The fourth annual Mike O’Connell Memorial Trucking’s Top Rookie award was presented Aug. 22 at the 2014 Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Texas, and one of Werner’s own was named a top 10 finalist – professional driver Carlos Nordquist of Fernandina Beach, Florida.
Nordquist, a 20-year retired Navy veteran and Werner driver since February 2014, has found the transition to the trucking profession quite seamless. While it was not unusual for Nordquist to have no direct contact with his wife and two daughters for weeks at a time on a submarine, Nordquist now enjoys being able to stay connected with them on a much more frequent basis.
“On the road, I can now call my family once to twice a day, if not more,” he said. “I really enjoy that.”
Currently a team driver, Nordquist views his career as full of opportunities. He plans to become a trainer in the coming months and has aspirations to explore other avenues within the profession, including hauling HazMat, flatbed and temperature-controlled loads, as well as being a Dedicated and regional driver.
As a driver, Nordquist is excited about what lies ahead for the trucking industry, specifically in the area of technology. He predicts advancements will soon allow more communication between drivers and dispatch and dispatch to the shipper, streamlining processes even more.
Reminiscing about the truck driving community of the late 1970s, Nordquist complimented the camaraderie and sense of unity shared on the road.
“This is an admirable profession full of hard workers; the image today needs to change,” he said.
When Werner says we’re family, we mean it, and professional driver Wesley Swisher is an excellent example. A 2 million safe driving miles award recipient at the June 20 Second Quarter Associate Recognition Ceremony, Swisher is actually one of two in his family to achieve the honor, along with his brother, professional driver Jackie Burns.
As a standout, reliable person who embodies what a Werner driver should be, Swisher has trained more than 200 students, passing on his knowledge and his professionalism.
This 16-year Air Force veteran has enjoyed a career with Werner just as long, starting in 1998.
“I am proud to be a part of this company,” Swisher said. “I look forward to having a long future here.”
What makes Swisher most proud is his family: wife, Susan; three sons –one currently serving his third tour in Afghanistan; one daughter, who is in the Navy; and six grandchildren.
As a seasoned professional driver, Alan Sheain Sr. is a valuable asset. Demonstrating reliability and consistency, his performance earned him the 2 million safe driving miles award at the June 20 Second Quarter Associate Recognition Ceremony.
A retired Navy veteran with 20 years of service, Sheain brought his mission-minded sensibility to his career with Werner, which began in 1996. The father of two sons, Sheain resides in Amarillo, Texas. When not behind the wheel of a Werner truck, he can be found riding his Harley.
Professional driver Stathe Papatheodorou possesses a winning combination – a zest for life and a loyal commitment to safety. Those characteristics and more earned him the 2 million safe driving miles award June 20 at the Second Quarter Associate Recognition Ceremony.
Papatheodorou doesn’t take himself too seriously, but when it comes to matters behind the wheel, he’s all business.
“I know when I come into work, I don’t need to worry about where Stathe is,” said Sina Overbay, his fleet manager. “He is always right where he needs to be.”
Papatheodorou, a native of Athens, Greece, came to Werner in 1993. A current resident of El Paso, Texas, and a veteran of the Greek military, he enjoys playing soccer, spending time with his wife, Ellen, and their daughter and visiting his family back home.
The hobbies of professional driver Dana Moulton include fishing, golfing, painting, building furniture and model trucks–all which require skill, talent and patience. So, it is no surprise those same attributes have carried over to his career, garnering him the 2 million safe driving miles award at the June 20 Second Quarter Associate Recognition Ceremony.
Moulton, a proud native of Nashua, New Hampshire, began his driving career in 1975. After leaving the business to pursue other opportunities, it wasn’t long before he returned to the open road. Moulton joined Werner in 1993, initially out of the love for the color blue, and has since enjoyed 21 successful years and counting.
“Look at it as a lifestyle and you will enjoy doing it,” he said of his profession.
While Moulton is very passionate about trucking and enthusiastic about his other interests, what brings him the most joy is spending time with his two daughters and his grandson.
The June 20 Second Quarter Associate Recognition Ceremony recognized the superior skills and dedicated safety efforts of four Werner professional drivers.
Senior Executive Vice President of Specialized Services Marty Nordlund presented 2 million safe driving mile awards to Dana Moulton, Stathe Papatheodorou, Alan Sheain Sr. and Wesley Swisher.
“At 52 miles per hour, it takes 39,000 hours or four and a half years behind the wheel to reach 2 million miles,” Nordlund said. “These gentlemen did the equivalent of that while driving a tractor trailer that weighs 80,000 pounds.”
With more than 75 years of combined Werner driving experience, these drivers exemplify the talents and commitment desired in all of our professional drivers.
Of Werner’s approximately 8,800 active drivers, only 101 have achieved 2 million safe driving miles.
While Memorial Day marks the start of summer and a weekend of gatherings with family and friends, the true purpose of this federal holiday is to commemorate the United States men and women who lost their lives serving our country in the military.
Let Memorial Day be a reminder of the rich history of America and the sacrifices made on behalf of our freedom. Visit a war memorial, fly your flag half-mast or find your own way to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. As always, be safe in your travels.
In recognition of the achievements of professional Werner driver Charley Endorf, 2014 Citizen Driver Award recipient, an unveiling ceremony was held May 17 to rename the I-80 and exit 353 Petro Stopping Centers in York, Neb., in his honor.
“Today, we honor Charley’s status as a Citizen Driver by showcasing his name on two places of the building, not just for a year or six months or a day, but forever as the Charley Endorf York Stopping Center,” said Greg Frary, director of Fleet Maintenance Support for TravelCenters of America/Petro.
A Werner driver and owner operator since 1976, Endorf is the only Werner driver, and one of only a few in the industry’s history, to achieve the milestone of 5 million safe driving miles.
“You have to decide you want to implement integrity and character in what you do. Those are the things that have led me into this wonderful career that I have,” Endorf said. “I consider myself the luckiest guy in the world. I always have felt that way, and I do so especially today, too.”
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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.