Groendyke Transport truck driver Rodney McNew, and Jacobson Transport and Cliff Viessman driver Gary Schmidt are two of the 36 finalists for the American Trucking Associations’ 2024-25 America’s Road Team.
“These men and women were selected as finalists for America’s Road Team because they have outstanding safe driving records, share a passion for the trucking industry, and are role models among their peers,” Chris Spear, ATA president and CEO, said in a news release. “We owe these professional drivers our gratitude.
“Without them, the American economy would come to a halt.”
ATA created the Volvo-sponsored Road Team in 1986 to represent the trucking industry. Captains dedicate a few days each month to attend industry events, speak at schools, or meet policymakers on behalf of the trucking industry.
The 36 finalists advance to the final round of the selection process, which will be held in January in Washington. A panel of evaluators will judge the contenders on their knowledge of the trucking industry, dedication to safety, ability to communicate the industry’s messages, and overall safe driving record, ATA indicated. This year’s finalists—with a combined 81 million safe-driving miles and 1,035 years as professional truck drivers—are highway safety experts eager to share their experiences with the motoring public.
ATA will reveal the newly chosen 2024-25 America’s Road Team on Jan. 16 after a ceremony at the association’s Washington D.C. headquarters.
“Being named a finalist for America’s Road Team is a major achievement for professional truck drivers and ATA congratulates each of them for this accomplishment,” said ATA COO Sarah Rajtik. “America’s Road Team will continue to serve as a voice for the industry, which benefits from their professionalism, dedication, and safety as they educate the public on highway safety, the positive impact the trucking industry plays in our economy, and why a career in professional truck driving is great.”
This year’s finalists hail from 20 different states, haul a diverse assortment of products and materials, and range from short-haul drivers to over-the-road truckers operating in the lower 48 states. Their experience ranges from six to 46 years as professional drivers—with anywhere from 350,000 to 4 million safe driving miles.
The finalists are:
- Mike Alpine, ABF Freight System, Arizona
- Ben Atkinson, ABF Freight System, Florida
- Willie Baylor, FedEx Freight, Indiana
- Terry Bennett, ABF Freight System, Florida
- Joe Busch, ABF Freight System, Iowa
- Perry Carter, Cargo Transporters, North Carolina
- Joseph Collins, FedEx Ground, Spartan Logistics, Minnesota
- Robbie Cottrell, XPO, Virginia
- Howard Crawford, United Parcel Service, North Carolina
- Damon Evans, United Parcel Service, California
- Orlando Fraley, FedEx Freight, Georgia
- Dennis Hall, Tyson Foods, Texas
- Robert Hare, FedEx Freight, Virginia
- Dave Hedicker, ABF Freight System, Ohio
- Lloyd Howell, TCW, Alabama
- John Lemmons, United Parcel Service, Tennessee
- Ronnie Mahan, FedEx Freight, Arkansas
- Sean McClure, Old Dominion Freight Line, Utah
- Rodney McNew, Groendyke Transport, Texas
- Mike Middleton, Old Dominion Freight Line, Tennessee
- Pete Palczynski, Walmart Transportation, Illinois
- Emily Plummer, Prime, Missouri
- Wayne Ponschke, United Parcel Service, California
- Scott Post, FedEx Ground, Spartan Logistics, Minnesota
- John Antoine Sadler, Walmart Transportation, North Carolina
- Gary Schmidt, Jacobson Transport and Cliff Viessman, Minnesota
- Brian Sheehan, CRST The Transportation Solution, Indiana
- Molly Shultz, TransLand, Missouri
- Anthony Tirone, Walmart Transportation, Florida
- Chevelle Walker, Werner Enterprises, Florida
- Bernard Wanyo, United Parcel Service, Pennsylvania
- Thomas Warters, Penske Logistics, Florida
- Mike Whitehead, FedEx Freight, South Dakota
- James “Gragg” Wilson, United Parcel Service, Nevada
- Ryan Ybarra, United Parcel Service, California
- David Young, FedEx Freight, North Carolina