JLC Second Chance Trucking
JLC Seccond Chance Trucking

Five Good Things: Nonprofit helps former felons get trucking jobs

May 3, 2024
JLC Second Chance Trucking helps former felons start trucking careers, and the ATA, Navistar, Advantage Truck Group, and the TCA host competitions and honor award winners.

As summer approaches, the trucking industry is focused on awards and honoring the deserving. Learn more about these awards, winners, and the deserving 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.

Retired truck driver starts nonprofit to help the formerly incarcerated get jobs

Jerry L. Cox, retired truck driver and veteran, recently started the nonprofit JLC Second Chance Trucking in Siloam Springs, Arizona, to help provide opportunities for convicted felons as they re-enter society. He is partnering with multiple organizations to help them earn licenses and, eventually, jobs in the trucking industry.

Cox said his family, specifically his son, prompted the creation of his nonprofit. His son was arrested in Tyler, Texas, after committing a robbery. 

"It took me back to when I was incarcerated. And I knew what I went through. And even though I was an innocent person, like I said, the outside world, they didn't care," Cox said.

Cox claims he was wrongfully convicted yet still served time until his case was thrown out. Trying to re-enter the trucking industry, his checking of the felon box would turn him away from many jobs until someone gave him a chance at Dee King. 

Though Cox's son is only three years into a 25-year sentence, he said he didn't want his son to experience the issues he went through, so he created the nonprofit.

"What my company is all about is showing them that they are somebody; you can be anybody you want to be as long as you believe in yourself," Cox said.

As a veteran, Cox says he'll help homeless veterans as well. He holds a goal to have five to 10 trucks on his own by the end of the year. He's already partnered with multiple other organizations, which he said will help him exceed that goal.

ATA councils honor fleets for safety and security

The American Trucking AssociationsTransportation Security Council and Safety Management Council recently recognized several fleets for their commitment to trucking industry security and loss prevention efforts and safety on the highway and in the workplace.

“Truck drivers deliver 72% of all the freight moved in the United States, and motor carriers and their employees take great pride in getting these shipments where they need to be safely and on time,” said American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear. “Unfortunately, the billions of tons of freight transported on the backs of trucks are a prime target for criminals, which is why security, including cargo theft and cybercrime, has now been added to ATA’s strategic priorities. Our members are always striving to stay two steps ahead to safeguard their cargo, protect their drivers, and partner with law enforcement. We commend these motor carriers who are going above and beyond to put security and loss prevention at the forefront.”

The winners were recognized at ATA’s 2024 Safety, Security & Human Resources National Conference & Exhibition in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Transportation Security Council winners include:

The Safety Management Council winners include: 

  • 2023 ATA National Safety Director of the Year 
    • Steven Garrish, VP of safety and compliance, Old Dominion Freight Line
  • ATA President’s Trophy 
  • 2023 ATA National Driver of the Year 
  • 2023 Excellence in Safety 

“Safety is at the heart of our industry, and these carriers and professionals embody this principle consistently,” Spear said. “I want to congratulate these valued members of our industry for their commitment to safety and professionalism.”

Navistar dealer technicians participate in annual Top Team competition at Service Solutions Expo

Navistar awarded two dealer technicians at its Top Team competition during the company’s Service Solutions Expo in Kissimmee, Florida to continue its commitment to recognizing technician excellence. Ten International Truck, IC Bus Master, and Diamond Certified technicians across North America competed over two days in a series of skills-based contests focused on diagnostics, repairs, and maintenance.

Dan Myers of Roberts Truck Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, took home first place in the Bus Division, while Thomas Pianalto of Rush Truck Centers in Lowell, Arkansas, placed first in the Truck Division.

Myers is a Diamond Certified technician with 28 years of experience. At a young age, he knew he wanted to turn his passion for working on vehicles into a profession.

“This is an awesome experience,” Myers said. “I like to do the competition just to keep myself up on all the current trends and see how I compare to other people. I am always trying to better myself and do the best job that I can. This is a good opportunity to showcase that and compare it with other people.”

Pianalto is a master certified technician who was surrounded by technicians early on in his life. He grew up helping his father and uncles at their body shop. He has 36 years of experience.

“When I finish a competition, I look back on what I did and feel like I could always improve,” Pianalto said. “I always learn from an event like this. For technicians, having the ability to come and do something like this means a lot. The key is to never stop learning.”

The Top Team competition, launched in 2023, gives service technicians the opportunity to display their skills, knowledge, and professionalism as they safely and efficiently diagnose and repair different systems in mobile or stationary equipment.

See also: Traton leaders: Navistar supply-chain headaches nearly over

Advantage Truck Group hosts SkillsUSA Massachusetts Diesel Equipment Technology State Championship

Advantage Truck Group hosted the 2024 SkillsUSA Massachusetts Diesel Equipment Technology State Championship on April 26.  

“ATG is proud to help support opportunities for students interested in this career,” said Kevin Holmes, ATG president and CEO. “There’s a need for diesel technicians across Massachusetts, and SkillsUSA is an important part of technical education that helps build the employment pipeline for trucking and other diesel industries.”

The competition brought together the top 12 high school students in the state to vie for a chance to represent Massachusetts at the National Leadership & Skills Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, June 24-29.

During the event, students tested their knowledge of tools, precision measurement, vehicle components, and job interview skills. They also challenged their skills at workstations that included tasks related to engine diagnostics, electrical systems, brakes, tires, air systems, and more.

Josh Maillet of Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School, who works at ATG’s facility in Shrewsbury through the school’s cooperative education program, won first place and a gold medal. Maillet will receive four hours of training with a Master Diesel Technician at ATG to help prepare for the national competition.

Other winners were Nolan Lukasik of Westfield Technical Academy, a cooperative education student at ATG Westfield who earned second place and a silver medal, and Elizabeth Santos of Greater New Bedford Regional Technical High School who earned third place and a bronze medal.

This is the fourth year that ATG has hosted and managed the diesel equipment technology competition for SkillsUSA Massachusetts.

TCA announces new carrier recognition program: TCA Drivers’ Choice Awards—The Elite Fleets 

The Truckload Carriers Association recently announced its driver satisfaction awards program called TCA Drivers’ Choice Awards—The Elite Fleets. This program will celebrate and recognize the best carrier workplaces in the North American trucking industry based on professional driver feedback and satisfaction. Produced by TCA and in partnership with the University of Denver’s Transportation & Supply Chain Institute, TCA Drivers’ Choice Awards will highlight carriers who provide exceptional workplace experiences for their company drivers and independent contractors.

Only TCA carrier members can participate, nominations will open later this year, and the top-scoring carriers will be celebrated at TCA’s 2025 convention, which is taking place March 15-18 in Phoenix, Arizona. After being nominated, carriers and their drivers will be asked to complete surveys, which will be administered, overseen, and scored by the University of Denver’s Transportation & Supply Chain Institute.

In preparing for this new initiative and announcement, TCA surveyed its membership for their feedback and formed four working groups that helped provide input on the program’s structure, the attributes associated with satisfied drivers, and many other aspects of the program. 

“Recognizing and celebrating the best carrier workplaces in the North American trucking industry not only acknowledges the efforts of these companies but also promotes a culture of excellence and driver satisfaction within the industry,” said Jim War, president of TCA. “By partnering with a reputable institution like the University of Denver, the program ensures that the surveys and scoring are conducted impartially and with a high level of professionalism.”

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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