Nearly five years after being named the inaugural “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” award winner, Troy Davidson continues to be a champion for veteran employment in the trucking industry.
“I want to see everyone be successful,” Davidson said. “If you have the desire to work hard and put time in on the road, I want you to reap the fruits of your labor.”
Davidson has a heart for mentoring rookie drivers. He isn’t afraid to talk to them about his professional experiences, both the positive ones and the challenging moments. He is passionate about guiding them and encouraging them to take advantage of the career opportunities within the trucking industry.
He candidly describes his transition from mechanic with the Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team to using his Post-9/11 GI Bill to obtain his Commercial Driver’s License in 2015. He is equally open about the transition to becoming a business owner and having his own LLC, Hook N Book Trucking. He chose the name Hook N Book because he is “always ready to hook up to the trailer and book it down the road.”
Detailed in his notebook of advice that he uses to mentor rookie drivers, Davidson shares his wisdom.
“Because I am the inaugural winner, I feel like I paved the road for what this award means and what the winner does in the long run,” Davidson said. “Like everything else in life, you get out of it what you put into it and I want to be remembered as a person who paid it forward.”
‘I Voted for You’
For the fifth consecutive year, Hiring Our Heroes, FASTPORT, and Kenworth are coming together to recognize one deserving military veteran rookie truck driver through the 2020 “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” recognition program. Kenworth will provide the top award – a Kenworth T680 equipped with a 76-inch sleeper and the PACCAR Powertrain featuring the PACCAR MX-13 engine, PACCAR 12-speed automated transmission, and PACCAR 40K tandem rear axles. This truck gives the winning veteran financial independence as he or she establishes a long-term career in trucking as a small business owner.
The nomination period is currently open. To qualify, drivers must meet four eligibility requirements:
- Have been active military or a member of the National Guard or Reserve
- Graduated from PTDI-certified, NAPFTDS or CVTA member driver training school with a valid CDL
- Employed by a trucking company that has made a hiring commitment and pledge to hire veterans on the Trucking Track Mentoring Program
- First hired in a trucking position between January 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020
Full criteria and online nomination forms can be found at the “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” website. The deadline for nominations is July 31, 2020.
The Transition Trucking recognition program started as an initiative to curb the national driver shortage in 2016. Currently, there is a nationwide shortage of 200,000 drivers and the demand is growing. Veterans and transitioning service members can learn more about career opportunities in the transportation industry at Hiring Our Heroes’ Career Community.
Hiring Our Heroes has helped more than 150,000 transitioning service members and veterans learn about career opportunities in industries nationwide, including trucking. This award provides an incredible head start to one veteran’s entrepreneurial career.
Davidson was named the top veteran rookie driver following a national selection process. During an awards ceremony at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., Davidson described that moment as a life-changing event.
“I’m not going to let anybody down. It’s very humbling and I am honored to be here today to accept the keys of that pretty truck out there,” Davidson told the crowd in December 2016.
Today, besides driving truck and mentoring rookie drivers, Davidson is working to get the Transition Trucking recognition program in front of as many drivers as possible.
“I really would like to see a bigger pool of candidates apply for the award, but a lot of people don’t know what it is and what it does,” Davidson said. “Who is that top rookie driver out there? Let’s find them through this competition.”
Frequently, he bumps into drivers who recognize him as the 2016 Transition Trucking winner.
“I’ll be getting fuel and someone will see the truck—everyone recognizes the truck—and (they’ll) say ‘I voted for you!’ and I’ll shake this person’s hand and say thanks for voting for me. Now we bump elbows, but still it touches my heart to think of all those people that voted for me,” Davidson said.
A Good Legacy
When Hiring Our Heroes reconnected with Davidson recently, he was in Waterloo, Iowa, picking up a newly purchased truck, the second one in his fleet. The truck was being retrofitted for open-deck oversized transport.
He still has that Kenworth T680 truck he was given in 2016, but he no longer drives it. Now, his first employee – one of those rookie drivers he has mentored – drives it for Hook N Book Trucking.
“I passed down what was given to me so that he can support his family through trucking,” Davidson said. “I think that’s a good legacy.”