The Food Shippers of America Blog

Miles of Gratitude: FSA Celebrates National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

by Staff, on Sep 11, 2023 4:22:01 PM


Nearly every aspect of daily life is made possible because a professional truck driver delivered the goods and resources people need.

This week is the National Truck Driver Appreciation Week and it’s an important time for America to thank all the professional truck drivers for their hard work and commitment in undertaking one of our economy's most demanding and important jobs. These 3.5 million professional men and women not only deliver our goods safely, securely, and on time through all food chains (and frankly throughout supply chains of all commodities!), but they also keep our highways safe.

Please join Food Shippers of America (FSA) September 10-16, 2023 in celebrating these drivers.NPTC-2023-Hall-of-Fame-driversFleetOwner | NPTC Hall of Fame Drivers

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the professional drivers who are doing an amazing job:

Ricky Sharp and Ashley Milacek from the Associate-to-Driver Program at Walmart and Sam’s Club share how more than 70 Walmart and Sam’s Club associates are taking on new roles as regional truck drivers for Walmart’s Private Fleet. Many of these associates are moving from hourly roles at Walmart stores or Sam’s Club supply chain facilities, earning up to $110,000 in their first year of driving. (Source: Freightwaves)

Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Company shares a recap how they’re celebrating National Driver Appreciation Week.

Four amazing drivers have been recognized in the 2023 Hall of Fame of the National Private Truck Council, which was recently featured in FleetOwner:

  • Claude "Ricky" Cook started driving in 1979 and has been with Shaw Industries (No. 227 on the FleetOwner 500: Top Private Fleets list) for 38 years. Ricky hauls soybeans, yarn, liquid base and latex, filler, resin pellets, and flooring. He learned to drive at Watts Dairy Farm, driving a single-axle tractor pulling soybeans in a grain trailer. While at Watts, he obtained his chauffeur's license.

  • Ronald Maharis a professional driver for 33 of his 54 years of driving with Walgreens. He learned to drive on his family farm, operating old farm tractors. During his service in the U.S. Army, he trained as a mechanic and drove all types of different equipment, including low-boys and flatbeds.

  • William Steele has 18 years of driving experience with Unifi Manufacturing out of a 42-year career as a professional driver. He currently works 50 hours a week and drives 300 to 400 miles per day throughout North Carolina and Virginia, hauling textiles and general commodities. William has won 17 years of Unifi Safe Driving Awards and was named driver of the month by the North Carolina Trucking Association. For several years, he competed in North Carolina Truck Driving Championships.

  • Christopher Nelson has been with Baxter Healthcare for 44 years, 35 as a driver. He maneuvers a 26-ft. box truck in city and rural areas utilizing a liftgate and manual dolly to complete daily and overnight routes. He delivers life-sustaining medical supplies to patients' residences. Routes include loads that can range from 6,000 lb. up to 15,000 lb. Christopher estimated that he has delivered over 40 million lb. of product to patients over the years. 

Candy Bass, Transport Designs, Inc.

Food companies with private fleets along with for-hire trucking companies also are making strides in hiring and retaining more female drivers, according to the Women In Trucking Association. For example, Candy Bass is 78-year-old woman who has accumulated 6 million accident-free miles in 50 years of driving! She was recognized as the 2023 Women In Trucking Driver of the Year (sponsored by Walmart). Women In Trucking Association (WIT) recently recognized several female truck drivers as WIT Members of the Month, including Jessica Olsen, professional driver for SRS Distribution; Liana Castro at LGT Transport; and Stephanie Klang who has 4 million miles under her belt in 38 years as a professional driver.

Like this kind of content? Subscribe to our "Food For Thought" eNewsletter!


Now more than ever, professionals consume info on the go. Distributed twice monthly, our "Food For Thought" e-newsletter allows readers to stay informed about timely and relevant industry topics and FSA news whether they're in the office or on the road. Topics range from capacity, rates and supply chain disruption to multimodal transportation strategy, leveraging technology, and talent management and retention. Learn More

About FSA

Whether it’s supply chain optimization and modal usage or talent development and green logistics, Food Shippers helps you to stay on top of key issues and emerging trends. Being part of our community helps you to bring efficiencies to your supply chain and gain a competitive edge.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in articles within the FSA Blog are those of the authors/submitters and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Food Shippers of America.

Have a story to tell food shippers? Pitch it to us.