Jason McDaniel | Bulk Transporter

Cox, Grammer land 2 Champion Finalists each

Dec. 7, 2023
The two for-hire carriers combine to boast half the field in National Tank Truck Carriers’ newly revealed list of eight elite candidates for the 2023-24 Tank Truck Driver of the Year

Cox Petroleum Transport and Grammer Logistics have a leg up on the competition.

National Tank Truck Carriers on Wednesday revealed the eight Champion Finalists for the 2023-24 Professional Tank Truck Driver of the Year, and both for-hire carriers boast two finalists for the William A. Usher Sr. trophy: John Contreras and Robert “Newt” Newsome for Cox, and Brian Jennings and Mark Schroyer for Grammer.

The other four finalists are Highway Transport’s Edward Heard Jr., Kenan Advantage Group’s Bill McNamee—who joined KAG through its 2022 acquisition of Carbon Express—Eagle Transport Corporation’s Wayne Moody, and Usher Transport’s Dave Powell, who NTTC featured in the launch of its industry branding campaign.

This year’s finalists emerged from a crop of 28 applicants representing carriers and private fleets in the U.S. and Canada.

“Every single one of our drivers is very well qualified, with an exemplary safety record and an outstanding message and background story to tell the greater public,” Will Lusk, NTTC director of education and government relations, told Bulk Transporter. “These are fantastic individuals who were selected.”

See also: Tolliver takes top tank trucker title

McNamee, Newsome, and Powell all are repeat finalists. Newsome and Powell both were Champion Finalists for the 2022-23 title, which went to Kenneth Tolliver of G&D Trucking/Hoffman Transportation, making it the first company with two Grand Champions. G&D/Hoffman driver Ron Baird secured the 2020-21 Usher trophy.

Champion Finalists represent “the pinnacle of dedication, safety, and professionalism” within the tank trucking industry, NTTC maintained. Their “unwavering commitment to safety, extensive experience, and profound influence on their peers” make them exemplary candidates for the Usher trophy. Each finalist’s journey, marked by “stellar safety records, mentorship, community engagement, and dedication to excellence,” stands as a testament to the professionalism and integrity that defines the tanker community, NTTC added.

The eight finalists now move on to Round 2, which features interviews with NTTC and judges from American Trucking Associations, the American Transportation Research Institute, and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance on Jan. 19 in Washington D.C. Their two-day trip also includes a Jan. 18 celebration sponsored by Great West Casualty Company.

“We’re going to roll out the red carpet for them,” Lusk said.

NTTC will reveal the 2023-24 Grand Champion during its 2024 Annual Conference, which is set for May 4-7 in Las Vegas.

Click here for more on each one of this year’s finalists.

Previous winners of the Usher trophy include:

  • 2013-14: James Starr, Groendyke Transport
  • 2014-15: Bobby Weller, Hahn Transportation
  • 2015-16: Darryl Nowell, Eagle Transport
  • 2016-17: Todd Stine, Carbon Express
  • 2017-18: Paul Emerson, Foodliner
  • 2018-19: Barbara Herman, K-Limited Carrier
  • 2019-20: Program suspended due to pandemic
  • 2020-21: Ron Baird, G&D Trucking/Hoffman Transportation
  • 2021-22: Thomas Frain, Highway Transport
  • 2022-23: Kenneth Tolliver, G&D Trucking/Hoffman Transportation