Top truckers

May 1, 2008
During Its annual meeting, the Truckload Carriers Association announced the top company drivers and owner operators for 2007. Doug Ladds with MacKinnon

During Its annual meeting, the Truckload Carriers Association announced the top company drivers and owner operators for 2007. Doug Ladds with MacKinnon Transport was named top Company Equipment Driver of the Year. John Gill, a contractor with Dart Transit Company, was honored as top Owner Operator of the Year.

Ladds, who has driven for MacKinnon Transport, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, since 1994, has logged more than 2.2 million accident-free truckload miles during his career. A member of his company's driver trainer team for 14 years, he now heads that team.

John Pipes, a company driver for Con-way Truckload Joplin, Missouri, placed second in the driver of the year contest. He has worked for Con-way Truckload since 1988 and has logged more than 2.9 million accident-free truckload miles.

Pipes is a past winner of the Missouri Motor Carriers Association's Roland Clark Award, a second place winner of the Missouri Truck Driving Championships, and a recipient of at least 11 major safety awards from his company.

Honored by TCA as the third best company equipment driver of 2007 was Steven French of Anderson Trucking Service. He has been with the Saint Cloud, Minnesota-based company since 1995. French has logged more than 1.2 million accident-free truckload miles.

Owner operators

The grand prize winner of TCA's Owner Operator of the Year was John Gill, a contractor with Dart Transit Company for more than 25 years. He has logged more than 3 million accident-free truckload miles in his career.

Gill has earned the National Safety Council's prestigious Three Million Mile Safety Award and has won every safety award Dart Transit offers. He also is part recipient of Dart Transit's Contractor of the Year award.

Billy Smith, also a contractor with Dart Transit, took second place owner operator honors. He has been driving for more than 20 years, contracting with Dart Transit since 1995.

Smith, who has logged more than 4 million accident-free truckload miles during his career, has received safety awards from Dart Transit every year since 1996.

Named as third place Owner Operator of the Year was Jimmy McSwain, a contractor with Sunco Carriers for more than 16 years. He has logged more than 3 million accident-free truckload miles.

McSwain was recently nominated for the 2008 Florida Road Team, a select group of eight truck drivers who travel the state giving speeches and representing the trucking industry to civic groups, students, and other public and private entities.

Both the TCA's company equipment driver and owner operator of the year honors are based on excellent safety records, unblemished work histories, and community and industry involvement.

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