Image of 2021 Transition Trucking finalists and winner standing on stage holding large checks

Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence

Recap of Steven’s Transport’s History with the Transition Trucking Award

Since 2016, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program has partnered with Fastport and Kenworth to bring the “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” award to life.

The Transition Trucking Award recognizes military veterans who have successfully shifted out of the service and into the trucking industry. Each year, carriers, private fleet employers, and training organizations nominate these individuals to commemorate their hard work and contributions to the industry.

After receiving nominations, an independent committee comprising of representatives from carriers, schools, and suppliers select ten semi-finalists to receive recognition for this prestigious honor.

These ten will then move into a final round that will narrow to three: one Award Winner and two Runner-Ups. This decision includes an online public vote on the Transition Trucking website, allowing individuals to help decide who should take home the life-changing grand prize, a brand-new Kenworth T680 truck.

The top two Runner-Ups receive monetary awards, ranging between $5,000 – $10,000. Fourth-place Runner-Ups may also be named from year to year, also receiving a $5,000 reward.

Over the years, Stevens Transport has been honored to employ many top finalists and a few first-place prize winners.

2022: Transition Trucking Elite 11 Finalist, Paul Gouker

Paul Gouker enlisted in the National Guard at age 18, where he spent eight before entering duty in 2000. He served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia as a Combat Scout. After departing from the service, he returned to his home state of Georgia and completed his CDL training at Georgia Driving Academy.

“This year’s group of nominees was the largest and most diverse in the seven-year history of the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence Award. There were more first-time carrier participants, and every branch of service was nominated,” Transition Trucking announced.

You can read more about his Transition Trucking journey here.

2021: Transition Trucking Overall Winner Jimmy Reddell (E-6) and Semi-Finalist Marcus Ellis (E-6)

2021 was an excellent year for Stevens Transport in Transition Trucking award selection. Two members of our exceptional drivers held high stakes:

Jimmy Reddell served in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves for 22 years. His duty career included transporting Patriot Missile Radar Systems, rescue and cleanup missions after Hurricane Katrina, and army recruiting. After honorably retiring, Jimmy decided trucking would align best with his future goals, allowing him to see the country while playing an important role in transporting essential goods. After receiving the keys to the Kenworth T680, he was thrilled to embark on his next journey in the industry, starting his own fleet. “I am very fortunate that I have an employer that supports my dreams and does everything in their power to help me achieve them.” Read more about Jimmy’s triumphant win here.

Marcus Ellis joined the Air Force at age 28, serving over 20 years. During this time, he worked as a Munitions System Craftsman and retired honorably at the rank of TSgt in 2020. Like many others, Ellis still wanted to serve his country in some capacity. He fulfilled this desire by completing CDL training at Georgia Driving Academy and becoming a professional truck driver for Stevens, all while COVID-19 was in full force. His nomination allowed him to finish as a semi-finalist for the 2021 Transition Trucking Award.

2020: Transition Trucking Semi-Finalists Ray Miller (E8, MSGT) and Gail Losee (03, CPT)

Stevens Transport was proud to have made Transition Trucking history in 2020 by being the first carrier to have two semi-finalists in the same year.

Beginning in 1992, Ray Miller served 26 years in duty with ten assignments and combat tours, including Europe, Korea, the Balkans, and the Middle East. During his service term, Ray worked in key positions of leadership. From squad to brigade, Miller became Company First Sergeant and retired as a Master Sergeant E8 in 2018.

After an honorable retirement, Miller followed in his family’s footsteps and joined the transportation industry. He earned his CDL from Lone Star Community College and became an independent contractor and a driver trainer, preparing new drivers for entering the industry.

Miller received the 1st Runner-Up prize of $10,000 and cherished this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Read more about Ray’s outstanding accomplishments here.

Following in her family’s legacy, Gail Losee joined the U.S. Army and Army Reserves in 1989. She served in the Transportation and Logistics sector for 20 years, reaching the rank of Captain 03.

Throughout these years, Gail embarked on tours in Iraq for Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, and Kuwait. Retiring in 2009, she entered into the transportation industry through the oil field before earning her CDL from Premier Truck Driving School in February of 2020.

She received the 2nd runner-up prize for the year and reflected on her journey, stating, “It’s an honor to be driving for Stevens and to have represented both them and the female driver force in this award.” Read more about Gail’s experience here.

2019: Transition Trucking 1st Runner-Up Steve Harris

Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Steve Harris attended Army Mountain Warfare School in Vermont. Graduating in 2002, he became a member of the Marine Corps, serving as a Multi-channel Transmission Officer in Japan, a Platoon Sergeant in Iraq, and a Radio Chief in Afghanistan. His last assignment brought him back to Japan, where he watched over the communications equipment for the commanding general. Throughout all this, Steve earned many medals and decorations.

After being released from his duty status in 2017, he started a new career as a corrections officer. Despite enjoying this position, he wanted a job that allowed more freedom. Not soon after, Steve found the trucking industry and dove head-first into his new career. He completed CDL training at Georgia Driving Academy and seamlessly joined the Stevens driving force in June 2018.

Many of Steve’s coworkers and leaders spoke highly of him. Steve’s Driver Manager Operations Leader, Brad Turner, stated, “Steve’s attention to detail and strong work ethic have made him very successful in his career.” Steve finished as the 2019 1st Runner-Up semi-finalist in the Transition Trucking award. You can read more about Steve’s milestones here.

2018: Transition Trucking 1st Runner-Up Christopher Young (E6)

Christopher Young began his military career in 2002 after spending time traveling. He enlisted in the Army and attended basic training in South Carolina and advanced individual training in Virginia.

After serving in duty, Chris received his Class A CDL after training at Central Texas College before joining Stevens in March 2017. Along with being an Independent Contractor with the Stevens Transport Contractor Division, Chris continues to serve his country as an Army R Reservist.

Chris was ultimately named Transition Trucking’s 1st Runner-Up in December 2018, receiving a check for $10,000.

2017: Transition Trucking Grand Prize Winner, Gregg Softy (E6) and Semi-Finalist, Sean Harding

2017 was the first year Stevens Transport saw two of its nominees in the finalists round and its first grand prize winner, Gregg Softy.

Gregg trained at the United States Military Academy and spent 28 years serving in duty, including six overseas deployments. Softy loved his leadership roles and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.

While it’s not a typical path after retiring from the military, Softy knew he wanted to be a truck driver in his subsequent career.

After earning his CDL and MBA, he joined Stevens Transport, carrying over traits that helped him succeed. “I spent so much time in my military career witnessing other countries worldwide. It’s nice to have the time and opportunity to explore America.”

Gregg’s supporters drew in an overwhelming amount of votes during the online voting period, which helped secure the grand prize win. Learn more about Gregg’s successful campaign here.

Sean Harding joined the Army in 1987 and served for over 28 years. His time served included traveling the world with his wife and daughters and serving alongside Gregg Softy.

After retiring, Harding did some contracting work in South America but found that “Father Time” continued to pull him back. Still wanting to serve people and fulfill another lifelong dream, he earned his CDL at Stevens Driving Academy and began team driving with Softy.

Harding says, “By driving these trucks, we still get to make sure that this country gets taken care of.”

2016: Transition Trucking Top 10 Semi-Finalist, Edward Cavanagh

As an army captain with an MBA in business, Edward Cavanagh’s military background comes across in everything he does. He says it’s given him the skills and attitude to accomplish things without compromise.

Earning his CDL at Stevens, Cavanagh saw trucking as a “way to enjoy earning a living while making a positive impact in the industry.”

With this being the first year of the award, FASTPORT president Brad Bentley stated, “Our selection committee was continually impressed with each nomination submitted…narrowing to the Top 10 was no easy task.”

Published June 21, 2023