PTDI Presents Don Hess and Ed Kynaston with Lee J. Crittenden Memorial Award


Orlando, Florida:

The Professional Truck Driver Institute, Inc. (PTDI), an organization that is in its 20th year of certifying courses at truck driving schools, has presented the 11th annual Lee J. Crittenden Memorial Award to two recipients: Don Hess, director, transportation and public safety, John Wood Community College, Quincy, Illinois, and Ed Kynaston, a retired chief of the California Highway Patrol, living in Elk Grove, California. The ceremony was held March 10th during the Truckload Carriers Association’s (TCA) Annual Convention at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, Florida.

The award is given to a person who exemplifies the overall message of the Professional Truck Driver Institute, Inc., of which Lee Crittenden was a staunch supporter until his death in April 1998. This is the first time in the history of the award that this honor has dual recipients.

Don Hess was first introduced to the Professional Truck Driver Institute of America (PTDIA), the precursor to today’s PTDI, in 1992. Two years later, when he opened a truck driving program at John Wood Community College (JWCC) in Quincy, Illinois, one of his first actions was to apply for PTDI certification of JWCC’s truck driver training courses.

He participated in hearings in Washington, DC, on mandatory truck driver training and has been active in developing and revising PTDI’s standards. He has promoted PTDI and its standards to numerous national trade associations, including the National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driver Schools (NAPFTDS) and the Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA). Hess has served on the PTDI Board for several years, including four terms as vice chairman. He has also served as PTDI staff representative or educational team leader on numerous on-site visits to schools for certification or re-certification of their courses.

Within his home state of Illinois, Hess has promoted and made presentations on PTDI standards to various state agencies and groups, such as the Illinois Trucking Association, local workforce investment boards, and veterans agencies. He presented PTDI as a solution for quality truck driver training to the Illinois College Presidents Council and personally met with several of its presidents to clarify the benefits. By strongly promoting PTDI standards, he was instrumental in the formation of the Illinois Commercial Driving School Consortium. He also promoted PTDI on radio and television programs many times when his school’s truck driver training program was featured.

“Don Hess has always accepted when asked to serve on PTDI committees or special assignments, such as the Standards Review Task Force,” said Robert McClanahan, director of transportation and safety education at Central Tech in Drumright, Oklahoma, and a member of PTDI’s Board of Directors. “Using the PTDI standards as a base, he and his school, John Wood Community College, are examples of what quality training and leadership can be.”

Mr. Hess, his wife of 35 years Pauline, and an adult son live in Quincy, Illinois.

The second award recipient, Ed Kynaston, was a founder and early leader of the Professional Truck Driver Institute of America. Kynaston managed the development and implementation of the original PTDIA standards and certification process, serving the Institute as its first president for ten years through very difficult, but productive, times.
In 1985, the Federal Highway Administration had issued a broad set of recommendations that incorporated standardized minimum core curriculum guidelines and training materials called the “Model Curriculum for Training Tractor-Trailer Drivers.” Because this Model Curriculum was somewhat cumbersome for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver training schools, Kynaston, along with others in the motor carrier industry, avidly advocated for a more streamlined system to train CMV drivers. This resulted in the creation of the PTDIA in 1986.
Kynaston invited a diverse array of individuals to join the PTDIA Board in order to maintain a good balance of representatives from the trucking industry, schools, and regulators.“He was totally committed to quality truck driver training and reluctant to compromise when that quality was challenged,” said Mark Johnson, director, Teamsters national training, International Brotherhood of Teamsters. “During difficult times, he fought battles with state and federal regulators and, to a certain degree, various segments of the industry to make quality truck driver training acceptable in this country.”
During his career, Kynaston received several awards for his extraordinary contributions to highway safety. For example, in 1992 he became the third recipient of the Truckload Carriers Association’s Clare C. Casey Safety Professional of the Year award. Today, Kynaston enjoys his retirement in Elk Grove, California, along with his wife, Lila, of 56 years. They have four adult children, four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Previous winners of the Lee J. Crittenden award include:
  • 2008 – Ray Haight, MacKinnon Transport
  • 2007 – Robert McClanahan, Central Tech
  • 2006 – Lana Batts, Transport Capital Partners & former president of PTDI
  • 2005 – Herb Fotheringham, PTDI Certification Specialist
  • 2004 – Harry Kowalchyk, National Tractor Trailer School
  • 2003 – Mike McCombs, Great West Casualty
  • 2002 – Virginia DeRoze, Truckload Carriers Association
  • 2001 – Harold Haase, Career Publishing
  • 2000 – Wade Murphree, American Institute of Technology
  • 1999 – Herb Schmidt, Contract Freighters, Inc.
The presentation of the annual Lee J. Crittenden award will keep Crittenden’s memory alive and serve as inspiration to others who get involved with truck driver issues. Crittenden helped many important industry activities get their start. He was passionate about promoting a positive image of the nation’s professional truck drivers, and was largely responsible for the creation of America’s Road Team. He also initiated a scholarship program for the drivers who participate in the National Truck Driving Championships. His greatest industry achievement is largely believed to be his part in founding the Professional Truck Driver Institute, where he served on the board of directors and also served as the finance chairman during the years of the Institute’s infancy. Crittenden worked for CitiCapital, the company that was instrumental in creating this award along with TCA.
PTDI currently has certified entry-level training courses at 66 schools in 28 states and Canada.