Werner held its Third Quarter Associate Recognition Ceremony Sept. 16 during the heart of Driver Appreciation Week with President and COO Derek Leathers as emcee in front of a packed Conestoga building. Leathers presented the 3 million safe driving miles award to Michael Sheeds and the 2 million safe driving miles award to Robert Corn Jr. “These are special moments for Werner,” said President and COO Derek Leathers. “Together, these two drivers alone have accumulated 5 million safe driving miles, and that is what this industry is all about.”
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National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is in full swing at Werner’s terminals and other off-site locations. Check out photos from their events here: Full Album
National Truck Driver Appreciation Week provided the perfect setting for the SiriusXM Radio show “Road Dog Trucking News” to host its second live broadcast in two years at the Conestoga building on the Werner campus on Sept. 16.
Host Mark Willis discussed the latest industry news with Derek Leathers, president and COO, while Steve Phillips, senior vice president of Fleet Resources, covered current trends in equipment and sustainability.
Willis highlighted driver and veteran recruiting with Bob Synowicki, executive vice president of Driver Resources, and Jim Morbach, associate director of Government and Field Recruiting.
The host also spoke with three Werner professional drivers, learning about Freedom 1 from David Conkling, the rewards and challenges of life on the road from Charley Endorf and getting started in the industry from student driver Quentin Lee.
“I’ve felt the aspects of the family company ever since I started here,” Lee said during his interview.
“Road Dog Trucking News” is a daily radio show on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Trucking Radio on channel 146. Each weekday, the show tackles tough issues facing today’s truckers and invites industry executives and experts to weigh in while keeping drivers informed of all the latest and pertinent trucking news.
National Truck Driver Appreciation Week provides the perfect opportunity to thank the more than 3 million professional drivers who keep our country’s economy moving.
“We look forward to these opportunities, not just this week but throughout the year, when we can express our gratitude and respect for all of the professional drivers on the road,” said President and COO Derek Leathers. “The importance of what they do can never be emphasized enough.”
All this week, all Werner terminals and the majority of our off-site Dedicated operations will host cookouts featuring complimentary meals, food days, meetings and games.
Drivers will be presented with a Werner-branded gift, as well as other items donated by the company and industry partners.
In addition, our drivers can receive exclusive offers at the Company Store, including 25 percent off of purchases totaling more than $25, and participate in raffles for a chance to win prizes like flat screen TV’s, two NASCAR racing tires, a one-night stay at the Werner Valley Lodge and gift cards.
Speaking with professional driver Daniel Cantu, it’s easy to understand how he achieved 2 million safe driving miles. A consummate professional with a personal drive to always perform at his best, Cantu was presented the award at a special Second Quarter Associate Recognition Ceremony at Werner’s terminal in El Paso, Texas.
A Werner driver since 1994, Cantu knew at an early age he wanted to drive a truck, and he takes his career very seriously – right down to the very last detail.
“When you represent the company as a driver, you should always be well groomed,” he said. “Customers notice, and you feel refreshed and better able to perform your job.”
Cantu advises drivers new to the industry to take their time and avoid rushing.
“Take a couple of extra minutes to double check your equipment, and you will save your life as well as the lives of others,” he said.
Cantu referred to his 2 million mile achievement as a great accomplishment for himself and for his family.
Cantu resides in El Paso, Texas, and enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter.
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.