Press Release

Top 10 Finalists Named for 2018 Transition Trucking: Driving For Excellence Award

The "Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence" award campaign, first launched in the spring of 2016, is part of an overall effort to inspire the hiring of more veterans, national guard members, and reservists into the trucking industry. As the main part of the initiative, deserving veteran drivers who have made a successful transition from military service to the trucking industry were nominated by their carriers for the chance to win a fully-loaded Kenworth T680 truck to accelerate their newfound careers.

Since nominations closed on June 30th for this year’s hopefuls, the exceptional pool of candidates has been narrowed to the elite Top 10.

The Top 10 finalists include (listed in alphabetical order of first name):

Brian “Kelley” Ward

Veriha Trucking (trained at Veriha Driving Academy)

US Navy, E4, Hull Technician (HT3)

Brian "Kelley" Ward is a father, husband, and U.S. Navy Veteran. To know him is to also know that an American Flag is displayed somewhere nearby but that being father to his daughter Hannah is what brings him the most pride. He joined the Navy in 1994 and was stationed aboard the USS Rushmore LSD-47. In 1999, he moved to the Midwest to start a life in Kenosha, WI with his soon-to-be wife Curren whom he also met while aboard the Rushmore. Today, he is employed by Veriha Trucking based out of Marinette, WI.

Christopher Young

Stevens Transport (trained at Central Texas College/Ft. Hood)

US Army (Active Duty and current Reservist), E5, Petroleum Supply Specialist

Christopher W. Young was born at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL and raised in the beautiful Puget Sound region of Washington state. In February 2002, after doing a little world traveling, Christopher enlisted in the United States Army where he attended basic training at Fort Jackson, SC and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Lee, VA. Christopher is proud to have served his country and continues to do so as an Army Reservist.

Jeremiah King

PAM Transport (trained at Del Mar College)

US Navy, E6, Hospital Corpsman

After graduating high school in 1998, Jeremiah enlisted in the US Navy, spending 20 years serving in many different capacities in the medical field. His first duty station was in Puerto Rico where he was selected as the Radiation Technician of the year. Following that, Jeremiah was transferred to the USS Eisenhower then the USS Enterprise. After his time at sea, he was transferred to the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB). While assigned to the NMCB, Jeremiah was deployed twice, once to Kuwait and then to Iraq. He was then transferred to the USS Kentucky and was the sole medical provider and advisor to the submarine commander. Jeremiah spent his final years as an instructor training others in pre-hospital trauma and combat casualty care. After retiring, he and his wife and three children settled down in San Antonio, TX.

Mordaunt "Platt" Brabner

TMC Transportation (trained at Roadmaster Drivers School)

US Marines and Navy, O5, Advanced Electronic Technician

Mordaunt “Platt” Brabner enlisted in the United States Marine Corps graduating Boot Camp with honors. Assigned as an Air Traffic Control Navigational Aids Technician. Graduated Summa Cum Laude from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University with Bachelor Degrees in Professional Aeronautics and Electronic Engineering. Commissioned as a Naval Flight Officer flying in EA-6B carrier aircraft. Honorably retired from the US Navy. University of Nebraska, EMBA. Pursuing a career as a professional flatbed truck driver with TMC Transportation. Always looking for another opportunity to excel.

Phillip "Tom" Vargo

Roehl Transport (trained at Roehl Transport, Get Your CDL Program)

US Navy, E5, Operations Specialist

Service to our nation and helping others are in Tom's blood. He served in the U.S. Navy as an Operations Specialist, Petty Officer Second Class. After that, Tom served as a corrections officer and a police officer as he raised his two sons. Tom is proud to continue his service to our nation as a safe, Class-A professional driver. In that role, he is also proud to train inexperienced drivers, helping them, their families and our industry. In addition, Tom volunteers with groups helping law enforcement and veterans, in particular talking and listening one-on-one with veterans to help prevent suicide.

Quinton Ward

Werner Enterprises (trained at US Truck Driving School)

US Army, E5, Bradley Fighting Vehicle System Trainer, Quartermaster and Chemical Equipment Repairer, and BCC Battalion Career Counselor

Born at Fort Polk Louisiana to a military family, the military has been in Quinton Ward's blood from birth. After graduating high school, Quinton enlisted in the Army, completing Basic and AIT at Fort Knox, Kentucky. During his military career, he worked as a Mechanic, Instructor and Career Counselor and was medically retired in 2010. After six years of undergoing medical treatment, with his service dog Kirra by my side, he began to seek a new career. Utilizing the VA Vocational Rehabilitation Program, Quinton graduated with a CDL-A in Fountain, Colorado and joined Werner Enterprises.

Ricardo Sumrall

Melton Truck Lines (trained at Advanced Technology Institute)

US Navy, E6, Culinary Specialist, Submarine Qualified CS1

Ricardo Sumrall is from Norfolk, Virginia and served in the U.S. Navy for over 20 years. Ricardo’s service began as a Culinary Specialist then continued to First Class Petty Officer, Submarine Qualified, and CS1 (SS) ranking. After earning his Class-A CDL license from Advanced Technology Institute, Ricardo joined the Melton Truck Lines family in August of 2017. When deciding on a career after the military, Ricardo found trucking to be highly suitable to the values and skills he acquired during his tenure in the Navy.

Summar Hanks

US Xpress (trained at Diesel Driving Academy)

US Air Force and Air National Guard, E6, Information Management Specialist

Born and raised in Crowley, LA, Staff Sergeant Summar N. Hanks began her military career on July 2008 as an active duty member of the United States Air Force where she served as an Information Management Specialist. On November 2016, Summar switched to the Louisiana Air National Guard to start her trucking career. Preparation for the career change included five months of school at Diesel Driving Academy in Baton Rouge, and she started her trucking journey in May 2017. Summar is about to graduate with a degree in business management from Trident University. She holds an Associates degree in Applied Science, Information Management. Her assignments since 2008 have taken her from Kuwait to Seoul and throughout the continental United States.

Tilford Sereal

TMC Transportation (trained at Coastal Truck Driving School)

US Navy, E6, Culinary Specialist First Class, Galley and Wardroom Supervisor, and Military Police

Tilford Sereal resides in Carencro, LA and is a 20-year Navy Veteran. He joined the TMC team in September 2017 as a professional truck driver. Due to his dedication and work ethic, Tilford also recently became a driver trainer where he takes pride in producing safe, educated drivers for America's highways. In his free time, Tilford's hobbies include carpentry and handyman services. He also enjoys restoring his home and classic vehicles.

Toby Hunt 

Prime, Inc. (trained at Tampa Truck Driving School) 

US  and Army, Petty Officer 2nd Class (Navy) and E5 Sergeant (Army), Damage Controlman DC2 (Navy) and 88M (Army)

Toby Hunt is a 13-year Navy and Army Veteran who has enjoyed serving his country honorably and feels privileged to have served with the best men and women of our Armed Forces. Toby served as a Damage Controlman DC2, being honorably discharged at the rank of Petty Officer Second Class. He also served in the U.S. Army at the Rank of Sergeant as an 88M (truck driver). Toby earned his Class-A CDL through the Tampa Truck Driving School and started driving for Prime in January 2018.

“Each of these candidates is an incredible ambassador to display what military talent brings to the trucking industry,” said FASTPORT President Brad Bentley. “They represent a wide variety of military branches and occupations, showing once again that a professional driving career is open and beneficial to all service members, regardless of what their specific job was in the military. Culling the list of nominees to the Top 10 was a difficult task, one not taken lightly. These finalists are outstanding and truly show the best of the best.”

The Top 10 Finalists will be recognized at the George W. Bush Library and Museum during a reception where they will be honored for their contributions to the military and civilian sectors by trucking and transportation leaders as well as government and association representatives. On that night, the Final 3 will be revealed and will enter into a popular vote to help determine who will be the ultimate recipient of the Kenworth T680 truck donated by Kenworth, a PACCAR company.  

In addition to the Driver Recognition Dinner and Announcement, FASTPORT will also host an Apprenticeship Accelerator meeting at the George W. Bush Library and Museum to help companies and organizations begin DOL-approved Registered Apprenticeship programs. Multiple drivers in the Top 10 of Transition Trucking (as well as the award program’s first winner Troy Davidson and last year’s second runner-up Daniel Shonebarger) started their careers as apprentices. Leading companies helped them bridge their skills gaps with this program, and FASTPORT is ready to help other companies attract and retain this kind of incredible talent with similar training models.

To register to attend these events, please visit To learn more about the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence Award, please visit

About Kenworth Truck Company

Kenworth Truck Company is the manufacturer of The World’s Best® heavy and medium duty trucks. Kenworth’s Internet home page is at Kenworth is a PACCAR company.

About Hiring Our Heroes

Hiring Our Heroes is a nationwide initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment. Working with a vast network of state and local chambers and other strategic partners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, Hiring Our Heroes has helped hundreds of thousands of veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment. In March 2012, Hiring Our Heroes and Capital One launched Hiring 500,000 Heroes, a national campaign to engage the business community in committing to hire half a million veterans and military spouses by the end of 2014. This milestone was achieved in June 2015 when 500,000 veteran and military spouse hires were confirmed.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness and educating the public on how the free enterprise system improves society and the economy.


FASTPORT, Inc. is an employment software development company that builds products to help Veterans, members of the Guard and Reserve, transitioning service members and military spouses find meaningful employment. Using its proprietary technology, FASTPORT is committed to matching job seekers to employers actively hiring from the military community.

FASTPORT, Inc. is a Department of Labor Industry Intermediary to increase apprenticeship programs for civilian and Veteran talent and has a commercial co-venture with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Program to develop the preeminent employment marketplace to connect employers and military candidates. For more information, visit

CVTA and Co-Sponsor FASTPORT Receive National Standard Apprenticeship Program Approval from the Department of Labor


Partnership to Assist in Training

Apprenticeship-Ready Truck Drivers

Alexandria, Va., May 14, 2018 – Today, the Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA) announced that it received approval from the Department of Labor (DOL) to be listed as a National Standard Registered Apprenticeship Program for professional truck drivers. This designation will allow CVTA member carriers to compete for discretionary apprenticeship grants and fund the pre-commercial driver’s license (CDL) portion of related training instruction (RTI). In addition, the program will expand employment opportunities through apprenticeship in the transportation and logistics sector for military Veterans and civilians alike.  

“The apprenticeship designation is an important step to have truck driving recognized as an in-demand career by Workforce Investment Board’s across the country,” said Don Lefeve, President & CEO, CVTA. “Our carrier and school members are dedicated to safety, professionalism, and meeting the demand for drivers within the trucking industry. This public-private partnership is a win for students and our country.”

CVTA’s apprenticeship standard was developed with co-sponsor and partner FASTPORT, Inc., the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Industry Intermediary for the Transportation & Logistics sector. As the intermediary, FASTPORT ensured the standard fell in accordance with the basic standards recommended by the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (DOLETA) as a basis from which the sponsor can work to establish an apprenticeship training program that meets the needs of an industry.

“American industry is the foundation of our country's economic competitiveness and prosperity. The challenge? Significant talent shortages and skill gaps are slowing companies' efforts to expand, innovate, and thrive. Transportation Sector growth is hampered by an aging workforce of highly-skilled and experienced workers and a lingering challenge to attract new and more diverse talent pools,” says Jose Velazquez, Deputy Administrator DOL/ETA Office of Apprenticeships. “Apprenticeship is your proven solution for recruiting, training, and retaining world-class talent.”

 FASTPORT President Brad Bentley speaks about the importance of top-notch CDL training for military Veterans at CVTA Conference

FASTPORT President Brad Bentley speaks about the importance of top-notch CDL training for military Veterans at CVTA Conference

FASTPORT President Brad Bentley agreed, saying, “By partnering with our company on this national standard, CVTA will be able to connect these skilled and sought-after graduates with leading employers in the industry offering registered apprenticeships. This co-sponsorship is a critical element to help the trucking industry bridge experience gaps for thousands of new truck drivers, and we are thrilled to help connect these outstanding CDL graduates with real economic opportunity in the industry.” 

To learn more about Registered Apprenticeships in the transportation & logistics sector, and how to sign up to become an employer or training institution, visit



Media Contact, CVTA

Kristine Gager, Director of Communications

703.642.9444 ext. 104


Media Contact, FASTPORT

Dave Harrison, SME, Executive Director National Apprenticeship



About CVTA

The Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA) is the largest association representing commercial truck driver training programs in the United States. CVTA members represent nearly 200 training providers in 42 states and train over 50,000 commercial drivers annually. Advancing the interests of trucking’s workforce providers and employers, CVTA advocates for policies that enhance safety through commercial driver training, enable students to secure employment within the trucking and bus industries, thus further advancing driver professionalism. For more information, visit


FASTPORT, Inc. is an employment software development company that builds products to help Veterans, members of the Guard and Reserve, transitioning service members and military spouses find meaningful employment. Using its proprietary technology, FASTPORT is committed to matching job seekers to employers actively hiring from the military community. FASTPORT, Inc. is a Department of Labor Industry Intermediary to increase apprenticeship programs for civilian and Veteran talent and has a commercial co-venture with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Program to develop the preeminent employment marketplace to connect employers and military candidates. For more information, visit

Nominations Open for Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence Award


March 13, 2018 — Lowell, MA — Nominations for the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence Award open today and will run until June 30, 2018. Employers and training institutions are encouraged to nominate rookie drivers with military experience who would be excellent ambassadors of the trucking industry to win a fully loaded Kenworth T680 truck.

Transition Trucking was launched in 2016 by Kenworth, FASTPORT, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes Program in an effort to educate veterans and America about the support from leading manufacturers and service providers that enhance the safety and comfort of the 3.5 million professional truck drivers while performing their duties — and provide an incredible head start to one veteran's entrepreneurial career.

Sponsors for the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence Award include the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and Combined Insurance. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, please click here

The winner will be selected following a year-long competition among veterans, guard members and reservists who have made the successful transition in the trucking industry following military service.

T680 Advantage w 76-in Sleeper2.jpg

The winner's T-680 truck boasts a stamped aluminum cab and integral sleeper, and has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of approximately $155,000. Additionally, the campaign will recognize the employer and CDL credentialing institution that hired and trained the winner. Runners up will receive a cash prize of $10,000 each.

"Kenworth recognizes the importance of our veterans, and the donation of our on-highway flagship Kenworth T680—the Driver's Truck—is one way to thank them for their military service. We encourage those transitioning from military service to consider the trucking industry as their future career, and urge fleets in America to nominate their best drivers who have served to protect our country," said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. 

"About 200,000 service members transition out of the military into the private sector annually. A key part of FASTPORT'S mission is to inform veterans about the trucking industry's excellent career opportunities. We also like to showcase the best equipment available, and the Kenworth T680 Advantage is certainly a quality truck that receives more attention from our military community," said Brad Bentley, president of FASTPORT. 

"Hiring Our Heroes helped more than 16,000 new veterans make the transition into trucking last year, said Eric Eversole, U.S. Chamber of Commerce vice president and Hiring Our Heroes president. "The 2018 'Transition Trucking' award campaign is another opportunity to highlight the impact veterans are making in the transportation industry and introduce a new generation of veterans to the real economic opportunity a career in trucking can represent."

 Gregg Softy, 2017 winner of Transition Trucking

Gregg Softy, 2017 winner of Transition Trucking

 Troy Davidson, 2016 winner of Transition Trucking

Troy Davidson, 2016 winner of Transition Trucking

2017 winner Gregg Softy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point spent more than 28 years of distinguished active duty in the Army before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel to begin a second career at Stevens Transport after receiving his MBA degree.

2016 winner Troy Davidson is a Navy Veteran from Pensacola, FL who drives professionally for Werner Enterprises. During his military service, Troy was an E-5 Jet Engine Mechanic and received the Navy Good Conduct Medal (twice), the National Defense Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal. Since his nomination, Troy was promoted to become a driver trainer to help guide the newest members of the trucking industry become excellent drivers.

To learn more about the award and nominate up to five drivers for consideration, visit

FASTPORT’s Gulf Coast Military Hiring Fair Receives Support from La Quinta Inns & Suites by Offering Discounted Hotel Rates for Transitioning Service Members and Veterans

La Quinta Ext Traditional (1).jpeg

Transitioning service members and veterans traveling to FASTPORT’s Gulf Coast Military Hiring Fair on January 26, 2018 can receive discounted rates at La Quinta hotels in the Mobile, AL area. The event will take place from 11:00 am - 2:30 pm CST at the Medal of Honor Aircraft Pavilion, just steps away from the USS Alabama battleship and the day before the Reese’s Senior Bowl. The hiring event is co-sponsored by the Reese’s Senior Bowl, The South Alabama Veterans Council, Centurion Military Alliance and Kaplan University.

With La Quinta’s military discount, current and former service members will save money as they seek to travel to this unique venue and event. There are several La Quinta Inns & Suites close to the Mobile area so the attending military community will have multiple lodging options that will honor the military discount, including:

La Quinta Inn – Mobile

La Quinta Inns & Suites – Tillman’s Corner  

La Quinta Inns & Suites – Satsuma / Saraland

La Quinta Inn Inns & Suites – Daphne

Inbound travelers simply need to call the hotel direct and ask for the Military Rate Discount or book online at using the military rate discount code (Military). The guestrooms and military rate discount at each participating location is based on availability at time of the reservation.

“La Quinta recognizes that no one understands service like the military and that’s why we want to serve them,” said Liesl Vargas, La Quinta’s Vice President of Talent Acquisition. “We are honored the military community can use our discount to explore new career path opportunities at the upcoming Gulf Coast Hiring Fair.”

“As a military friendly employer, La Quinta has a long history of supporting service members, and this is a strong statement of how it will continue to serve our nation’s heroes in the future,” said Brad Bentley, FASTPORT President. “We are thrilled out-of-town service members will be able to travel with less cost as they seek new career paths from national, regional, and local employers in Mobile, and we look forward to helping them find great jobs at companies like La Quinta that value military service and training.”

La Quinta also offers a rewards program for all active duty service members, veterans or military spouses. It's called La Quinta Returns Military Rewards and is the company’s way of saying "thank you" for your service. To join, visit: and for career opportunities at La Quinta, visit:

Centurion Military Alliance (CMA) and FASTPORT Announce Collaboration to Help Employer Veterans in Gulf Coast

CMA Logo with text.jpg

Centurion Military Alliance & FASTPORT Present the 1st Annual Gulf Coast Military Hiring Fair with opportunities to network with employers from throughout the country. Service Members and Veterans are invited to participate in 1st Annual Gulf Coast Military Hiring Fair hosted by FASTPORT.

Houston, Texas (January 8, 2018) — Our military heroes get world-class training throughout their career and as they transition; are prepared to bring these much-valued skillsets to perspective employers. However, when they get ready to return to civilian life, they may need some additional preparation to navigate the job market. Two organizations are working together to do just that by helping to prepare and equip those who are transitioning from their military career to civilian life.

Centurion Military Alliance (CMA) and FASTPORT are collaborating together for the first time to better prepare military members for the civilian job-seeking process during the 1st Annual Gulf Coast Military Hiring Fair on Friday, January 26th 2018 at the Medal of Honor Aircraft Pavilion adjacent to the USS Alabama Battleship in Mobile, AL. The event is open to service members, veterans and their spouses, where attendees will participate in networking and exchanging information with local and global employers looking to find qualified talent to fill their vacancies.

WHEN: Friday, January 26th 2018 | 11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
WHERE: Medal of Honor Aircraft Pavilion next to the USS Alabama Battleship in Mobile, AL
WHO: Hosted by FASTPORT, the South Alabama Veterans Council and the Reese’s Senior Bowl


About CMA
Established in 2011, Centurion Military Alliance’s mission is to serve the transitioning military service members, veterans, wounded warriors, primary caregivers to wounded warriors, and military spouses by providing vetted resources and military-to-civilian cross-trained expertise. CMA focuses on supporting and preparing the military community for professional career opportunities while providing personalized assistance to better serve them in achieving their short- and long-term employment readiness and job placement goals.

FASTPORT is a veteran employment software company with the sole mission to help all members of our nation’s military community find rewarding career opportunities with likeminded employers. We are delighted to help connect any Veterans, transitioning service members, members of the Guard and Reserve, and military spouses who need employment across the country by leveraging technology to help eliminate veteran unemployment.

Media Contact
Chaunte Myers, Chief Operating Officer