For the first time ever, three entrants represented Jevic Transportation in the National Truck Driving Championships held in Tampa, Florida August 17th through the 20th. The contestants were Greg Gravato Sr., straight truck, New Jersey, Ken Doane, four axle, Massachusetts, and Don Wertz, five axle, Illinois. All three were first-time participants in the Nationals.
All of us at Jevic are very proud of the three Jevic professional drivers who participated at the Nationals and all the drivers who took part in the State Championships. Getting to the Nationals is no easy task. Each participant must win a State Championship in their respective class and be accident free for one year right up to the date of the competition. It is rare that a first-time participant wins a state championship. Greg, Don and Ken were among only twelve "rookies" among the nearly 400 State Champions participating in the Nationals.
Competition was intense. Participants were subjected to a written test, a timed pre-trip exercise, a personal interview and, the highlight of the competition, a driving skills test in front of a large and very vocal audience that included a very enthusiastic contingent of Jevic supporters. In what was a significant achievement for a rookie, Don Wertz placed first overall in the pre-trip portion of the competition. His performance underscores Jevic's continuing focus on vehicle safety. It is interesting to note that Greg Gravato also achieved best score in pre-trip in the New Jersey State Championship and was New Jersey's "Rookie of the Year".
Jevic, a sponsor of the national competition, was very visible in Tampa. Our banners were displayed prominently in various locations including the Tampa Convention Center, where the competition was held, and at the closing Championship Banquet. A Jevic tractor and trailer were used in the pre-trip competition and were featured in the final day's "parade of trucks". The state and national truck driving championships provide a great opportunity to highlight the skills of our employees and the Jevic commitment to safety that begins with hiring "the best of the best" drivers.
The entire Jevic group had a memorable experience in Tampa. Our participants learned a lot about what it takes to turn in a Championship performance at the national level. All three vowed to be back next year using this year's competition as a springboard for future success. We would challenge each of our professional drivers to be there with them next year.