Organization recognizes two for outstanding support

May 1, 2009
The Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) has presented the 11th annual Lee J Crittenden Memorial Award to two recipients: Don Hess, director, transportation

The Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) has presented the 11th annual Lee J Crittenden Memorial Award to two recipients: Don Hess, director, transportation and public safety, John Wood Community College, Quincy, Illinois, and Ed Kynaston, a retired chief of the California Highway Patrol, living in Elk Grove, California.

The award is given to a person who exemplifies the overall message of the PTDI, the first non-profit organization to develop uniform skill performance, curriculum, and certification standards for the trucking industry, and to award course certification to entry-level truck driver training courses and motor carrier driver-finishing programs.

PTDI currently has certified entry-level training courses at 66 schools in 28 states and Canada.

Lee Crittenden was a staunch supporter of the PTDI until his death in April 1998.

This is the first time in the history of the award that this honor has dual recipients.

Don Hess

Hess was first introduced to the Professional Truck Driver Institute of America (PTDIA), the precursor to today's PTDI, in 1992. Two years later, when he opened a truck driving program at John Wood Community College, one of his first actions was to apply for PTDI certification of the school's truck driver training courses.

Hess participated in hearings in Washington, DC, on mandatory truck driver training, has been active in developing and revising PTDI's standards, and has promoted PTDI and its standards to numerous national trade associations. Within his home state, he has promoted and made presentations on PTDI standards to various state agencies and groups, and was instrumental in the formation of the Illinois Commercial Driving School Consortium.

He has served on the PTDI Board for several years, including four terms as vice chairman. He also served as PTDI staff representative or educational team leader on numerous on-site visits to schools for certification or re-certification of their courses.

Ed Kynaston

Ed Kynaston was a founder and early leader of the PTDIA. He managed the development and implementation of the original PTDIA standards and certification process, serving the organization as its first president for 10 years.

In 1985, the Federal Highway Administration had issued a broad set of recommendations, Model Curriculum for Training Tractor-Trailer Drivers, which incorporated standardized minimum core curriculum guidelines and training materials. Because these recommendations were somewhat cumbersome for commercial motor vehicle driver training schools, Kynaston, along with others in the motor carrier industry, avidly advocated for a more streamlined system to train truck drivers. This resulted in the creation of the PTDIA in 1986.

Kynaston invited a diverse array of individuals to join the PTDIA Board in order to maintain a good balance of representatives from the trucking industry, schools, and regulators.

During his career, Kynaston received several awards for his extraordinary contributions to highway safety. For example, in 1992 he became the third recipient of the TCA's Clare C Casey Safety Professional of the Year award.

Annual objective

Presentation of the annual Lee J Crittenden Award helps keep Crittenden's memory alive and serves as inspiration to others who get involved with truck driver issues. Crittenden helped many important industry activities get their start, and was passionate about promoting a positive image of the nation's professional truck drivers.

His greatest industry achievement is largely believed to be his part in founding the Professional Truck Driver Institute, where he served on the board of directors and also functioned as the finance chairman during the early years.

Crittenden worked for CitiCapital, the company that was instrumental in creating this award along with the TCA.

Previous winners

Others honored with Lee J Crittenden Award are:

  • 2008: Ray Haight, MacKinnon Transport
  • 2007: Robert McClanahan, Central Tech
  • 2006: Lana Batts, Transport Capital Partners and former president of PTDI
  • 2005: Herb Fotheringham, PTDI certification specialist
  • 2004: Harry Kowalchyk, National Tractor Trailer School
  • 2003: Mike McCombs, Great West Casualty
  • 2002: Virginia DeRoze, TCA
  • 2001: Harold Haase, Career Publishing
  • 2000: Wade Murphree, American Institute of Technology
  • 1999: Herb Schmidt, Contract Freighters

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