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

FASTPORT Leads U.S. Department of Labor's Transportation & Logistics Sector Apprenticeship Accelerator at GATS

Jose Valesquez, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Apprenticeship, introduces the importance and effectiveness of apprenticeship training programs.

Jose Valesquez, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Apprenticeship, introduces the importance and effectiveness of apprenticeship training programs.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Dallas, TX- 25 August 2017 - FASTPORT, Inc. leads U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Apprenticeship Accelerator Conference to benefit the Transportation & Logistics Sector at the Great American Trucking Show. The Accelerator Conference is designed to help employers seeking to initiate or expand apprenticeship programs by introducing the National Standard Apprenticeship model the DOL has approved for the Transportation 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.

“Companies in all sectors of the American economy are facing complex workforce challenges in increasingly competitive domestic and global markets. Registered Apprenticeship is your proven solution for recruiting, training, and retaining world-class talent.”

Brad Bentley, FASTPORT President, expressed his appreciation for the work the DOL Office of Apprenticeship has put into the creation of the Registered Apprenticeship program and the movement to engage with employers through an industry intermediary: “Private-public partnerships like the DOL OA has put into motion have put the transportation industry in an enviable position: it can work as a unified coalition to attract the best candidates for its most sought-after careers.”

“By working together to attract both civilians and Veterans as future transportation professionals,” Bentley continued, “the industry and its leading employers like those attending this Accelerator session will improve the lives of their newest employees and the health of our nation’s economy.”

For more information or to discover how you can participate in the Transportation Industry’s Apprenticeship movement to educate, inspire and hire more high skilled workers please contact FASTPORT at

NAPFTDS and FASTPORT Co-Sponsor DOL National Standard to Help Train 10,000 CDL Apprentices

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - August 25, 2017 - Dallas, TX - The National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools (NAPFTDS) and FASTPORT, Inc. have partnered to co-sponsor an innovative National Standard Registered Apprenticeship Program for Professional Truck Drivers.

This new partnership will expand employment opportunities through apprenticeship in the transportation and logistics sector for military Veterans and civilians alike, by helping them enter an accredited Commercial Driver License (CDL) institution for the highest quality training.

“NAPFTDS member CDL institutions have a long-standing reputation of graduating quality professional truck drivers in the industry,” said Mark Huss, President of NAPFTDS. “By partnering with FASTPORT, we will be able to help connect more of our outstanding graduating students to great career opportunities with employers in the industry offering Registered Apprenticeships.”

NAPFTDS represents 117 publicly funded schools from 37 states across the country. Their mission is to provide the highest quality, cost-effective and up-to-date training available for the transportation/logistics industry.

“This partnership between NAPFTDS and FASTPORT is a critical element to help provide great career opportunities for NAPFTDS’ graduates and to help the industry inspire and hire over 100,000 new apprentices in the next four years,” said Bill McLennan, CEO of FASTPORT. “It is a competitive imperative for American businesses to embrace apprenticeship models and we are thrilled to be working with the NAPFTDS and its member schools to provide the pathway for employment to great career opportunities.”

Dave Harrison the Executive Director of National Apprenticeship at FASTPORT said, “This is an exciting result. This public/private partnership between the Department of Labor and industry associations is a significant pathway to meaningful career opportunities through apprenticeship on an unprecedented scale.”

Martin Garsee the Executive Director of NAPFTDS states, “Our students are our number one priority, and most of our students’ number one priority after finishing school is finding a lasting career. To help them meet that goal, NAPFTDS has committed to connect them to Registered Apprenticeship opportunities, and we believe that we are capable to training over 10,000 of these apprenticeship-ready candidates each year with this co-sponsored National Standard. With this objective in mind, we look forward to a great partnership with FASTPORT and the U.S. Department of Labor.”


The National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools (NAPFTDS) is an organization for the promotion of public education for the transportation industry. Through membership, educators can network with other truck driving schools across the country to provide the highest quality, most cost-effective, and up-to-date training available.


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,

National Apprenticeship Expert Joins FASTPORT to Expand Registered Apprenticeship Opportunities

Left to right: FASTPORT Co-Founder Jim Ray, President Brad Bentley   and Subject Matter Expert Dave Harrison

Left to right: FASTPORT Co-Founder Jim Ray, President Brad Bentley and Subject Matter Expert Dave Harrison

Recently selected as the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship (DOL OA) industry intermediary for the Transportation & Logistics sector, FASTPORT welcomes Dave Harrison to its team as the company’s new Subject Matter Expert (SME), a role that will expand apprenticeship opportunities and resources for employers and job seekers.

 Dave has extensive experience coordinating and advising employers and the DOL OA on the most effective implementation models for Registered Apprenticeships in the Transportation & Logistics Sector.  

With nearly two decades of experience in the transportation industry, Dave has directly supported, developed, and implemented apprenticeship related instruction (ARI) and on-the-job (OTJ) training outlines for a National DOL Apprenticeship program. As FASTPORT’s SME, Dave will continue to perfect that training development and will correspond directly with OA and industry leaders to offer best practices, consultation, and funding resources to companies that register under FASTPORT’s Registered Apprenticeship programs.

Before joining FASTPORT, Dave served in the U. S. Army and is a Veteran of multiple combat tour. He graduated from Austin Peay State University with a Secondary Ed. History B.A. and has been a high school and middle school football coach, and later a small fleet owner. Most recently, Dave helped developed and managed J.B. Hunt’s military hiring program, Hunt’s Heroes, with the dedicated mission of hiring 10,000 Veterans by 2020.

“Dave’s years of apprenticeship and recruitment experiences make him uniquely qualified to help Transportation & Logistics sector employers create their own apprenticeship programs, find funding, and attract candidates into the new positions” said FASTPORT President Brad Bentley. “With Dave at the helm, we can make an immediate impact for both industry leaders and candidates who are eager and ready to start their careers.”

U.S. Department of Labor Selects FASTPORT as Industry Intermediary to Increase Apprenticeship Opportunities in Transportation & Logistics Sector

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The U.S. Department of Labor has made an historic investment in apprenticeships by awarding $20.4 million in contracts to national industry intermediaries to increase apprenticeship opportunities, and FASTPORT was selected to help extend and diversify those opportunities in the Transportation & Logistics sector.

In his 2014 State of the Union, President Barack Obama proclaimed his administration’s focus on developing apprenticeship programs for the American workforce and reinforced that when he declared November 1st – November 7th as National Apprenticeship week. During that declaration, President Obama stated, “Our country thrives when all our citizens play a role in driving it forward.  If we create good jobs and help workers get the skills they need to succeed in those jobs, we can restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every American.  During National Apprenticeship Week, let us support and encourage apprenticeship programs that will help rebuild our middle class, and let us rededicate ourselves to educating more of our people, retraining our workforce, and renewing our Nation's promise to put the American dream within the reach of the determined.” (Click here for a full speech transcript.)

FASTPORT will jointly accomplish this goal to make that American dream a reality for job seekers by expanding the number of existing apprenticeship programs in the transportation industry in tandem with the Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship (DOL OA). Some of the important steps necessary to accomplish that goal include:

  • Create at least 10 new Registered Apprenticeship Programs
  • Develop at least two National Guideline Standard Apprenticeships
  • Educate America’s diverse population of Veterans to fill the newly created apprenticeship opportunities
  • Train at least 450 apprentices in highly skilled and highly sought-after positions in the Transportation & Logistics sector.

Bill McLennan, FASTPORT CEO, expressed his appreciation for the work the DOL OA has put into the creation of apprenticeships and the forward thinking of engaging with industry intermediaries to ensure that effort is rewarded: “Private-public partnerships like the DOL OA has put into motion with this contract are an incredible mechanism for positive change for both the Transportation & Logistics sector as well as other high-growth industries. I can say unreservedly that FASTPORT’s first priority is helping our nation’s service members access great careers to improve their lives as well as the health of the nation’s economy, and this innovative engagement will help us make even greater strides toward that goal.”

FASTPORT committed to support apprenticeship programs before this historic contract award by inspiring the trucking industry and more than 100 employers to make commitments to employ veterans, have successfully promoted the industry and its career opportunities to attract more than 40,000 job applications and 10,000 industry mentor requests from Veterans.

FASTPORT’S industry partners have continually supported these efforts, and it recently formed a strategic alliance with 115 publicly funded training schools to provide curriculum and credentialed training to more than 15,000 potential truck driver apprenticeship candidates each year. In addition, FASTPORT received commitments from five industry associations representing more than 2,000 employers across multiple sub-sectors of the industry who will promote and expand this train-while-you-earn apprenticeship model.

“We are proud to work alongside the DOL OA to create new Transportation & Logistics industry apprenticeships to help transportation employers across the country attract more talent and help the American worker earn more over the course of his or her career,” said Brad Bentley, FASTPORT President. “The apprenticeship model is proven to increase the success for employers and apprentices alike, and the transportation industry is equipped with the best careers paths and the passion for training the next generation to ensure this collaboration’s success.”

If you are interested in creating an apprenticeship program or supporting Veteran employment, please visit