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August 12, 2016 10:00 PM, EDT

Arizona's Daniel Voelker Named NAIC Grand Champion

John Sommers II for Transport Topics
INDIANAPOLIS — Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper Daniel Voelker has been named grand champion of the 2016 North American Inspectors Championship.

Voelker, 39, was presented the Jimmy K. Ammons Award, the highest honor for roadside inspectors, at a ceremony here Aug. 12.

Voelker has been in law enforcement for nearly 17 years, but a highway patrolman since 2006. He has been a commercial motor vehicle inspector since 2011.

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Voelker won three other awards, including first place in the North American Standard Level I Inspection category, second place in the North American Standard Hazardous Materials/Transportation of Dangerous Goods and Cargo Tank/Bulk Packagings Inspection category, and first place in the United States High Points category.

“When they called my name, I thought it was a misprint,” Voelker said. “I’m just blown away right now.”

He attributes his success, in part, to being consistent in following correct inspection protocol.

“But what helped me the most was being an instructor,” Voelker said. “I’m also a master instructor for the National Training Center. Not only are you helping the students that are new to the industry learn, but you learn something from every single class that you teach.”

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s National Training Center is a focal point for training federal, state and local government officials in the areas of commercial driver and vehicle inspection, drug interdiction, intelligent transportation systems, compliance and enforcement, and highway safety.

Voelker resides in Globe, Arizona, which is 80 miles east of Phoenix. He is married and the father of four.

A special award, the John Youngblood Award of Excellence, is an honor NAIC contestants grant to a fellow NAIC inspector who exemplifies the high standards and an unwavering dedication to the profession. This year, the 48 contestants voted to present the Youngblood Award to Nicholas Wright of the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Awards also were presented for selected inspection events. They included:

North American Standard Level I Inspection — First Place: Daniel Voelker, Arizona Department of Public Safety. Second place: James Hamrick, Arkansas Highway Police. Third Place: Jeremy Usener, Texas Department of Public Safety.

North American Standard Hazardous Materials/Transportation of Dangerous Goods and Cargo Tank/Bulk Packagings Inspection — First Place: Benjamin Schropfer, Nebraska State Patrol. Second Place: Daniel Voelker, Arizona Department of Public Safety. Third Place: Nicholas Wright, Kansas Highway Patrol.

North American Standard Level V Passenger Vehicle (Motorcoach) Inspection — First Place: John Werner, California Highway Patrol. Second Place: Trevor Todd, British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Third Place: Jeremy Usener, Texas Department of Public Safety.

Team Award — Red Team: Trevor Todd, British Columbia; John Werner, California; Travis Randolph, Colorado; Nicholas Wright, Kansas; Daniel Krueger, North Dakota; Thomas Winton, Oklahoma; Charles Shaver, Tennessee and team leader Brent Alspash, Indiana State Police.

Also, an award is given to each inspector who scores the most points representing each of the three participating countries: Canada, the United States and Mexico. This year’s awards in the high points category went to:

  • United States: Daniel Voelker, Arizona Department of Public Safety.
  • Canada: Trevor Todd, British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
  • Mexico: Antonio López Nava, Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes.
“Roadside inspectors across North America play a vital safety role each and every day,” FMCSA Administrator Scott Darling said in a statement. “These dedicated men and women each year perform more than 3.5 million truck and bus inspections, which prevent 14,000 crashes, save hundreds of lives and eliminate thousands of needless injuries.”