Professional driver Jeff Wessinger’s nickname might be Wild Man, but his 2 million mile accident-free award, presented to him at the June 9 Second Quarter Associate Recognition Ceremony, is evidence of quite the opposite.
Wessinger, a Werner driver since 2000, achieved his safety milestone about as quickly as it can be done, but he doesn’t let his success go to his head.
“I’ve got 2 million miles behind me, and the only one that matters is the next one,” he said.
As for advice for other drivers, Wessinger offered this: “Beware of vehicles with many dents, especially the ones with hanging side mirrors.”
A native of Swansea, South Carolina, Wessinger likes to spend time relaxing on his front porch with his wife and their five Chihuahuas, two bourgeois, one macaw and one parrot.
When you love what you do, it shows and such is the case for professional driver Gary Gray. His pride and enthusiasm were undeniable at the June 9 Second Quarter Associate Recognition Ceremony when he received the 2 million mile accident-free award.
A Werner driver since 1995, Gray has trained more than 50 students, offering such advice as “expect the unexpected,” “keep a proper following distance” and “know your limitations.”
Regarding his award, Gray said, “I just took the knowledge Werner gave me and my skills and applied them.”
The native of Rialto, California, enjoys photography, playing guitar and spending time with his favorite passenger – his wife, Jilbrette.
Bob Synowicki, executive vice president of Driver Resources, signed a Statement of Support for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve during a June 18 ceremony at Werner’s headquarters in Omaha, Neb. He was joined by Tom Bullock, ESGR chief of employer outreach.
“Werner is honored and excited to offer so many lifelong career opportunities for our veterans and their spouses,” Synowicki said. “We are proud to make this pledge and reinforce our commitment to support our military.”
The ESGR Statement of Support program is the cornerstone of ESGR’s efforts to gain and maintain employer support of the Guard and Reserve. The intent of this program is to increase employer support by encouraging employers to act as advocates for employee participation in the military.
“Today, supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units,” Bullock said. “Werner Enterprises is setting a high standard for all Nebraska employers to follow the lead in providing above and beyond support of Nebraska’s veterans, many of whom currently serve in the Guard and Reserve. By meeting the Statement of Support criteria, Werner Enterprises will stand proudly with their Guard and Reserve employees who continue to answer their nation’s call to defend our way of life. Their personal sacrifices are essential to the strength of our nation.”
Professional driver Gary Higgins is passionate about truck driving, but he also cares a great deal about people. With such a caring nature, it’s no surprise that he earned the 3 million mile accident-free award at the Second Quarter Associate Recognition Ceremony June 9.
From his long-time fleet manager Larry Donley to his many fellow drivers he calls close friends, relationships are important to Higgins, a Werner driver since 1989. He even summarized his career accomplishments by quoting a song from fellow 3 million mile driver Allen Parker: “I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.”
To new drivers, Higgins offers this safety advice – “Leave yourself an out, and never drive into your safety zone.”
The native of Derby, New York, takes great pride in participating as a trucker in Nebraska’s Special Olympics truck convoy, a charity he has supported the last 11 years.
Higgins stays busy with his two daughters, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. When it comes to NASCAR, he enjoys following his favorite, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
While the business of driving a truck is often considered an individual enterprise, professional driver Robert Fluharty has been successful both as a solo and a team driver. His years of hard work recently earned him the 3 million accident-free mile award at the June 9 Second Quarter Recognition Ceremony.
“I stayed here at Werner and made up my mind I wanted it,” said Fluharty of his accident-free accomplishment. “It feels great.”
For Fluharty, team driving has been a family affair. He learned how to drive from his dad, who also was his first co-driver. After that, he and his aunt hit the road as a team.
The native of Mesa, Arizona, and father of two had this advice to new drivers – “Put safety first, set goals, don’t take chances and don’t over drive yourself.”
When not behind the wheel, the NASCAR fan enjoys cheering on another successful professional driver – Dale Earnhart Jr.
Werner honored four professional drivers on June 9 for their safety milestones during the company’s Second Quarter Associate Recognition Ceremony at its global headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska.
Gary Higgins and Robert Fluharty were honored with 3 million mile accident-free awards, while Gary Gray and Jeff Wessinger each were presented with a 2 million mile accident-free award.
“Their years of service as well as their safety accomplishments exemplify a superior level of loyalty and commitment,” said Eric Downing, vice president of Dedicated Services.
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The Nebraska State Truck Driving Championships took place June 6 in Grand Island, Nebraska, and our Werner team of professional drivers took home third place overall.
Brad Graybill placed first in the Flatbed Class, earning a trip to the national competition in St. Louis, Missouri, Aug. 11-15.
Tim Dean placed second in the Third-Axle Class and received the Professional Excellence Award for achieving the highest score on the written test.
Chris Baade placed second in the Twin Trailer Class.
Rebecca Heck took second place in the Sleeper Class.
David Korkosz earned second place in the Straight Truck Class.
Brian Schoemig placed second in the Tanker Class.
Congratulations to all of our professional drivers who participated at state and represented Werner so well.
Professional Werner driver David Korkosz will be competing in the Straight Truck class at the Nebraska State Trucking Driving Championships in Grand Island, Nebraska, on June 6.
Korkosz, of Alpena, Michigan, has driven for Werner since 2003. Now in his third year of competition, Korkosz enjoys the camaraderie, the people and the fun. His first year, he won third place in the Straight Truck class and took home the Rookie of the Year award. Last year, he placed second in the Straight Truck class. This Saturday, he has his sights clearly set on first place.
When not behind the wheel, Korkosz enjoys playing guitar, fishing and spending time with his wife and daughter.
Professional Werner driver Brian Schoemig will be competing in the Tanker class at the Nebraska State Trucking Driving Championships in Grand Island, Nebraska, on June 6.
Schoemig, a native of Sacramento, California, has competed the past four years because he finds the experience fun and he enjoys the people. A Werner driver since 2005, he currently drives as a team with his girlfriend, Sarah.
The Navy veteran and father of three sons enjoys racing radio control cars, fishing, four-wheeling and mudding.
Professional Werner driver Crystal Varvel will be competing in the Step Van class at the Nebraska State Trucking Driving Championships in Grand Island, Nebraska, on June 6.
Varvel began her Werner career in 2010 driving as a team with her husband, Jim. After he passed away, Varvel stayed in the trucking industry and decided to take on new challenges – one being her first state competition this year.
From Valles Mines, Missouri, the mother of four girls enjoys riding and taking care of her horses, two beautiful gypsy vanners.