NTDC Winner and SuperTech Winners Honored at ATA Meeting
As part of their yearly Management Conference and Exhibition, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) recognized the 2015 winner of the Bendix National Truck Driving Championship (NTDC), which is one of the top honors the trucking industry bestows on its workers, as well as the TMC SuperTech National Technician Skills Competition winner.
The NTDC was held in August this year and was sponsored by Bendix for the fifth year in a row. This year’s five day competition brought in 431competitors from 85 different companies, representing all 50 states. Drivers who qualified for the contest throughout the year competed in nine different classes. Ronald Emenheiser Sr., a Walmart Transportation trucker from Yorkana, Pennsylvania, took home the coveted Grand Champion award. Emenheiser, who has been competing for a chance at the prize since 2006, has over 25 years of trucking experience under his belt.
This year, Emenheiser didn’t even think he was going to make it to the NTDC. “I was second place in the sleeper berth in Pennsylvania, and the first-place driver got disqualified,” said Emenheiser. “I’m still on cloud nine. I thought it was an outside to shot to even be in the top five, much less to win.” He almost didn’t get into the trucking industry at all. “My dad actually tried to keep me out of trucking,” said Emenheiser. “He tried to get me to do a different profession that would keep me home more.” When he does have spare time, Emenheiser spends it with his wife and three children and volunteers as a local firefighter.
The ATA also honored the TMC SuperTech National Technician Skills Competition award winner, Eric Vos, a FedEx Freight technician from Idaho. The Technology & Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations hosts the SuperTech competition each year, which is a contest for of skills for professional commercial vehicle technicians. Over 145 technicians joined the challenge last month, which included 27 written exams and hands-on skill tasks in the subjects of engine electronics, suspensions, brakes, fasteners, natural gas fueling systems and more.
While Vos won none of the individual categories, he was still able to nab the top award with his consistency on the tests. He’s competed twice in the past, but never one, so this year he buckled down. “I really hit the books this year. I was good with the hands-on portions. But it’s the book work that gets a lot of guys,” he said. “So once I mastered the books, it was really just a matter of following procedures and good maintenance habits.” Vos has been with FedEx freight for over ten years and has placed second in three previous years.
Bill Graves, ATA president and CEO, spoke at the event. “Throughout the country, the trucking industry is full of individuals who exhibit a commitment to safety and professionalism each day,” he said. “But there are certain individuals who have surpassed the call of duty in demonstrating that commitment.”
At the meeting the ATA also announced their National Truck Driver of the Year winner, James Hylan Grise, a Walmart Transportation driver from Lewisburg, Ky. He’s been trucking for more than 43 years and has over 4 million accident-free miles. The meeting also recognized three fleets with the ATA President’s Award, which is given to those who show innovative and creative ways to handle the issue of safety. The winners were Kenco Transportation Services, PITT Ohio and Roehl Transport Inc.