony. “I never thought anything like this would happen to me. It is an honor to stand with the other drivers on this stage. I realize I didn’t get here by myself. I had a support team in my family and my second family at Hahn Transportation. These people shared their knowledge with me. Barbara Windsor (president of Hahn Transportation) always ended every discussion with “be safe.”
In an interview with Bulk Transporter, Weller added: “It was a tremendous honor for a driver like me from a small carrier to be selected for this award. Driving a truck has been a wonderful career. This is a great job, and one to be proud of. We need to tell our youth that the trucking industry offers a lot of opportunity. We also need to reach out to ex-military.”
Weller has received numerous company and industry driving and safety awards including Maryland Motor Truck Association Driver of the Year (2012), and he was an American Trucking Associations Road Team Captain. He has served as a new driver trainer and safety review board member at Hahn Transportation, trainer with the Maryland State Police hazmat division, and has worked extensively with the local volunteer fire department.
Weller was selected from among eight finalists, including:
Olin Banks Jr, a driver with Florida Rock & Tank Lines Inc in Albany, Georgia. With 4.6 million miles of accident-free driving over the past 42 years, he is a recipient of 30 consecutive Annual Safe Driving Awards, 10-year, 20-year, and 30-year milestones. He was the 1993 Georgia Motor Trucking Association Driver of the Year. He is a driver trainer and has participated in more than 360 monthly safety training sessions.
Charles Carmin, Ruan Transport Corporation, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Over the course of 30 years and three million accident-free miles, he was named the 2013 Ruan Driver of the Year and earned Ruan’s Million Mile Safe Driving Award and 10-year Safe Driving Award. He is a Ruan terminal safety and mega safe 7 instructor and is an active community volunteer.
William Harrison, a K-Limited Carrier Ltd, Toledo, Ohio, driver with 27 years on the road and 2.2 million accident-free miles. Recognized with K-Limited’s “Rising Star” and “High Hours” honors, he was a 2011 Ohio Trucking Association Driver of the
Year finalist and 2013 Truck Driving Championship 12th place finisher. A driver trainer, he is the Cincinnati (Ohio) terminal lead driver and maintenance liason. Community service includes working with Families with ASD, an autism support group.
Rich Offord, an LCL Bulk Transport driver based in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, has 40 years of truck driving experience and has accumulated 2.5 million accident-free miles. He has earned a two million miles award and multiple safety honors. He is a driver trainer, safety supervisor, and hazmat trainer. Community service includes little league basketball and numerous church activities.
Robert Stevens, McKenzie Tank Lines Inc, Panama City, Florida, has driven for 39 years and has 4.5 million accident-free miles under his belt. In addition to earning various safety awards, he is a driver trainer at McKenzie Tank Lines and serves on the driver recruiting and retention panel. Community service includes supporting local dog shelters, volunteer work to feed the elderly and homeless, karate instructor, and Boy Scouts of America leadership.
John Thurman, United Petroleum Transports, Tulsa Oklahoma, has 30 years of truck driving experience, 400,000 miles of it accident free. Numerous company and industry honors include Oklahoma State Trucking Association Driver of the Year in 2013. He is a certified safety trainer, and works with the Young Marine program.
Donald Tomberlin, Miller Transporters Inc, Jackson, Mississippi. His 36 years of trucking include 3.5 million miles of accident-free driving. He has earned multiple safe driving awards. He is a driver trainer and mentor on safety, service, and procedural topics. He has served as superintendent of Sunday School at Ephesus Church of God.
The NTTC Professional Truck Driver of the Year program is sponsored by Baldwin & Lyons Inc, a specialist in marketing and underwriting insurance for the transportation industry. This year’s Grand Champion served as a featured speaker at NTTC’s annual safety conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, and designated a $2,500 charitable gift to the Patty Pollatos Fund Inc, a cancer fund established in memory of a personal friend. ♦
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