Upon meeting professional driver Paul Tomaselli, one truth becomes evident right away – he truly loves driving a truck. Coupling that passion with patience and skill earned him the 2 million safe driving miles award at the March 11 First Quarter Associate Recognition Ceremony.
Tomaselli has enjoyed a career with Werner since 1996, a choice initially based on his love for the color blue. He also treasures sharing his time on the road with his faithful passenger – his toy poodle, Dolly.
“I love my job, and I love to travel,” Tomaselli said. “I owe 1.5 million miles to Dolly.”
A native of Brandon, Fla., Tomaselli enjoys spending time with his wife, Hope, and his mom and dad. He also likes working in the yard, golfing and adding to his vast vinyl music collection.
Patient, reasonable and understanding – words used to describe professional driver Delton O’ Neal Jr. As a true testament of his character, he was honored with the 2 million safe driving miles award March 11 at the First Quarter Associate Recognition Ceremony.
O’Neal Jr. has driven with Werner since 1993, including 19 years with Temperature Controlled and, most recently, two years with the Van Network.
One constant has been his desire and ability to train student drivers; so far, O’Neal Jr. has trained 156 students. He takes great pride in assisting his students, listening to their concerns and demonstrating the correct procedures needed to begin their truck driving careers. He often reminds his students to pay attention to what they are doing, a habit he himself has found very useful.
“I have a great support team,” said O’Neal Jr. regarding his long career and milestone achievement. “That is why I am here today.”
O’Neal Jr. resides in Tularosa, N.M., with his wife of 31 years, Colleen. The couple has one son.
Werner professional driver Douglas Brittenham may be better known as Red by most, but his skill and patience throughout the last 26 years have lent him great success with another color – Werner blue.
Brittenham, who received the 3 million mile safe driving award at the March 11 First Quarter Associate Recognition Ceremony, is an integral part of Werner’s success with customers – from his safe driving to his courteous interactions.
When asked to comment on his achievement, Brittenham said it wasn’t really a goal he set for himself.
“I just drive, getting from point A to point B without a wreck,” he said. “Pay attention, it’s that simple. Pay attention to the details.”
A native of North Platte, Neb., Brittenham enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time with his grandchildren. He is an avid Harley Davidson enthusiast and plans to ride his motorcycle to visit family in Maine this summer.
Three professional drivers were honored for their driving excellence and commitment to safety during the March 11 First Quarter Associate Recognition Ceremony.
Della Sanders, associate vice president of Driver Relations, presented the 3 million safe driving mile award to Douglas Brittenham and 2 million safe driving mile awards to Delton O’Neal Jr. and Paul Tomaselli.
“Talk about Werner proud,” Sanders said. “These three gentlemen came from truck driving schools and were developed as new drivers in the industry to multi-million mile drivers here today.”
Sanders referenced the milestones in baseball terms: the average homerun is 370 feet; with 5,280 feet in one mile, it would take 14 homeruns to equal one mile. That means 98 million homeruns would have to be hit to equal the distance these drivers have safely traveled.
“I think it’s safe to say they have definitely hit a grand slam,” she said.
Not many can say they have enjoyed two successful careers in a lifetime, but professional driver Clarence Ward is one of the lucky few.
Ward, who received the 2 million mile safe driving award at the Dec. 13 Fourth Quarter Associate Recognition Ceremony, followed a unique path. After 21 years of service with the U.S. Army, he embarked on the new journey of professional driver.
Now with 20 years of experience with Werner, Ward enjoys sharing his knowledge. To date, he has trained 75 students.
“Pay attention and stay focused, especially in inclement weather,” he advises other drivers.
When not on the road, Ward likes to watch sports and is an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan. Residing in Marshall, Texas, he enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter, son and three grandkids.
Easy going and consistent is an apt description of professional driver Gordon Stewart, recipient of the 2 million safe driving miles award at the Dec. 13 Fourth Quarter Recognition Ceremony.
Throughout the years, Stewart’s driving experience has run the gamut of Werner services, including Flatbed, Temperature-Controlled and Vans. He also has driven on a team, as a solo and as a trainer.
“It’s been a fun 22 years,” Stewart said. “Compared to 20 years ago, driving today can be hard, but driving a Werner truck makes the job a whole lot easier.”
His safety advice to other drivers is to slow down and rest.
Stewart, an army veteran, resides in Lemon Grove, Calif., and enjoys spending time on his fishing boat.
It takes a talented driver to navigate a truck and trailer through Southern California traffic, but professional driver Robert Roper proves each day that it’s possible to stay safe in even the most challenging conditions.
Roper, honored for achieving 2 million safe driving miles at the Dec. 13 Fourth Quarter Associate Recognition Ceremony, was inspired to stay safe by his dispatcher.
“Safety is more than just a commitment. It’s a lifestyle – one inch, one foot, one yard and one mile at a time,” he said. “There will always be people who are going to test that.”
Roper, also known as Highlander by those who work with him, resides in Las Vegas, Nev. When not at work, he enjoys restoring classic cars, adding to his unique sword collection and performing in Renaissance fairs.
Professional driver Morris Clark knew the exact moment he wanted to drive for Werner, a memory he recounted after receiving the 2 million safe driving miles award at the Dec. 13 Fourth Quarter Associate Recognition Ceremony.
While in truck driver training school, he saw a blue truck and trailer pull in to a truck stop. Clark told his instructor that was the company he was going to work for, if they would have him.
“Blue’s my favorite color, and that was it for me,” he said.
Clark accomplished his safe driving feat through hard work and dedication.
“I listened and read everything that was presented to me by the company and applied it to what I do on the road,” he said.
He offered a bit of safety advice to other drivers – “Control the load. Don’t let the load control you.”
Clark, a proud native of Chesapeake, Va., has driven 22 years for Werner and enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters.
Safety is a family affair for Daniel Bjork, a professional Werner driver and recent recipient of the 2 million safe driving miles award. His wife, professional Werner driver Katherine von Magnus, achieved the same accomplishment about two years ago.
“I couldn’t have done it without my wife,” said Bjork, a 21-year Werner veteran who was honored Dec. 13 at the Fourth Quarter Associate Recognition Ceremony.
Described by his fleet manager as jovial, cordial and knowledgeable, Bjork offers a piece of advice to other drivers hoping to achieve a safe driving milestone.
“Pay attention,” he said. “Safety is an every day thing.”
When not on the road, Bjork and his wife reside in Federal Way, Wash., and enjoy spending time with their son, two daughters and soon-to-be eight grandchildren.
Werner Enterprises recently introduced a three-tiered Million Mile Safe Driver Truck Program designed to recognize professional Werner drivers who have achieved safe driving milestones of 1, 2 or 3 million miles with new trucks and accessories.
The new program offers professional drivers the opportunity to order new trucks equipped with an auxiliary power unit (APU) with 110-volt service and assorted accessories available depending on the safe driving milestone achieved.
“It takes a lot of dedication to strike the perfect balance between efficiently moving our country’s freight and ensuring the safety of the motoring public,” said Derek Leathers, president and COO of Werner Enterprises. “We are fortunate to have quite a few of these exceptional professional drivers on our team. Drivers who accumulate millions of safe miles deserve to be recognized for their hard work, and that’s what we plan to do with this industry-leading program.”
Drivers with 1 million safe driving miles at Werner are eligible to order a new truck with a special decal package, while drivers with 2 or 3 million safe driving miles at Werner also can choose from accessory packages and premium upgrades.
Werner currently has approximately 570 professional drivers eligible for this program. Overall, more than 1,500 professional Werner drivers have achieved 1 million or more safe driving miles.