Fresno, California Driver Sales Representative Paul Phillips Captures Grand Champion Crown at the Trucking Industry’s National Competition, Secures Company’s Third Consecutive Title
ANN ARBOR, MICH. – August 15, 2011 – Con-way Freight, a less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier and subsidiary of Con-way Inc. (NYSE: CNW), announced today that Paul Phillips, a driver sales representative from the company’s Fresno, Calif., service center, won the Grand Champion title at the 74th National Truck Driving Championships (NTDC).
Phillips is the third consecutive driver from Con-way Freight to win the national championship at the trucking industry’s premier safety and skills competition, and the fourth in six years. Phillips succeeds 2010 Grand Champion Carl Krites, a Con-way Freight driver from Sidney, Ohio. Dale Duncan, a Con-way Freight driver from San Diego won Grand Champion honors in 2006 and 2009.
A 35-year trucking industry veteran, Phillips won the title by outscoring 428 of the nation’s best truck drivers who participated in the 2011 competition, sponsored by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) over the weekend in Orlando, Fla.
A resident of Coarsegold, Calif., Phillips has competed in state truck driving championships for 15 years. This year — his second trip to the Nationals — he represented California as the state champion in the Straight Truck class. At the Nationals he took first place in the Straight Truck class, and based on his composite score, captured the overall title of Grand Champion and industry recognition as the nation’s top truck driver. Phillips has logged 1.6 million miles behind the wheel and has been a Con-way Freight driver sales representative since 1987.
“We are so proud to see Paul Phillips bring home the Grand Champion trophy once again to Con-way Freight,” said Greg Lehmkuhl, the company’s executive vice president of operations. “His performance at the state and national levels was exceptional, and truly represents the dedication to safety, professionalism and superior driving skills our drivers demonstrate on the nation’s highways day in and day out.”
“Every state and national competitor showed tremendous commitment to excellence, and the result was a fine showing at this year’s nationals,” Lehmkuhl added. “Congratulations to Paul on a career-defining performance as the ‘best of the best’, and to all our national competitors for their well-deserved accomplishments.”
Other drivers from Con-way Freight who placed in the top three in their divisions at the “Super Bowl of Safety,” included:
- Winchester, Virginia’s Michael Stickley, who finished second in the 3-Axle class.
- Buffalo, New York’s Gerald Thompson, who captured second place in the Twins class.
In their respective classes, drivers tested their expertise in the driving skills they use daily. The competition course challenged their knowledge of safety, equipment and the industry. The skills course tested drivers’ ability to judge distances, maneuver in tight spaces, reverse, park and position their vehicle exactly over scales, before barriers or around curves.
As the 2011 Grand Champion, Con-way Freight is awarding Phillips a new Ford F-150 pickup truck (or the cash equivalent). He also will receive a customized commercial Con-way Freight tractor displaying his name and championship title, which he will drive exclusively for the next year.
In this year’s competition, Con-way Freight fielded a total of 82 U.S. state champions from 40 states. They included state Grand Champions from 11 states as well as Rookie of the Year winners from eight states. Con-way Freight teams placed first in 13 states including: Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, New Jersey, Ohio, South Dakota, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia. In the corresponding Canadian event, company drivers won two provincial championships, including the team championships in Quebec. The 2011 Canadian National Professional Truck Driving Championship will be held in September in Calgary.
To qualify for U.S. state and national competitions, drivers must have maintained an accident-free driving record for the previous year. At the national competition, drivers face testing in three areas: a timed written exam, a pre-trip inspection test and a driving skills test. Each driver competes in one of nine equipment classes: 3-Axle, 4-Axle, 5-Axle, 5-Axle Flatbed, 5-Axle Sleeper, Step Van, Straight Truck, Tankers and Twins.
The National Truck Driving Championships bring together hundreds of the nation’s most skilled and accomplished commercial truck drivers each year. Since the first championships in 1937, 15 Con-way Freight drivers have been named National Champion in their equipment classes.
Follow Con-way Freight on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Con_way_.
Con-way equipment images are available at www.con-way.com/en/about_con_way/newsroom.
About Con-way Freight
Con-way Freight is the industry’s leading less-than-truckload (LTL) freight transportation company, providing guaranteed, day-definite regional and transcontinental service with exception-free delivery, on-time service performance and faster transit times through a single, unified network of more than 300 service centers in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Con-way Freight offers LTL freight transportation across North America and through Global LTLTM delivery in the United States from around the world. Global solutions include international less-than-container (LCL) ocean shipments from Asia through its OceanGuaranteed® service; U.S. and Europe delivery for inbound and outbound international cargoes through an exclusive alliance with TNT; direct service to more than 30 Bahamian and Caribbean ports through TropicalDirectSM; and domestic offshore transportation to Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., Con-way Freight is a certified FAST highway carrier and is C-TPAT/PIP, ACE- and CSA-certified.
Con-way Freight is a subsidiary of Con-way Inc. (NYSE: CNW), a $5 billion diversified freight transportation and logistics services company. For more information, visit www.con-way.com/en/freight.