Driving award

20 March 2008

James Mike Davis, left, from Ace Doran Hauling ' Rigging based in Ohio, US, receving his Truck Drive

James Mike Davis, left, from Ace Doran Hauling ' Rigging based in Ohio, US, receving his Truck Driver of the Year award from Doug Williams, 2006 – 20007 SC&RA President April' SC&RA Annual Con

James Mike Davis from Ace Doran Hauling ' Rigging based in Cincinnati, Ohio in the US was named Truck Driver of the Year at the SC&RA Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas, 10-14 April.

Davis began his career in 1962 and drove for three other companies before joining Ace Doran as an owner-operator in 1980. He has accumulated well over five million miles without an accident.

Having turned 65 years old, Davis began collecting his maximum social security payments at the beginning of the year. “I don't really have plans to retire,” he said. “I still like the work. As long as I feel good and can still do it, I'm going to keep trucking.”

p>Besides his continuing love to travel, what keeps him enthusiastic is his relationship with Ace Doran. “After 27 years here, I'm like a permanent fixture,” he said. “I feel like I'm part of one big family.”

The feeling is mutual. “We need more drivers like him,” said Maxine Brown, manager of his home terminal in Danville, Ohio. “He's a man of his word. He couldn't be more dependable. And he's also very modest.”

Davis notes that improved conditions in the industry have helped extend his career.

“The highways are ten times better than when I started, and the equipment is so much better,” he said. “The truck stops have improved, too. They used to have community showers, and you had to worry about somebody stealing your wallet. Now, if you buy 50 gallons of diesel, they'll give you a private shower with a free towel. It almost feels like a nice hotel.”

Of course, there are parts of the job he dislikes. “I complain about all the regulations, the traffic jams and the price of fuel,” he said. “Then I get rested up and ready to go again and it doesn't seem all that bad.”

Davis works hard to keep himself and his equipment in top condition. He stays trim by paying close attention to his diet and staying active when not on the road. One of his favoured physical activities is working on his own truck. In his own shop, he does all his own truck maintenance except major overhauls.

He says he learned a great deal about mechanics when he raced late-model stock cars on dirt tracks from 1972 to 1980. His brother-inlaw, who was primarily responsible for keeping the cars ready to race, taught him much of what he knows about being a good mechanic. Lessons learned while racing also helped him become a safer truck driver, Davis said.

The SC&RA Driver of the Year Award continues an impressive string of honours for Davis. He previously won the National Safety Council's Joseph M. Kaplan Safe Driver of the Year Award in 2006. In 2001 he was honoured as Driver of the Year by the Ohio Trucking Association.

“James Mike Davis is known for his businesslike approach to trucking and always holds safety as his number one priority,” summarized SC&RA 2006-2007 president Doug Williams when presenting the award. “His peers describe him as nothing less than a safe, honest, courteous professional who always maintains his equipment in pristine condition and has never been cited for non-compliance. He simply gets the job done and, as his Safety Compliance Officer reports, he exudes character – what better qualities to represent our industry.”

Ace Doran is a family operated transportation company that has served the shipping public since 1913. The company serves clients entirely with owner-operators. During the SC&RA Annual Conference, Ace Doran received a Fleet Safety Award in the 20 million to 50 million miles category.

Ace Doran also was one of four companies that earned a Fleet Safety Improvement Award by showing a reduction in its accident frequency rate for miles travelled, compared to the previous year's accident frequency rate.

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