Recently, Ryder announced the honorees of its 44th Annual Driver of the Year Award, a tribute to driver excellence. The Driver of the Year Award, one of Ryder’s longest running and most prestigious recognition programs, honors drivers who have demonstrated exemplary safety performance, customer service, and citizenship throughout their careers. Honorees are selected through a rigorous review process by a committee that includes Ryder customers, executives, safety experts, and professional drivers. The top awards this year were presented to two Ryder-employed drivers – one for Supply Chain Solutions (SCS) and another for Ryder Dedicated Transportation Solutions (DTS) – and a driver employed by one of Ryder’s Fleet Management Solutions (FMS) customers. Recipients are inducted into the Ryder “Driver Hall of Fame” and presented with a cash prize and a specially designed ring and watch.
Junior Belt is the Driver of the Year for Ryder SCS. Ryder SCS drivers are responsible for delivering customer product in a timely and efficient manner. Mr. Belt drives for the Toyota account in London, Ky. He has driven over two million miles without a preventable collision during his almost 28 years with Ryder and a total of 3.1 million miles over the course of his 32-year professional driving career. His talent and commitment to safety are evident in his support of the Certified Driver Trainer (CDT) program and Ryder’s Driver Development Program. In August 2015, he became a CDT, and through his valuable feedback and support, he has helped shape the program. Possessing tremendous knowledge and work ethic, Mr. Belt is the go-to person for new business start-ups. In addition to being a valuable employee, he also gives back to his community by volunteering at his church, serving as a deacon, and helping those in need by mowing lawns, assisting with an Alzheimer’s patient, fixing cars, and lending a hand wherever needed.
The Driver of the Year for Ryder DTS is Willie Anderson. Ryder DTS drivers are responsible for operating specialized equipment, managing unique product handling, running complex routes, and meeting rigorous service level requirements. The drivers have a special responsibility when they represent Ryder customers, as they often wear uniforms with Ryder customer logos and drive vehicles emblazoned with customer brands. Mr. Anderson drives for the Shell Exploration & Production Company account based out of Lafayette, La. He has worked for Ryder for 20 years, and has driven over 2.8 million miles during his 34-year professional driving career. Mr. Anderson’s strong commitment to safety and professionalism has helped him earn numerous safety awards and accolades. He is a Certified Driver Trainer, a Driver Ambassador who assists in driver recruiting, and a Veteran Buddy, helping recently discharged military personnel hired by Ryder to transition more easily into their new civilian roles. In addition to working for Ryder as a driver, Mr. Anderson has also worked for the Company as a technician. He is involved in community programs that seek out homeless people, providing them with much needed resources. He also volunteers at his local church, where he serves as a deacon and provides spiritual guidance to married couples. Mr. Anderson is a U.S. military veteran, who served in Operation Desert Storm/Shield and aided in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in New Orleans.
Gilbert “Gil” Gutierrez is the Driver of the Year for Ryder FMS. Mr. Gutierrez drives for Ryder customer Spicers Paper in Santa Fe Springs, Cali. He has been employed by Spicers Paper – an independent, regional paper merchant that serves commercial printers and corporate end users in eight regions throughout the Western U.S. – for more than 37 years and has driven over a half million collision-free miles during the course of his 37-year professional driving career. This accomplishment is particularly notable since Southern California is one of the most heavily congested traffic areas in the U.S. Mr. Gutierrez’s knowledge, experience, and excellent safety record are the benchmarks used by his employer to coach others. In addition to being one of Spicers Paper’s most valuable employees, he also gives back to his community by donating food to the needy, participating in Toys for Tots runs, and donating toys to military families.
“Ryder is extremely proud to have such dedicated, trustworthy professionals in its workforce – drivers like Junior, Willie, and Gil, who are the best of the best in the industry and who epitomize what it means to go above and beyond,” said Robert Sanchez, Ryder Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Their impeccable safety records are a testament to their commitment to safety and excellence, as well as to Ryder and its customers. They are the engine that helps keep businesses running and consumers happy. The Driver of the Year Award program gives Ryder the perfect platform to show its appreciation and respect for these honorees, who demonstrate extraordinary safety leadership, coupled with a sincere devotion to helping others.”