The Expedite Expo has always been a driver-friendly event but never more so than this year’s event, which will include the presentation of the first annual Expediter of the Year award.
The finalists for this year’s award have been announced, and they certainly represent the very best of an industry filled with outstanding drivers.
The winner will be announced at the end of Expedite Expo, which will be held Friday and Saturday, July 14-15, at the Lexington Center in Lexington, Ky. The winner will receive $500 cash for travel, two nights’ hotel accommodations provided by ExpeditersOnline.com, and an Expediter of the Year Plaque.
This year’s finalists are Robert Burton of V3 Transportation, Bob and Linda Caffee of Landstar and Edward Estes of Bolt Express.
Robert Burton was nominated by his wife and co-driver Christy Burton.
“Robert is so much more than an expedite driver,” Christy said. “Robert is an owner operator, as well as a great human being. He goes above and beyond to help anyone that needs him, not just in the expedite industry. Robert gives great advice to anyone that asks for it, whether they be in a cargo van, sprinter, straight truck or tractor. He reaches out to drivers in need and provides them food or money if they need it whilst miles are down.”
Christy said her husband is always ready and willing to help anyone who needs it.
“What truly makes him a hero is what he does every day,” she said. “Anytime he sees someone who needs help, he offers it. From the driver that had a severed battery cable, to the little old lady on the side of the road with a flat tire. He put himself in danger to put out a car fire in Texas. When he couldn’t put it out, he closed the highway to avoid other motorists from getting hurt. Why? Because there were numerous bottles of oxygen in that burning car.”
Christy said Robert has done many other heroic things — things like paying for a headstone for a young girl who was murdered and stopping to offer cold drinks to a broken-down military convoy. “Too many of us rush through our day and forget about reality,” Christy said. “Not Robert. Robert thinks to himself: “What if it was us? What if we were stranded? What if we need help? Would people stop?”
Robert said he has been with V3 Transportation since August 2016, after eight years with XPO Express. He drives a 2005 Western Star and limits his speed to 65 or 66 miles per hour to conserve fuel.
On the road, Robert enjoys flying his drone and taking pictures of the scenery.
He has a passion for volunteering, whether it’s installing fans at the local gun club, helping Girl Scouts build rockets, buying school supplies for needy children, or participating in a touch-a-truck event at his local library.
“I brought my purple Western Star down, and allowed the children to have free rein,” he said. “The organizer of the event was so thrilled that I was able to make it, as one special needs child was hoping and praying for a purple truck.”
Bob and Linda Caffee were nominated by Jeff Hurley, vice president of LTL, Expedited and International Services for Landstar.
The Caffees began their driving careers in 2000 and moved into the expedite market in 2005.
“In addition to driving, Bob and Linda dedicate countless time to advocating and supporting the transportation business,” Hurley said. “They perform workshops to advise other drivers how to be an efficient owner-operator including performing safely and running a small business in trucking. They frequently blog stories about truck driving. They also write articles for industry trade magazines. Bob and Linda are members of the Freightliner Run Smart team. They have written a book titled ‘Life of an American Truck Driver.’ Bob and Linda have a Petro Truck Stop named after them in North Las Vegas, Nev.- Store No. 331, The Bob and Linda Caffee Stopping Center.”
The Caffees drive a 2015 Cascadia Evolution that they enter in competitions and safety challenges to promote good and safe driving.
“They serve as advisors to other drivers and are always available to support the trucking industry,” Hurley said.
The Caffees are active in Women in Trucking and support the St. Christopher Truckers Development Relief Fund. Both are lifetime members of OOIDA and Linda is president of the board of directors for Trucker Buddy. They also are members of the Western Truck Alliance and Trucking Solutions Group.
“They perform with excellence in all that they do,” Hurley said. “Bob and Linda manage their business with class and professionalism.”
The Caffees are eager to help new drivers, and to promote expedite trucking.
“The biggest thing we do is mentor, and we have mentored new people looking at getting into the industry, after they get into a truck, and to become successful,” they said. “We have mentored fleet owners on how to become fleet owners, how to get teams, and how to keep their teams. Many of the people we have mentored have gone on to mentor other drivers and it is wonderful to watch them giving back what they received.”
Bob and Linda have received some media attention during their careers, and they take the time to help give their industry a positive image.
“Whenever asked, we promote not only expediters but the expedite industry through magazine articles and interviews,” they said. “ We have spent hours setting up for pictures for us and our truck to be on the cover of Overdrive, spent time with a reporter from NBC Nightly News being videoed for a segment about our sleeper and our lifestyle as expediters. When we won the TA/Petro Citizen Driver Award we were interviewed often about the trucking industry as well as expediting. We have spoken at our local Rotary club about Trucker Buddy as well as Expediting.”
Another way the Caffees promote a positive image is by dressing for success. The Caffees’ clothing bears the logo of their company. Both wear slacks and button-down shirts, and Bob wears a tie each day.
“We have spoken at workshops and at meetings about the importance of dressing for success and being the face of the company,” they said.
The Caffees have also been involved with Trucker Buddy for many years.
“We have two teachers in France that teach English,” they said. “One teacher teaches high school students and the other has fifth, sixth and seventh grades. Each week a postcard is sent to the teachers and the students do a report in English about the postcard. We work more with the teacher in Saint Malo and send the classes videos of us grocery shopping, walking around truck stops, ordering a meal and so on. At Christmas, we send over handmade gifts to each student and at the end of the year we send over a gift to each student with a handmade card with their name. Last year we traveled to France to see our students and spent four days going on field trips with each grade. We were featured on the local news as well in the newspaper and they were all surprised we were there to see them and were not going to Paris. The students tried to teach us French, but we are very slow learners.”
Edward Estes was nominated by Chad Brown, director of driver relations for Bolt Express.
“Ed has completed over 70 shipments for 31,523 accident/incident free miles in 2016 and has a 96 percent on-time percentage rating with zero turndowns,” Brown said. “Ed is the most professional driver that I have ever met during my 20-year career in the transportation industry. He is a loving husband, father and grandfather. When Ed and his wonderful wife Dianne are at home they volunteer at their church the University Church of Christ in Montgomery, Ala., helping the elderly church members with their transportation needs. Ed represents Bolt Express and the transportation industry with a high degree of professionalism and integrity.
Estes said he has been with Bolt Express for six years. He has been accident-free with no citations for his entire career of professional driving. Estes currently drives a 2012 Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van.
Estes is a member of the ExpeditersOnline. com forums and a former member of the National Purchasing Managers Association.
Like the other finalists, Estes has a passion for volunteering,
“Currently I continue to volunteer for various needs for members of my church. I have also assisted stranded motorists whenever possible. One such instance was following a school teacher home for over 100 miles. She was returning from a teacher’s seminar and was stranded with an overheated radiator. I helped with a temporary repair and then saw that she got home safely since it was dark and her route was partially on rather isolated roads. I have also volunteered at the Expediter Truckers Show in Wilmington, Ohio and Louisville, Ky. Previously I coached Little League baseball and soccer teams, provided aid to tornado victims, and donated blood. For more information about Expedite Expo 2017, visit www.ExpediteExpo.com.