Con-way Freight, an LTL carrier and subsidiary of Con-way Inc. (NYSE: CNW), announced today that Carl Krites, a driver sales representative based out of the company’s Sidney, OH, service center, was crowned Grand Champion of the 2010 National Truck Driving Championships. And noted Con-Way, five drivers besides Krites drove away with various top honors as well.
Krites, a 31-year industry veteran, captured the national title by outscoring 415 of the nation’s best truck drivers who competed in the 73rd annual competition, conducted by the American Trucking Assns.(ATA) last week in Columbus, OH. Krites has been a Con-way Freight driver sales representative since 1998.
A resident of Wapakoneta, OH, Krites has participated in state truck driving championships since 2002. This year marked his first trip to the national competition, representing Ohio as the state champion in the Tankers class. At the Nationals he took first place in the Tankers class, and based on his composite score, captured the overall title of Grand Champion and with that, industry recognition as the nation’s top truck driver
Krites brings home the national title to Con-way Freight for the second consecutive year, taking over the crown from his colleague Dale Duncan, a Con-way Freight driver from San Diego, who was last year’s Grand Champion.
Also at the “Super Bowl of Safety,” five other Con-way Freight drivers won accolades:
• Pasco, WA’s Ken Jensen Jr. finished second in the 3-Axle division.
• San Diego, CA’s Dale Duncan captured third place in the Tankers category.
• Providence, RI’s Joseph Hicks came away with the Rookie of the Year trophy, the second year in a row a Con-way Freight driver has been so honored.
• Phoenix, AZ’s Ina Daly was the only competitor to achieve a perfect score on the written exam.
• Norcross, GA’s Dennis Day received the prestigious Neill Darmstadter Professional Excellence Award, conferred on the competitor who demonstrates outstanding driving skills, attitude, professionalism and frequent participation in the national competition.
“On behalf of the entire Con-way Freight organization, I want to congratulate Carl Krites on a tremendous milestone,” said John G. Labrie, president, Con-way Freight. “To go up against the best of the best and come out on top is a signature accomplishment that speaks volumes about his professionalism and commitment to excellence. We are also very proud of Joseph Hicks and Dennis Day for their achievements, as well as the fine efforts of our other top three competitors.”
Labrie noted that the company sent a record 92 drivers to this year’s competition. “These individuals are true professionals in every sense of the word, demonstrating the attitude, spirit and commitment it takes to be the best,” he said. “Yet I’m just as proud of the 920 Con-way Freight drivers who devoted the time to train, study and compete in state competitions across the nation. Their hard work, professionalism and dedication to our number one core value of Safety deserve equal recognition.”
As the 2010 Grand Champion, Con-way Freight is awarding Krites a new Ford F-150 pickup truck (or the cash equivalent). He also will receive a customized commercial tractor displaying his name and championship title, which he will drive exclusively for the next year. In addition, he and Joseph Hicks will receive special cash prizes for winning the Grand Champion and Rookie of the Year titles.
In this year’s competition, Con-way Freight fielded a total of 92 U.S. state champions from 38 states. They included state Grand Champions from eight states, as well as first place teams from Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In the corresponding Canadian event, company drivers won two provincial championships and team honors in Manitoba. The Canadian National Truck Driving Championships will be held in September in Winnipeg.
To qualify for U.S. state and national competitions, drivers must have maintained an accident-free driving record for the previous year. At the national competition, drivers face testing in three areas: a timed written exam, a pre-trip inspection test and a driving skills test. Each driver competes in one of nine equipment classes: 3-Axle, 4-Axle, 5-Axle, 5-Axle Flatbed, 5-Axle Sleeper, Step Van, Straight Truck, Tankers and Twins.
The National Truck Driving Championships bring together hundreds of the nation’s most skilled and accomplished commercial truck drivers each year. Since the first championships in 1937, 14 Con-way Freight drivers have been named National Champion in their equipment classes.