Connect with us

The Nation

ATA’s National Driver of the Year David Boyer has been living his childhood dream for 45 years

Published

on

Honors and awards are nothing new to David Boyer. When you’ve racked up a driving record like his, recognition is bound to catch up with you, and in the last few years the accolades have been piling up.

Boyer, of Wytheville, Virginia, has been a professional driver for 45 years, the last 40 as a less-than-truckload driver with ABF Freight. In that time, he’s earned the 30-year Safe Driving Ring, the 35-Year Safe Driving Plaque, the 1-million Mile Safe Driving Award and the 2 Million Mile Safe Driving Award.

He’s been a member of the ABF Freight Road Team twice within the last 10 years, as well as an America’s Road Team Captain. In 2016, he was honored with the Virginia Governor’s Transportation Safety Award, and earlier this year, Boyer was named the Virginia Truck Driver of the Year.

The icing on the cake came October 30 in Austin, Texas, during the American Trucking Associations’ annual Management Conference & Exhibition, where Boyer was named ATA’s National Driver of the Year.

“It’s overwhelming,” Boyer said a few days after the awards luncheon where he received the honor. “There’s a lot of great drivers out there. I never dreamed I’d get selected out of all the top drivers that we got. It’s quite an honor.”

Even though it’s called a “driver of the year” award, it can be seen as something of a lifetime achievement honor. As far as Boyer’s concerned, the honor has been all his.

“You’re talking to someone who got to live out his childhood dream,” Boyer said. “All I wanted to do was be a truck driver. From the time I was 11 years old and I drove a truck behind an old corn chopper, I never wanted to do anything else.

“If the Good Lord said, ‘David, you can go back to being an 18-year-old and you can be anything you wanted to be,’ I’d say, ‘I want to be a truck driver.’ I love it.”

Things have changed a lot in trucking since Boyer started driving, not the least of which are the trucks themselves, he said. Back when he started, “Those old trucks used to burn as much oil as they did fuel,” he said. They didn’t have air conditioning or power steering or air ride suspension.

In some ways the job has gotten a lot easier than it used to be, Boyer said. But the real key to his success and longevity has been in being lucky enough to have had the right people in his life.

“Without having someone behind you, helping you, you can’t do it,” Boyer said. “I’ve been married to my lovely wife Pam 48 years. We have three kids, nine grandchildren. And my wife’s done a good job raising them. I was gone 90 percent of the time, and she done a great job.”

On the road, he got lucky early on, he said, when he went to work for a company called Blue Ridge Transfer and found a mentor in a veteran driver by the name of Henry Jenkins.

“He was a hardworking man, fond of saying, ‘we don’t have time to get involved in an accident,’” Boyer recalled. “He said, ‘we’re going to have to fill out paperwork, and we’re not making no money when we’re sitting still.’

Boyer said Jenkins taught him that to be a good driver one of the most important qualities to have on the road is patience.

“He never got excited,” Boyer said. “He never badmouthed the traffic. When we’d get in a backup, he’d wave to people.” Jenkins’ style became his, and he’s never let it go.

“I don’t get upset at the traffic,” he said. “We’re all out here sharing the road together and trying to make a living.  The way I see it, if you pass me, you’re my family, I want you to get home safe to your family just like I want to get home to mine.”

Boyer also attributes much of his success and satisfaction with finding the right company to drive for. Yes, it’s pretty amazing to be with the same carrier for 40 years, Boyer said, but you also have to consider that it also means ABF has been around that long. That shows this is a company that does something right.

“They don’t harass you, or stay on your back,” he said. He said when he was hired, they told him they expect drivers to use their intelligence and skill and discipline to get the job done. In return, he said, they’ve shown him the respect he earned.

Boyer is a strong believer life gives back what you put into it. He participates annually in the Mid-Atlantic Charity Fun Drive benefiting the Make-a-Wish Foundation and is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Professional Truck Drivers Association and of God’s Pit Crew, a program that provides aid during disaster relief efforts.

“I couldn’t have done it without working for a company like ABF that helped me do the things that I’ve been able to do,” he said. “They’ve stood by me 199 percent.”

He is particularly proud of the work he’s done as a road team captain, especially going to schools and educating teen drivers. He loves letting them climb up into a cab so they can see from a driver’s perspective when he explains things like blind spots and braking distance.

One of his favorite exercises is to have the teens get behind the wheel and pretend they’re driving 55 mph. He’ll tell them hit the brakes, then he’ll point to a stop sign set up 363 feet ahead and explain that’s where the truck would come to a full stop.

“You know you got them when you see their eyebrows raise up or their eyes get bigger or they say ‘wow,’ and that’s the best feeling in the world,” Boyer said, “to know you just showed that young driver something they’ll carry with them from now on.

“Someday, something will happen out on the road, and these kids will say, ‘that old man Boyer knew what he was talking about.’ And you’ll never know that, but you plant that seed and hope it grows.”

Receiving such a prestigious award would make it a natural time to reflect after 45 years behind the wheel, and possibly start pondering what’s next.

Funny thing, Boyer said, as a matter of fact, he’s been doing just that.

“I thought the other day, ‘you know, I think I’m going to make a career out of this.’”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Andrea Hansen

    November 18, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    I am so proud of my big brother. To think we started out as kids driving around the hills on the farm. As a teenager, David, had cows he milked and sold the milk to Kraft Foods. I guess he realized early on that it is a lot easier to drive a truck than to milk a bunch of cows. Although David says Pam did most of the raising of the kids, and she did, when he was home and able to attend ball games, it was a great treat. His attendance was anticipated by the friends of his kids almost as much as the kids themselves. You could always hear David’s voice encouraging the kids whether in football, basketball, or baseball. He was a proud dad and his kids were proud of him. We have always been proud of him and he is finally getting the recognition he has always deserved.

  2. Carla Norman

    November 19, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    CongratulationsDavid!!!You have always been a truck driver for a long time. I’m glad that you had a job that you liked and enjoyed so you could support your family.The Lord blessed you all the years that you were out on the roads.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Nation

WIT’s Ellen Voie wins inaugural Cinderella to CEO of the Year honor

Published

on

Women In Trucking Association President Ellen Voie, left, accepts a copy of the book “From Cinderella to CEO, How to Master the 10 Lessons of Fairy Tales to Transform Your Work Life” from its author Cary Broussard. Voie was named the 2019 Cinderella to CEO of the Year. (Courtesy: WOMEN IN TRUCKING)

PLOVER, Wis. — Women In Trucking Association President and CEO Ellen Voie has been named the 2019 Cinderella to CEO of the Year — along with winning her award category “Climbing the Beanstalk” — for cultivating an innovative improvement to the workplace to create inroads for women to achieve career goals and enhanced work-life balance opportunities for all genders.

The Cinderella to CEO Awards recognize women who have overcome obstacles to change businesses, communities and industries for the better.

The inaugural awards, inspired by the book “From Cinderella to CEO, How to Master the 10 Lessons of Fairy Tales to Transform Your Work Life” by Cary Broussard, honored 200 women across industries and communities who were nominated for the awards.

“Our goal is to accelerate the successes of women who have worked hard and helped others to also succeed by connecting them to opportunities and each other,” said Broussard, CEO of Broussard Global. “In 2030, women in the U.S. are expected to control 75 percent of the wealth in this country. We want the wealth to be in the good, caring hands of those who strive to make the world a better place.”

Nine category winners, including Voie, were recognized by a distinguished Cinderella to CEO panel of judges for their support of other women, their transformational ability to overcome obstacles and barriers, and their desire to motivate others to accomplish their dreams. Each award category is tied to a chapter in Broussard’s book.

“I am so honored to receive the very first Cinderella to CEO award, as there were hundreds of nominations featuring some amazing women who have done truly notable and altruistic projects,” Voie said. “I am especially thrilled to be recognized by an organization outside the trucking industry, which makes the award even more special.”

Women In Trucking Association is a nonprofit association established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. Membership is not limited to women, as 17 percent of its members are men who support the mission.

 

 

Continue Reading

The Nation

FMCSA explains Hours of Service proposed rule

Published

on

Here is what they have to say…

Continue Reading

The Nation

10 finalists named in search for top rookie military veteran driver

Published

on

Last year’s top military rookie Quinton Ward sits in the cab of his new Kenworth with Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. (Courtesy: KENWORTH TRUCK CO.)

KIRKLAND, Wash. — The top 10 finalists have been named in the search for the top rookie veteran driver.

Kenworth has teamed with the FASTPORT Trucking Track Mentoring Program and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring our Heroes Program to find the top rookie military veteran, who has made the successful transition from active duty to driving for a commercial fleet.

The top 10 finalists with their military branch and current truck fleet include:

  • Chris Bacon/U.S. Marines/TMC Transportation
  • Thomas Blitch/U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves/Werner Enterprises
  • Wade Bumgarner/U.S. Navy/Veriha Trucking
  • Joseph Campbell/U.S. Marines and U.S. Army/Roehl Transport
  • Keso Going/U.S. Army/Epes Transport
  • Steve Harris/U.S. Marines/Stevens Transport
  • Kevin Lassing/ U.S. Army/U.S. Xpress
  • Maliq Melton, U.S. Army, Melton Truck Lines.
  • Monte Morrone/U.S. Army and U.S. Marines/Prime Inc.
  • Tim Raub/ U.S. Navy/Averitt Express

Drivers were nominated by trucking companies that made a hiring commitment and pledge to hire veterans on www.truckingtrack.org  or, by members of the National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools, or Commercial Vehicle Training Association-member school.

“This year’s competition in the “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” program features an outstanding group of 10 finalists, who are representing their fleet and branch of military service. On behalf of Kenworth, we appreciate their dedication to excel as truck drivers in their new profession, and we are grateful for their military service to the country,” said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director.

“It is important for organizations across the United States to especially reach out to our veterans to help them make a smooth transition back into civilian life. This is one way that the trucking industry is doing its part,” said Brad Bentley FASTPORT president.

During the Great American Trucking Show August 22-24 in Dallas, three finalists in the recognition program will be announced as America’s top rookie military drivers. All 10 drivers will receive special recognition at the President George W. Bush Library during a tour and reception. The final winner will be announced in December.

For further information on the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award program, please visit www.transitiontrucking.org.

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Trending