Special Coverage of the National Truck Driving Championships
Share
July 20, 2018 5:15 PM, EDT
Nebraska Grand Champion Tim Dean Has Been Down This Road Before
Nebraska Grand Champion Tim Dean Dean courtesy of Nebraska Trucking Association

Nebraska 2018 Grand Champion Tim Dean has won eight state championships, placed second at the National Truck Driving Championship in 2009 and served as a member of the 2009-2010 America’s Road Team. To say he is experienced is an understatement.

His trucking career began 30 years ago as a way to make money. Now 54, Dean has 3.9 million safety miles and spends time mentoring younger truck drivers. As he prepares for nationals this year, he isn’t scared — he’s excited and nervous.

“Knowing and having been to nationals, everybody there is the best of the best,” the Werner Enterprises employee said. “We are all like-minded professional drivers... It’s gonna be a lot of family reunions.”

Road to NTDC logo

The Road to the National Truck Driving Championships

Qualifiers | Map | Photos | Video

Who: Winners from nine categories at the state level advance to the national competition, with a grand champion crowned

What: Contestants are judged on a written examination and their driving skills

When: Aug. 15-18

Where: Columbus, Ohio

He has gathered skills for the competition by practicing often. This year, he took first place in the sleeper berth category, which is the same kind of truck he drives for Werner Enterprises. Practicing has sharpened his depth perception and competing has allowed him to refine his driving skills.

“We spend our whole driving careers staying away from everything, so to be able to compete at a truck driving championship and score the maximum points, you have to train yourself how to get close without hitting it,” said Dean, who is from Omaha, Neb.

One of the highlights of his career was being a member of America’s Road Team. He said he was honored to be selected. After being a member of the team and educating the public about trucking, he had a new perspective on the importance of the job.

“The whole experience on America’s Road Team was a blessing to my career,” Dean said. “I learned a lot while I was on it from the other professional drivers that were selected to be on my team. Just enjoyed it.”

Dean said his greatest joy is helping fellow truckers achieve what he has accomplished in his trucking career. He is a mentor for Werner Enterprises Road Team members and helps truckers prepare for competitions. Some of them even qualify for nationals.

“I don’t do it to get patted on the back,” he said. “I am humbled because the company lets me continue to compete. But I also know that [if] they’re letting me do that, I’m going to give something [back] to the company, [such] as my knowledge of competing to the other guys so they can achieve the goal, too.”

The most important lesson he has learned is how to be a safe, courteous and professional driver. Dean takes pride in the amount of time he has gone without an accident. For him, the greatest reward of trucking is the job itself: safely delivering items from one place to another.

“To me, it’s an opportunity to get out and provide a service,” he said. “I kind of looked at it in a way of helping the country by moving the goods they need.”

Dean is thankful for the support he has received from his company and his family throughout the years. He loves his family, including his two grandchildren, and says his wife is his “number one cheerleader.”

“I’m just blessed,” Dean said. “Good Lord gave me the talent and the ability to do all of these things and the company supported me all the years. None of it would have ever happened without the support of my family.”