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Five Good Things: Teen shows passion for trucks, Chevron supports HBCU students

Feb. 9, 2024
This week in good trucking news: Pitt Ohio gifts school a Mack, a 13-year-old already owns Mack model, FedEx delivers the Super Bowl trophy, Daimler Truck employees donate, and Chevron continues to support HBCU students.

This week’s roundup showcases the trucking industry’s passion and generosity, especially when it comes to the next generation. You can read more about each instance in this week’s Five Good Things.

Please pass along good news for our weekly Five Good Things blog by email or through our LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter accounts.

Pitt Ohio pays school back with a Mack

To help future diesel technicians prepare for the demands of modern truck maintenance, Pitt Ohio has gifted a 2018 Mack Pinnacle CXU day cab to Forbes Road Career and Technology Center in the Pittsburgh suburb of Monroeville. The LTL carrier is based in Pittsburgh, with terminals from New Jersey to Chicago.

The six-year-old truck may not have all the latest technology and enhancements, but the powertrain—an MP7 engine coupled to an M-Drive transmission—is a monumental step up from the 1990s-era trucks the high school students were working with. 

The antiquated equipment lacked two of the most critical maintenance areas—electronic control and aftertreatment systems, which “didn’t set them up for success in today’s environment,” noted Taki Darakos, VP of vehicle maintenance and fleet services at Pitt Ohio. 

“Many of the high school vo-tech programs have not had the resources over the last 30 years to keep them current,” he added. “Some are better than others, but most need help.” 

This won’t solve the industry-wide educational challenge of familiarizing students with modern systems, but the gifted Mack, valued at $30,000, will make a dent in Monroeville. The CTC draws from nine regional high schools, where they spend half their school day in the classroom and the other half gaining hands-on experience. 

“This real-world exposure with our Mack tractor will not only enhance the students’ theoretical knowledge but also prepare them for the challenges and rewards of a career in diesel mechanics,” Darakos said.

13 year old shows passion for trucks

According to 13-year-old Travis Spargo, he developed an interest in trucks when he was exposed to them, falling in love with the entire world of trucking around the age of four. Travis hopes to build a career in the industry someday and envisions the B Model as just his first.

“The truck was bought at auction by Jon Bucher, who was a friend of my grandfather, Gordon, and my dad’s boss,” Travis said. “He had my dad restore it, and ever since, I’ve been in love with the truck.”

Originally a water truck, Travis said it needed an almost complete cosmetic restoration, with his father removing the tanker and replacing the pitted and damaged chrome.

Bucher, then-owner of HIS Trucking with his wife Esther, knew Travis had become vested in the truck over the restoration period. Recognizing he had an opportunity to further Travis’s interest in the industry, Bucher named him a beneficiary in his will, intending to leave him the truck. However, he decided he didn’t want to wait until it was too late to see Travis enjoying the truck. The Buchers gifted him the truck outright in late 2022.

“You don’t meet someone like him [Bucher] every day,” Travis’s mother, Talayna, said. “He felt he wanted to see Travis enjoying the truck while he was still alive. Not many people can say they realized their dream that they’ve had since they were three years old, but my husband was able to achieve his dreams by the time he was 20. I think Travis will follow in his footsteps.”

Since being gifted the B Model, Travis and his father have enjoyed taking the B Model to shows and making new friends who are interested in the 13-year-old who cannot drive yet owns his own Mack truck. Travis says that though the truck is restored, he still has a few plans for customization in the future.

“We like to take the truck to shows, so we might make some changes in the lights,” Travis said. “The truck doesn’t need anything, though—it’s in really good shape.”

FedEx delivers the Vince Lombardi Trophy to Las Vegas ahead of Super Bowl 

Thanks to FedEx, No. 1 on the FO 500: For Hire list, the Vince Lombardi Trophy is in Las Vegas for Super Bowl LVIII. A FedEx Express delivery van transported the trophy to the Super Bowl Experience, officially marking the first time Las Vegas and the state of Nevada will welcome The Big Game, as the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers are set to square off on Sunday.

“FedEx is honored to be trusted with the delivery of the Vince Lombardi Trophy ahead of Super Bowl LVIII,” said Brian Philips, EVP, chief marketing and communications officer at FedEx. “We make a lot of special deliveries at FedEx, and this is no exception. We’re proud to once again deliver one of sports most-coveted trophies.”

This year’s delivery featured a special trio of participants, including Bob Fini, a FedEx Express courier with 37 years of service and six Nevada State Truck Driving Championships; Jerry Rice, NFL Hall of Famer and three-time Super Bowl Champion; and Chanelle Houston, FedEx-HBCU student ambassador. Rice and Houston, who share a bond as Mississippi Valley State University alumni, had the honor of signing for the Vince Lombardi Trophy to officially welcome it to the Super Bowl Experience Presented by Toyota. Together, the duo showcased the trophy before inviting attendees to snap a photo.

“Seeing the legendary Vince Lombardi Trophy up close at Super Bowl Experience is a thrill for football fans across the country,” said Peter O’Reilly, NFL EVP of Club Business and League Events. “Our friends at FedEx ensure the trophy’s safe and timely delivery each year, which continues to be an essential part of Super Bowl Week.”

Daimler Truck employees and company jointly donate $370,000 for social projects in 2023

Every month, numerous Daimler Truck employees in Germany voluntarily donate the cent amounts of their wages to the Daimler Truck ProCent initiative. The company doubled the amount collected and used for national and international donation projects. In 2023, 54 projects worldwide were supported, with around $370,000 in donations. The funding amount per project varies between $1,000 to $33,000. The funds are mainly used for child and youth welfare, animal welfare, and nature conservation.

See also: Cummins, Daimler, and Paccar detail massive battery plant plans

“The ProCent initiative shows that even a small contribution can make a big difference,” said Jürgen Hartwig, member of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck AG, human resources and labor director. “With their donations, our colleagues and the company support a large number of social projects. I am proud of the commitment of our employees and want to express my sincere thanks to them.”

Michael Brecht, chairman of the General Works Council at Daimler Truck AG, agrees: “ProCent is the result of an initiative by the General Works Council, and I am delighted that many of our colleagues are committed to it every year—with donations or in the projects. I would like to thank them personally and on behalf of the General Works Council.”

Chevron supports HBCU students

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 40% of Black engineers graduate from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. However, HBCUs have been underfunded by as much as $12.8 billion over the last three decades compared to other schools.

As part of Chevron’s racial equity strategy, the company committed $7 million to seven participating HBCUs over five years. Funding for each school fuels scholarships, mentorship programs, and internship opportunities.

Jordan Washington, a senior biological engineering student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, is one of these HBCU students whom Chevron helped. Washington’s talent, tenacity, and tangible solutions to renewable energy wowed judges during a national business pitch competition. His winning efforts landed him a summer internship at Chevron—and fueled his early career path.

Washington’s career journey began at the 2022 Chevron Energy Innovation Summit in Houston, Texas. The three-day event is designed to discover the best and brightest engineering talent from HBCUs. During the competition, Washington and other select students from across the country were challenged with a case study about renewable energy. On the final day, they pitched design and business solutions to a panel of expert judges.

The event is part of Chevron’s $2 million commitment to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the nation’s largest organization representing the Black college community and a vital resource for K-12 education.

Hariprasad Janakiram Subramani, strategic relationship manager at Chevron Technology Ventures, mentored students during the competition. He and his team noticed Washington’s energetic participation and performance throughout the event. On the strength of that performance, Washington was offered a summer internship with CTV.

“I was impressed by Jordan’s enterprising personality, curiosity, and willingness to quickly learn new topical areas,” he said.

In May 2024, Washington will cross the graduation stage with his diploma in hand. Then, he’s headed back to Houston, Texas, to begin his dream job as an environmental specialist with Chevron’s Environmental Management Company.

“Having an early opportunity to land a great job like this is incredible,” he said. “I’m excited to start my career at Chevron.”

About the Author

Jenna Hume | Digital Editor

Digital Editor Jenna Hume previously worked as a writer in the gaming industry. She has a bachelor of fine arts degree in creative writing from Truman State University and a master of fine arts degree in writing from Lindenwood University. She is currently based in Missouri. 

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