TCA Honors Top Three Winners of the 2007 Company Equipment Driver of the Year Contest


Paradise Island, The Bahamas:

In the 19th Annual Company Equipment Driver of the Year contest, sponsored by Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), Detroit Diesel, and Truckers News, three TCA-member company drivers were honored as the nation’s best. The awards, presented March 3rd during TCA’s Annual Convention at The Atlantis Resort in The Bahamas, were based on the drivers’ excellent safety records, unblemished work histories, and involvement in their communities and industry.

The three winners and their prizes are:

Grand Prize Winner
Doug Ladds

MacKinnon Transport, Inc., Guelph, Ontario

Doug Ladds has been a truck driver for 24 years, working for MacKinnon Transport since 1994. During his career, he has logged more than 3.6 million accident-free truckload kilometers. A member of his company’s Driver-trainer Team for 14 years, Ladds is now the Head Driver Trainer. He has attained certification as a Certified Professional Driver and is a member of the executive board for the MacKinnon Transport Drivers Association. Ladds is also the first driver to attain the President level of MacKinnon’s Road Masters Program, an initiative designed to recognize both a driver’s safety-first attitude and his general knowledge of the trucking industry.

Ladds is currently serving a two-year term on the Ontario Trucking Association’s Road Knight Team, a select group of ten truck drivers who speak to the media, students, civic groups, driving schools and other interested parties about the trucking industry, safety and sharing the road with trucks.

In 2001, Ladds received TCA’s Highway Angel Award for assisting three young motorists in a burning vehicle.

When not driving a truck, Ladds is an avid motorcycle enthusiast, with many kilometers logged with the Canadian Motorcycle Cruisers. As the senior road captain, he provides safety training for group rides and explains emergency procedures and maneuvers. He also volunteers for the annual Santa Claus parade held in his community.

In the contest application presented to TCA on Ladds’ behalf, Jeff Lehmann, safety and compliance manager for MacKinnon Transport, writes: “Doug Ladds is genuinely concerned about the Transportation Industry. He portrays the image of a tractor-trailer driver with a courteous, professional attitude. This is reflected by his continued efforts to enhance and elevate his personal knowledge and also to share his experience within the industry.”

As the Grand Prize winner, Ladds will receive the following prizes:

  • A Cummins engine-powered Dodge Ram pick-up truck
  • All-expense paid trip for two to the Grand Ole Opry
  • Roundtrip airfare for two to anywhere in the continental U.S.
  • A GPS navigation system
  • $10,000 in cash
  • $5,750 in truckstop gift cards
  • $500 truck parts gift certificate

Second PlaceWinner
John Pipes

Con-way Truckload, Joplin, Missouri

            Pipes has worked for Con-way Truckload since 1988 and has logged more than 2.9 million accident-free truckload miles. He is a past winner of the Missouri Motor Carriers Association’s Roland Clark Award, a second place winner of the Missouri Truck Driving Championships, and a recipient of at least 11 major safety awards from his company.

Pipes is a certified driving instructor. “One of my proudest accomplishments is that the students I trained are now approaching 2 million miles and have students of their own. I have grand-students,” he jokes.

When not driving a truck, Pipes completed basic firefighter and auto rescue classes so he can be better equipped to help stranded motorists if necessary. He also used to volunteer for the Route 66 Senior Center, helping to pack and deliver meals for the needy.

In the contest application presented to TCA on Pipes’ behalf, Randy Cornell, vice president of safety for Con-way Truckload, writes: “Not one to ask for favors, John quietly and humbly demonstrates and exemplifies the company’s principles, culture and values. He has successfully adapted to new technology in the industry and maintains a ‘down home’ w

As his prize package, Pipes will receive the following prizes:

  • An all-expense paid trip for two to the Grand Ole Opry
  • A trip for two to a Cincinnati Reds baseball game, including overnight accommodations, dinner and breakfast at The Cincinnatian and $500 for travel expenses
  • $2,500 cash
  • $3,000 in truckstop gift cards

Third PlaceWinner
Steven French

Anderson Trucking Service, Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Steven French has been a truck driver with Anderson Trucking Service since 1995. During his career, he has logged more than 1.2 million accident-free truckload miles. “He is authorized to haul loads up to 12’ wide, 14’3” high and 85’ long, which makes his safety record even more impressive,” says Scott Anderson, ATS’ safety director, in a letter submitted as part of French’s contest application.

French is a member of Highway Watch, the roadway sector’s national safety and security program that uses the skills, experiences, and “road smarts” of America’s transportation workers to help protect the nation’s critical infrastructure and the trans

An amateur photographer, French has submitted several photos to his company’s photo contest and has had his pictures printed three times on ATS company calendars.

While on the road, French takes great pride in stopping to help stranded motorists, particularly when he is traveling the Alcan Highway back and forth to Alaska. Over the years, he has taken a stranded and freezing driver to the nearest truckstop after hearing a faint cry for “Help!” on the C.B. radio, brought a mother and son to a safe haven after witnessing them crash into a guard rail, and flagged the driver of a small moving van to pull over because there was fire coming o

“I’m the guy you call in a pinch… The one you turn to when you need help,” says French. “I’m the driver with the big smile, who will help you put those dreaded snow chains on so you can climb the big hill… Throw those straps over for you, when you can’t reach.”

As his prize package, French will receive an all-expense paid trip for two to the Grand Ole Opry, $2,000 in cash and $1,700 in truckstop gift cards.