And then there were three: The top finalists in the “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” recognition program have been named. The recognition program puts the spotlight on Russell Hardy (Trimac Transportation), Kevin Scott (TMC Transportation) and Troy Davidson (Werner Enterprises) as America’s top rookie military drivers.

“It was a very difficult choice to narrow our group of 10 finalists down to three,” said Brad Bentley, president of FASTPORT. “We have an elite group of drivers and we are in awe as to what each has accomplished, both in their military careers and as professional truck drivers.”

The list will now narrow to one winner in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring our Heroes Program, which is being conducted in partnership with FASTPORT.  The winner will be announced Dec. 16 and will receive a fully-loaded Kenworth T680 provided by the Kenworth Truck Company, equipped with a 76-inch sleeper and a PACCAR MX-13 engine.

According to Bentley, the public will be able to learn more about each of the three finalists via driver videos on the Hiring America website (http://hiringamerica.net/) before selecting who they think should be the ultimate winner.  The videos will be posted on September 26.

Drivers were nominated by trucking companies that made a hiring commitment and pledge to hire veterans on www.truckingtrack.org  or, by members of the National Association of Publically Funded Truck Driving Schools, or Commercial Vehicle Training Association-member school. 

“The caliber and professionalism of all those who were nominated in the award program is inspiring. One of these three deserving candidates will drive away in the ultimate ‘Driver’s Truck’ – the Kenworth T680,” said Jason Skoog, Kenworth’s assistant general manager for sales and marketing. “We truly appreciate the service and sacrifices of our military veterans and it is important recognition for the trucking industry to provide career opportunities for our veterans when they transition out of the military.”

According to Bentley, each of the three finalists has brought a ‘can-do’ attitude and level of commitment and professionalism to their trucking companies.  “That was very evident in the passion each company relayed in their letters of recommendation,” Bentley said. “And, really, it should come as no surprise. Military veterans are hard-wired for success in trucking. They are mission-oriented, understand the value of training, and are used to working in changing environments.”

Prior to entering the trucking industry, finalist Kevin Scott served as a sergeant, and was a 15 Tango Blackhawk helicopter mechanic and crew chief. 

"The military gave me the discipline within myself in order to be successful with this career; every load is almost like a time-sensitive mission, and you cannot be late for a mission,” said Scott. ”It also taught me to take pride in whatever task I might engage in, whether it is a simple task or major task." 

Russell Hardy, a driver for Trimac Transportation, served in the Navy and Army during his 20-year military career. “Overall, the military is a regimented and disciplined life in almost all aspects,” said Hardy. “Timeliness and deadlines are huge in the military. So, too, are the needs in the life of a trucking-industry professional. The military prepared me for a career in the civilian world by instilling a whatever-it-takes work ethic.” 

Troy Davidson joined the Navy out of high school, and became a jet engine mechanic.  “I remember back in my youth, I liked big trucks,” said Davidson. “I wanted to be a service member for my country as well, which the trucking industry inspired me to do.  It’s also a way to see what beauty this awesome U.S.A. has to offer, and had it not been for me joining the industry, I probably would not have been able to see it.”

For further information on the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award program, please visit www.transitiontrucking.org.