Transition Trucking

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 https://www.fastport.com/dallas-events. To learn more about the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence Award, please visit transitiontrucking.org.


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 www.kenworth.com. 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.

About FASTPORT

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.com.

Stevens Transport Driver Gregg Softy Announced Winner of 2017 Transition Trucking Award

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FASTPORT, in partnership with Kenworth and the U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes Program today announced Stevens Transport truck driver and U.S. Army Veteran Gregg Softy as the winner of the 2017 Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award. Softy received a new T680 truck, donated by Kenworth. 

Softy, a native of Athens, Alabama, is a retired Lieutenant Colonel with more than 28 years of active duty service in the United States Army. Softy was nominated for the award by his current employer, Stevens Transport.

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“Following a distinguished military career, Gregg leveraged his skills to successfully launch a second career in the trucking industry,” said Eric Eversole, president of Hiring Our Heroes and vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We are honored to play a role in helping Gregg find a meaningful employment opportunity, and congratulate him for winning this year's award.”


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"Congratulations to Gregg Softy for his selection as the winner of the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence Award," said Kurt Swihart, marketing director of Kenworth. "We are honored with this opportunity to thank him for his years of service as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army and his dedication to become an inspiration to other professional drivers in our industry. We are confident that the Kenworth T680 Advantage will help him get on the right road to continue his promising career in trucking."


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"The successes displayed by each Transition Trucking finalist in the trucking industry can be tied some way back to their military training. This gives us even more evidence that the military hardwires our veterans to excel in trucking, and industry-leading companies are uniting to attract and employ these remarkable candidates," said Brad Bentley, president of FASTPORT. "A special congratulations to Gregg as well as Wayne and Daniel who have set incredible examples of what veterans can accomplish after they transition from the military into civilian careers."

The three finalists considered for the Transition Trucking award were:

  • Gregg Softy, U.S. Army veteran, Stevens Transport 
  • Wayne Roy, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, U.S. Xpress 
  • Daniel Shonebarger, U.S. Navy veteran, Melton Truck Lines 
Finalists left to right: Wayne Roy, US Xpress; Gregg Softy, Stevens Transport; Daniel Shonebarger, Melton Truck Lines 

Finalists left to right: Wayne Roy, US Xpress; Gregg Softy, Stevens Transport; Daniel Shonebarger, Melton Truck Lines 

First launched in 2016, the annual Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence campaign is focused on curbing the emerging truck driver shortage and inspiring more companies to hire more veterans, National Guard members, and reservists into the trucking industry. Throughout the year, trucking companies nominate veteran military drivers with outstanding performance. Following a public vote on nominees, an independent selection committee comprised of individuals from the trucking industry select three award finalists. Click here for more information or to nominate a veteran for the 2018 award.

Top 10 Finalists Named for Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence 2017 Award

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Transition Trucking

The "Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence" 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 last name):

  1. Mary and Larry Berman (Mary, US Army National Guard and Reserves; Larry, US Coast Guard and Army). Carrier: U.S. Xpress
  2. Phillip Cooper (US Navy). Carrier: Melton Truck Lines
  3. Sean Harding (US Army). Carrier: Stevens Transport
  4. Christopher King (US Air Force). Carrier: TMC Transportation
  5. Britney Motes (US Army). Carrier: Werner Enterprises
  6. James Rogers (US Army). Carrier: Prime, Inc.
  7. Wayne Roy (US Marine Corps). Carrier: U.S. Xpress
  8. Daniel Shonebarger (US Navy). Carrier: Melton Truck Lines
  9. Gregg Softy (US Army). Carrier: Stevens Transport
  10. Robert West (US Air Force). Carrier: Werner Enterprises

“Each of these candidates is an incredible ambassador to display what military talent brings to the trucking industry,” said FASTPORT President Brad Bentley. “We’re proud to say that all five United States military branches are represented in this diverse and qualified group, which is simply another proof point that the military, regardless of military occupation or branch, provides a unique and significant foundation for a professional truck driving career.”

The Top 10 Finalists will be recognized at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, TX on August 25, 2016 during the U.S. Department of Labor’s Transportation & Logistics Sector of Excellence in Apprenticeships (SEA) Conference and ApprenticeshipUSA Accelerator. To register to attend this event, please use the following link: http://info.fastport.com/gats-dol-registration.

The previous evening, these new drivers will also be recognized at the President George W. Bush Library during a tour and reception where last year’s winner and Navy veteran, Mr. Troy Davidson, will attend and discuss how his military experience enabled him to become named the best new driver in America and how the Transition Trucking award has impacted his life. B.J. Ganem, Wounded Warrior, will also be a guest speaker. To RSVP for the Transition Trucking Reception, email paige.thompson@fastport.com.

For more information on the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence Award, please visit transitiontrucking.org.

The Search Is on for the 2017 Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence Award Winner

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U.S. Navy veteran Troy Davidson, now a driver trainer for Werner Enterprises, is the winner of the 2016 “Transition Trucking: Driving For Excellence” award, and Kenworth, FASTPORT, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes program are now searching for the next Veteran who will follow in his footsteps.

The “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” campaign, 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 campaign, deserving veteran drivers who had made a successful transition from military service to the trucking industry were able to participate in a chance to win the truck.

While the 2017 nomination period begins on March 23, we encourage you to be on the lookout for which deserving veterans you would like to nominate from your company now.

After the Top 10 award finalists were recognized at the Great American Trucking Show, Troy along with runners-up Russell Hardy and Kevin Scott went through a voting process where America selected their favorite driver.

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Each Transition Trucking finalist displayed exceptional success in the trucking industry and tied that achievement in some way back to their military training and displayed incredible examples of what veterans can accomplish after they transition from the military into civilian careers.

Reflecting on his career as a professional driver, said Russell, “I have been drawn to wheels that turn since childhood. I grew up in the day when a boy’s most treasured possessions almost always included a prized collection of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars...Now as a professional driver, I can support my family with those wheels. Because trucking is a career that I enjoy, I tend to be less stressed and more energized...The time I spend out on the road, I spend listening to a wide variety of audio books. My truck cab, therefore, is like a wondrous classroom. This education and higher learning is uplifting and instills confidence in me.”

Kevin agreed that his trucking career instills that same confidence: “Choosing this career has given me a sense of pride. Each week, every load is like a deployment. You go for a week and do your job at hand, and then home time is for demobilization. I enjoy the fact that when I am at work, I am truly at work, but my home time is solely devoted to my family. Our goal at my company is “Destination: Excellence” and that goal goes hand-in-hand with the personal goals I have set for myself, from my military career to my personal life.”

"This is a life changing event,” Troy said as he took the keys to his new Kenworth T680 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce where the announcement took place. “I'm not going to let anybody down. It's very humbling, and I am honored to be here today to accept the keys of that pretty truck out there."

The Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence Award is currently seeking sponsors to ensure we can continue improving the lives of incredible Veterans like Troy, Russell and Kevin. For more information on this opportunity, please watch the video below.

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

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In an effort to curb the driver shortage and create immediate jobs for transitioning military personnel, the U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes Program (HOH), Kenworth, and FASTPORT have come together to award a fully-loaded T680 to a deserving veteran who enters the trucking industry.

Since  nominations closed on June 30th, the exceptional pool of candidates has been narrowed to the elite Top 10. 

The 10 finalists include:

  • Robyn Hyde, MSR Transport (Central Tech Truck Driver Training) — U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve
  • Russell Hardy, Trimac Transportation (International Schools) — U.S. Navy and U.S. Army
  • Edward Cavanagh, Stevens Transport (Ft Hood-Stevens Training Academy, Central Texas College) — U.S. Army and U.S. Army National Guard
  • Steven Cassaday, Averitt (Miller-Motte Technical College) — U.S Coast Guard
  • Christopher Phillip Fox, EPES Transport System (Johnson Community College) — U.S. Army
  • Jonathan Perez, TMC Transportation (National Tractor Trailer School) — U.S. Air Force
  • Kevin Scott, TMC Transportation (Truck Drivers Institute) — U.S. Army
  • Eli Tollinchi, Werner Enterprises (Roadmaster Driving School) — U.S. Coast Guard
  • Troy Davidson, Werner Enterprises (Truck Driver Institute) — U.S. Navy
  • Brandon Douglas, Melton Truck Lines (American Truck Training) — U.S. Marine Corps

"Our selection committee was continually impressed with each nomination submitted to the Transition Trucking Award, and narrowing to the Top 10 was no easy task,” said FASTPORT President Brad Bentley. “Each of these finalists have shown exceptional success in the trucking industry and has tied that success in some way back to their military training. It is even more evidence that the military hard-wires our veterans to succeed in trucking that each of the five United States military branches are represented in the Top 10 finalists.”

The Top 10 Finalists will be recognized at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, TX on August 26, 2016 where the Final 3 will be announced. In addition to receiving prize packs, the remaining contestants will be interviewed by Hiring America and create a video profile, which will be posted on Hiring America’s website where the general public can vote for their favorite finalist.

For more information, please visit transitiontrucking.org.