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Werner Enterprises driver Quinton Ward named top military veteran rookie

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WASHINGTON — As part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes Program, a former U.S. Army mechanic, instructor and career counselor was selected as the “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” top military veteran rookie driver during a ceremony Friday at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation here.

Winning driver Quinton Ward of Werner Enterprises received a fully-loaded Kenworth T680 Advantage, equipped with a fuel-efficient PACCAR MX-13 engine and top of the line 76-inch sleeper, from Kenworth Truck Company.

Ward comes from a family of military veterans and joined the Army after graduating from high school.

He received the Kenworth T680 as part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Program, which was conducted in partnership with the FASTPORT Trucking Track Mentoring Program.

Stevens Transport’s Christopher Young (Army active duty and now Army reservist), TMC Transport’s Platt Brabner (Navy and Marine veteran) and Summar Hanks of US Xpress (Air Force and Air Newsal Guard veteran), were the runners-up.

Young received $10,000 as the first runner-up, while Brabner and Hanks each received $5,000.

“Quinton Ward’s influence on transitioning service members as well as his dedication to personal growth in the trucking industry makes him a well-deserving recipient of the Kenworth T680 Advantage. We appreciate his service to our country, and we look forward to watching Quinton continue to grow as a driver and influencer in the industry,” said Kurt Swihart, who presented the Kenworth T680 Advantage keys to Ward at the event.

“I chose trucking because it gives me the ability to drive and see the country I swore an oath to protect and defend,” Ward said. “The skills that are key for success in the military are the same that we as drivers use every day. Time management, communication skills, flexibility and problem solving are the cornerstones that make a great employee and a professional driver. I see my future with the industry growing exponentially. I don’t want to stay and just do one thing. I want to see every facet of this industry.”

FASTPORT president Brad Bentley said the four finalists were determined by tallying scores from a selection committee. The four then advanced to an online vote on the Transition Trucking website (www.transitiontrucking.org), where people could view a video of each driver and vote their choice for the top military rookie driver.

“I had the chance to meet all the finalists at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas and I can’t say enough positive things about them,” Bentley said. “Their dedication to this country is unwavering and they exemplify what it means to be an American. They are all wonderful people who share the characteristics we look for when selecting the top military driver: hard-working, disciplined and dependable. Quinton Ward separated himself by his dedication to overcome six years of medical treatment to become a driver, as well as his work in helping other veterans’ transition to the trucking industry.”

Ward, who was injured while on active duty, medically retired in 2010. After undergoing six years of treatment, Ward utilized the VA Vocational Rehabilitation Program to earn his CDL. After receiving his CDL, Ward went to work for Werner Enterprises, where he is an active driver for the Operations Freedom program. Through Operations Freedom, Ward meets with veterans and other service members who are transitioning out of the military, as well as students who are considering working in the trucking industry.

Featured speakers at the special recognition event were Eric Eversole, U.S. Chamber of Commerce vice president and Hiring Our Heroes president; Patrick Murphy, former Under Secretary of the Army; Chris Spear, president and CEO, American Trucking Associations; and Bentley.

 

 

 

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Mexican officials uncover smuggling ring using truck disguised as freight companies

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Some trucks used in the smuggling ring had air conditioning units, but didn't use them when carrying migrants. (FOTOSEARCH)

MEXICO CITY — Mexican officials said Monday they have uncovered an industrial-scale migrant smuggling ring using tractor-trailer rigs disguised as freight deliveries for major companies.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said authorities found a tractor-trailer disguised with the logo of a major grocery store chain. But instead of groceries, it was carrying about 150 migrants.

‘The (grocery) company has filed a complaint, because it was fake, it was camouflage to transport migrants,” Lopez Obrador said.

In June, Mexico detected five freight trucks carrying 925 migrants, almost all from Central America. Some of those trucks bore the logos of well-known firms, though it was not clear if those trucks were also fakes or had been used illegally by drivers without the companies’ knowledge.

Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said that four or five of the freight trucks found in June belonged to the same independent trucking company, based in central Mexico.

Ebrard said the company operated trucks equipped with air conditioning units, but didn’t turn on the ventilation when carrying migrants.

That led officials to believe it was just a matter of time before migrants would die aboard the overcrowded vehicles.

“The biggest concern is that there is going to be a tragedy, that is what we don’t want,” said Lopez Obrador.

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3 Estes Express employees steal $23,000 worth of water heaters

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Richland County Sheriff’s Department says they have arrested three employees of a delivery company, after discovering $23,000 worth of stolen inventory in one of their homes.

Officials became suspicious when some retail stores reported that not all of the products supposedly being shipped from Home Depot’s West Columbia distribution center were reaching their final destination.

An investigation by the Sheriff’s Department and officials from Home Depot and Estes Express Line led authorities to get a search warrant for the home of Cody Bessinger. That is when they found more than $23,000 worth of stolen water heaters that Bessinger and two other thieves reportedly accumulated over one years time.

Authorities arrested Bessinger, along with Joe Gunter and Chris Shumpert, who were both managerial employees for Estes Express Line.

This begs the question…”why water heaters”?

Could it be that besides working for Estes Express Line, these guys had a clandestine plumbing operation on the side?

You might even say these three men are in hot water.

 

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FMCSA seeks comments on definitions of agri, livestock commodities in HOS rules

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The FMCSA has received several requests recently from agricultural and livestock haulers seeking exemption from certain aspects of the Hours of Service rule. (©2019 FOTOSEARCH)  

WASHINGTON – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Monday said it is seeking public comment on revising agricultural commodity or livestock definitions in Hours of Service regulations.

The agency said it worked closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on this effort to provide clarity for the nation’s farmers and commercial drivers.

The FMCSA has received several requests recently from agricultural and livestock haulers seeking exemption from certain aspects of the HOS rule.

“The agriculture industry is vital to our nation and we look forward to receiving input that will help clarify these definitions, improve safety and offer additional flexibility to farmers and commercial drivers,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

“The current regulations impose restrictions upon the agriculture industry that lack flexibility necessary for the unique realities of hauling agriculture commodities,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “We look forward to continuing to work with Secretary Chao on revising these regulations.”

Currently, during harvesting and planting seasons as determined by each state, drivers transporting agricultural commodities, including livestock, are exempt from the HOS requirements from the source of the commodities to a location within a 150-air-mile radius from the source.

The advanced rule (ANPRM) authored by FMCSA was prompted by indications that the current definition of these terms may not be understood or enforced consistently when determining whether the HOS exemption applies.

“FMCSA has worked closely with the agriculture industry and USDA in crafting this advanced notice. We have heard concerns from the industry, and we are acting,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez.  “We encourage all CMV stakeholders, especially those involved in transporting agricultural commodities and livestock, to provide valuable feedback on how the current definitions impact safety, compliance, and enforcement.”

FMCSA continues to work closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to eliminate confusion and align the agencies’ agricultural commodity definitions.

The American agriculture industry contributes more than $1 trillion annually to the nation’s economy.

The FMCSA said in a news release that the Trump administration has been working to strengthen the agriculture industry by streamlining regulations, bolstering farm programs, and renegotiating the outdated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to improve access to Canadian and Mexican markets.

Additional information on the ANPRM, including how to submit comments to the Federal Register docket, is available at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service/hours-service-drivers-definition-agricultural-commodity.

In June 2018, FMCSA announced regulatory guidance for transportation of agricultural commodities. Learn more at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/regulatory-guidance-concerning-transportation-agricultural-commodities.

 

 

 

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