Posted: October 10, 2014
Source: Michael Boroughs / Teamsters Local 174
Boeing sent six drivers to the U.S. National Truck Driving Championship this summer, including (from left) Gary Bolen, Rick Colton, Mike Mygatt, Lisa Bry and Gary Nickell. Not pictured is Jeff Maas. (Jessica Oyanagi photo)
Boeing drivers finished among the top performers at this year’s U.S. National Truck Driving Championship, with Gary Nickell placing second in the tanker class and Gary Bolen placing fifth in the five-axle class.
To qualify for the national competition, Boeing drivers in Washington competed at the state championship in June at the Boeing Space Center in Kent, Wash. Boeing drivers finished first in six of the nine trucking classes.
In August, Boeing sent all six drivers to compete at the national level in Pittsburgh. Besides Nickell and Bolen competing, Lisa Bry drove a straight truck, Rick Colton operated twin trailers, Jeff Maas drove a flatbed and Mike Mygatt operated a three-axle truck.
“Our drivers represent the best in the trucking industry,” said Jeff Nunn, director of Shared Services Groups’ Licensed Transportation. “They not only demonstrate their skills, knowledge and commitment to safety each year in competition, but also each day on the road moving Boeing freight and passengers across our region.”
All the competing Boeing drivers are members of the Million Mile Club, each having driven more than 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) in their careers without an accident or ticket. Bry has more than 2 million miles (3.2 million kilometers), and Colton is expected to reach 3 million miles (4.8 million kilometers) this year. One million miles equals 12.5 years of safe driving, according to Transportation & Fleet Services. About half of all Boeing drivers are Million Mile Club members.
Drivers prepare in the spring for the state competition and during the summer for the national one. They devote their own time — mostly on weekends — practicing on a driving course, honing their pre-trip vehicle inspection skills and studying the latest federal trucking regulations.
“Drivers work hard year-round to maintain their accident-free status,” said Denise Alonzo, Boeing Enterprise Department of Transportation compliance manager. “Safe driving is the goal every day, and it’s a requirement to be eligible for the driving competition.”
In addition to competing at the national competition, Mygatt also was named Washington State 2014 Private Fleet Driver of the Year by the Washington State Patrol and Washington Trucking Association. He was selected from more than 50 nominees based on his excellent driving record, performance in driving competitions, safety leadership on the job and community service.