Thursday, October 27, 2016
State Champion Holland Competitors Cruise to NTDC
From August 10-13, 2016 some of the very "best of the best" drivers in the United States competed at the 79th annual National Truck Driving Championships (NTDC) in Indianapolis, IN. The event, referred to as the "Super Bowl of Safety," is the premier stage for professional driver safety skills. It challenges the nation's most talented and knowledgeable transportation professionals to navigate complex maneuverability courses, demonstrate driving and inspection skills, knowledge and professionalism, personal interview, pre-trip inspection test, and take detailed written exams on laws, regulations and equipment.
Qualifying for the NTDC is a major accomplishment in and of itself. Competitors must first have taken gold at their respective state-level competitions, and also have maintained a collision-free driving record for the entire year prior. That means that each NTDC participant is already a champion before ever setting foot on the convention center floor.
This year, Holland was well-represented by two such champions: NTDC veterans Dennis Cole (Kansas City, KS) and Russell Simpson (Columbus, OH).
Dennis Cole has been driving professionally for 44 years and has spent the past 10 years as a city driver with Holland. This was his sixth year competing in TDCs and his third time qualifying for national competitions. In his very first year competing in TDCs, Dennis took top honors in the state of Kansas, and was named Kansas Rookie of the Year. This year, Dennis continued his winning ways by placing first in the Straight Truck class at the Kansas State Truck Driving Competitions in June.
Not only did Dennis qualify for the NTDC this year, but he actually placed as a Top 5 finalist in the nation in the Straight Truck category. That means that Dennis finished in the top 10% of competitors in his class! Although he didn't ultimately walk away with a trophy, Dennis made us proud at Team Holland and solidified his position as one of the most elite Straight Truck drivers in the country!
Dennis Cole’s love of the big rig and the open road began at an early age. His father was a truck driver in the 1960s, and Dennis grew up sitting passenger in his cab. He started driving professionally himself at the young age of 18 and--other than a year-long stint with the postal service--has been driving trucks ever since.
When it comes to safety, Dennis emphasizes preparedness and foresight. "Look far ahead so you are anticipating an occurrence rather than just responding to what is directly in front of you," Dennis said. "You need those extra moments to react if something happens."
Dennis currently operates as a city driver out of the Holland Kansas City, KS terminal He has logged approximately 4.8 million miles over his career, providing him with a whole lot of the practice necessary for success.
Our second NTDC competitor, Russell Simpson, and our second Holland driver to be chosen as an ATA Road Team Captain, is also no stranger to Ohio TDC success.
Russell has been driving for 29 years, the past 22 of which he's spent as a city driver for Holland. He currently operates as a city driver out of our Columbus, OH service center and has racked up over 2.5 million collision-free miles over the course of his career.
Not only did Russ go to Indianapolis as a safety representative of Holland, he was also representing America’s Road Team. Last year, Russ was selected for the prestious position of 2015-2016 America’s Road Team Captain by the American Trucking Association. The Road Team travels the country promoting safety and championing the importance of trucking in our daily lives.
"Safety is very important," said Russ. "As a truck driver, you’re in charge of a very heavy vehicle and surrounded by a lot of traffic. That’s a huge responsibility and one that every driver needs to take very seriously. Competing in these events is my way of improving my skills, and showing respect for the company by giving back the best way I can."
He first started competing in 2008, and has taken top honors in the state of Ohio four times since then. Just like Dennis, Russell also won Rookie of the Year his first time competing at the state-level. He earned his ticket to the NTDC this year by placing first in the Tanker class at the 2016 Ohio Truck Driving Championships. Russ put forth an excellent performance and made Holland proud.
Congratulations to Dennis and Russ on yet another year of safety success!
Their dedication to safety and self-improvement has made them ambassadors for both Holland and the industry.
Talented drivers like Dennis and Russ are essential to our success, and we are thankful to have them on Team Holland. We thank them for continuously working to improve their safety skills and putting forth the extra efforts required to be a safety champion.
It is with great pride and appreciation that we congratulate them on their safety success. Safety dedicated drivers like Dennis and Russ are essential to maintaining our industry-leading level of customer service here at Holland. As the stewards of our customers’ cargo, safe drivers like these provide the reliability and security that our customers need.
Many thanks to Dennis and Russ, and to all of our talented Holland drivers, for helping to make Holland great! We thank you for all of your hard work and your sustained commitment to safety!