October 29, 2018 5:30 PM, EDT

ATA Honors Four With Mike Russell Awards for Industry Efforts

2018 Mike Russell Award winners2018 Mike Russell Award winners by John Sommers II for Transport Topics

AUSTIN, Texas — American Trucking Associations recognized a motor carrier, a trucking organization, a travel center operator and a professional driver with Mike Russell Trucking Image Awards on Oct. 29.

The award honors people or groups who use innovative approaches to improving the trucking industry’s image, professionalism and safety.

The Mike Russell Trucking Image Award recipients are the Tennessee Trucking Association Foundation, Werner Enterprises Inc., Pilot Flying J and FedEx driver Don Logan.

“We embrace our law enforcement partners, and we strive to present a clean-cut, family-friendly image of trucking,” ATA Chief Operating Officer Elisabeth Barna said during the ceremony.

The Tennessee Trucking Association Foundation was recognized for its work with state transportation officials to develop educational and medical programs geared toward senior drivers. Tennessee Trucking Association President Dave Huneryager told Transport Topics that association representatives travel to senior centers to teach older people “car fit,” meaning how to properly sit in a vehicle so that they can see the road and reach the pedals. The association also leads a program to teach high school students about road safety and sustains a state Road Team.

This year marks Tennessee Trucking Association Foundation’s third Mike Russell Award. Huneryager, who accepted the award, explained that each of the association’s award-winning projects has been different. TTA’s first was for its efforts to teach students how to share the road and the second was for publishing a children’s book.

“Each one of them have been unique. This one’s completely different because it deals with teaching seniors how to safely share the road,” Huneryager said. “It’s an absolute honor. It’s terrific.”

Werner Enterprises Inc. was honored for fostering a culture of pride and supporting its employees who, in turn, serve as ambassadors for the industry. Werner supports easing the transition of veterans into trucking and participates in Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure events.

Pilot Flying J participates in various forms of community involvement, including fundraising for United Way and Wreaths Across America. The company also was recognized for its support of Trucking Moves America Forward.

Russell Award winner Don Logan

Logan by John Sommers II for Transport Topics

Don Logan, a FedEx Freight driver who also serves as an America’s Road Team captain, was recognized for helping establish FedEx’s Road Team. He was grand champion in the 2012 National Truck Driving Championships and has advanced to nationals 12 times from competitions in his home state of Kansas.

Logan, visibly tearing up, told Transport Topics he values telling industry executives and members of the public about the life of a truck driver.

“I never thought I’d get the opportunity to do it. As truck drivers, it’s just something that we don’t even dream of,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to get the opportunity, and I just try to make the most of it and help as many people as possible.”

An honorable mention went to St. Christopher’s Fund, a charity that helps injured truckers and their families. The fund has provided more than $2.3 million in aid to more than 2,300 drivers.

Mike Russell, for whom the awards are named, was a former ATA vice president of public affairs.

Highway to Victory winner Greer Woodruff

Woodruff, left, with ATA's Bill Sullivan (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

Also recognized was Greer Woodruff, senior vice president of safety, security and driver personnel at J.B. Hunt Transport Services. Woodruff won ATA’s Highway to Victory Award, which acknowledges outstanding industry advocacy efforts.

J.B. Hunt ranks No. 4 on the Transport Topics list of the Top 100 for-hire carriers in North America.