Saturday, April 01, 2023

Alabama Trucking celebrates state’s best in fleet safety and professionalism

Emanuel Windham

Last night, the Alabama Trucking Association Safety & Maintenance Management Council (SMMC) hosted its annual Fleet Safety Awards Banquet in Pelham, Ala, to honor the most exceptional individuals and trucking operations that prioritize safety. The esteemed event acknowledged the tireless efforts of ATA members, including fleet and safety managers, service technicians, and shop managers, in ensuring the safety and well-being of their drivers and other key personnel in the industry.

For Alabama’s trucking community, the SMMC is the heartbeat of the Alabama Trucking Association, and this awards program is a valuable tool for promoting safety and best practices within the industry.

“Recognizing outstanding drivers and companies encourages others to strive for the same level of excellence,” said ATA Vice President of Safety and Compliance Tim Frazier. “These awards are a valuable opportunity for the trucking industry to come together, share best practices, and celebrate the best of the best our industry has to offer. This helps to ensure that drivers and companies are operating safely and efficiently, which has a greater effect on the industry as a whole in terms of industry professionalism and public relations.”

ATA’s Fleet Safety Awards are judged on the previous year’s safety data and referred to as the previous year’s awards. All applicants are judged by an independent panel, composed of officers from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Motor Carrier Safety Unit.

Henry Cobb

The event featured several categories of awards, each recognizing the achievements of different trucking companies. The winners of each category were announced, and they received plaques and certificates of recognition for their efforts in ensuring the safety of their fleets.

The highlight of the evening was the announcement of several top fleet managers and workers for ATA members. The big prize went to Emanuel Windham, a contract operator for Birmingham-based Blair Logistics, LLC, as the Alabama Truck Driver of the Year. The award is sponsored by Southland Transportation Group.

With 32 years of experience and over 3 million safe driving miles under his belt, 53-year-old Windham boasts an impeccable safety record. Never having been involved in any accidents or received motor vehicle or CSA violations, he is a proud member of Blair’s safety council and has been awarded multiple safe driving accolades, including the million-mile club award. Windham’s management team at Blair commends his professionalism, safety consciousness, hard work, and unwavering positivity, describing him as the quintessential professional in the trucking industry.

In addition to his career achievements, Windham is actively involved in his local community and church, New Life Interfaith Ministries. He resides in Anniston, Ala, with his wife Octaviar. Given his impressive safety record, dedication to his work, and community involvement, ATA officials consider Windham a well-deserving recipient of the prestigious Driver of the Year award.

Quince Bell

Henry Cobb, who works for Boyd Bros. Transportation, Inc., was tapped as Professional Driver of the Year Runner-Up also sponsored by Southland Transportation Group.

Another notable award winner was Quince Bell, who received the Fleet Manager of the Year award, sponsored by McGriff Tire Co. Bell, works for MT Select, LLC, where his supervisors there point to his leadership and management skills have helped the company improve its safety record and increase efficiency.

Pat Driver, who works for Perdido Trucking Service, LLC, was tapped the Maintenance Professional of the Year, sponsored by Vertical Alliance Group, provider of Infinity Training.

Jeffrey Hopkins, who works for Boyd Bros Transportation, Inc., received the Safety Professional of the Year Award, sponsored by Cummins Sales and Service. Hopkins has over 20 years of experience in the trucking industry and has been with Boyd Bros. Transportation for the past 5 years. He has implemented several safety initiatives that have helped the company improve its safety record.

Jeffrey Hopkins

Heather Darnell, who works for Watkins Trucking Co., Inc., was Safety Professional of the Year Runner-Up. Darnell’s dedication to safety and her proactive approach to identifying potential hazards have helped Watkins Trucking maintain its excellent safety record.

In addition to these outstanding individuals, Watkins Trucking Co., Inc. received the President’s Award, sponsored by Nextran Truck Centers, Inc., which is the Association’s top honor for the fleet with the lowest accident frequency rate based on miles operated within Alabama.

ATA Comp Fund Awards

ATA Comp Fund, an exclusive partner of the Alabama Trucking Association for 30 years, offering comprehensive industry workers’ comp insurance, presented awards for its outstanding clients. The Fund showcased top performers during its 2022 Fall Safety Blitz, which reached thousands of executives, safety, and driver personnel, and gave out cash prizes to drivers and front-line employees who embraced the safety blitz. 

The Fund also presented the Risk Management Safety Awards to the recipients with the most effective safety programs. The winners by category were:

  • Smith-Davis Motors (Small Fleet)
  • Pitts & Sons (Medium Fleet)
  • Buddy Moore Trucking (Large Fleet)
  • Max Coating (Allied)
  • Tanory Moving Systems (Moving and Storage).

The Fund’s top honor, its Safety Excellence Award, went to Haynes Farm, Inc., a family-owned and operated trucking company located in Blountsville, Ala. Founded in 1984, the company specializes in the transportation and logistics of refrigerated products with a dedication to superior service, working hard to create a successful small business that can provide opportunities for employment for its community. According to Fund administrators, Hayens earned the award for its value to its local community and for implementing safety practices that put workplace safety first, and its team’s goal of excellence at all levels.

Fleet Safety Award Winners

The ATA SMMC also recognized dozens of its member fleets that have displayed earned safety records or improved safety metrics for the previous calendar year.

Click HERE to see the full list of winners.

We’ll update this page. Please check back for photos and more coverage on Monday.