TMAF Recognizes Achievements of Trucking Professionals During Black History Month

During Black History Month, TMAF is recognizing the achievements of truck drivers and trucking professionals for their modern-day successes in the trucking industry.

This year’s Black History Month Leaders helping to move America forward every day are:

  • Ericka Rountree, Professional Truck Driver, M.T.S.
  • Herbert Holmes, Professional Truck Driver, M.T.S.
  • Brandon Bibbs, Regional Vice President of Sales, U.S. Xpress, Inc.
  • Charlton Paul, Professional Truck Driver, UPS Freight
  • Derrick Whittle, Professional Truck Driver, Cargo Transporters, Inc.
  • Dee Sova, Professional Truck Driver, Prime Inc.
  • LaQuenta Jacobs, Chief Diversity Officer, XPO Logistics, Inc.
  • Jeff Greer, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, FedEx Freight Corporation

These professionals are leaders within the trucking industry and personify excellence in trucking. Their professionalism, dedication to their job, commitment to safety and love for trucking is inspiring.

Continue reading more below to learn more about their jobs, what drew them to trucking and the reasons they love they their jobs.

TMAF’s Black History Month leaders will be featured on TMAF’s website and social media pages.

Ericka Rountree, Professional Truck Driver, M.T.S.

Professional Truck Driver Ericka Rountree, based in Dayton, Ohio, joined the trucking industry nearly seven years ago after coming across an ad for truck driving school. The decision to join the trucking industry was lifechanging and one of the best decisions she has made, Ericka said.

When speaking about her love for her job, Ericka spoke about how she enjoys driving — something she picked up from her dad who was also a truck driver. Her father, who drove trucks in the military, later joined the industry and started team driving with his wife. Ericka would get to ride along in the truck with her father on trips from Ohio to other states, including California and Florida.

One of the reasons that Ericka was drawn to trucking was because it allows you to travel and can take you to almost any state. Ericka said, “You get to travel and meet different people from every ethnic background.”

While driving, making her daily round trip deliveries from Ohio to Kentucky, Ericka enjoys the peace and quiet of the open road. “It’s my peace,” Ericka said. “I really enjoy my career. I love what I do.”

Patience and safety while driving are important priorities for Ericka. “My biggest thing is safety first,” Ericka said. “Take your time and pay attention. I’m a very cautious driver. I always give myself enough time, enough distance.”

Ericka Rountree pictured above

Herbert Holmes, Professional Truck Driver, M.T.S.

Herbert Holmes, a professional truck driver based in Dayton, Ohio, first started driving in 1999 after coming across an ad for trucking in the Sunday paper.

“Having the freedom on the open road, seeing different things, going different places, meeting new people,” are just some of the reasons why Herbert loves trucking. Herbert also enjoys being able to travel and get paid for it as part of his job.

During his work week, depending on what needs to be delivered, Herbert usually drives to the Cleveland, Ohio area as well as Louisville, Kentucky. While on the road, Herbert is committed to safety. He always stays alert and drives defensively.

When asked what Herbert would say to someone who is considering joining the trucking industry, he said, “It’s a great career,” and spoke about the opportunities that trucking can provide for an individual and their family. Herbert recommended that after learning more about the industry and what the day-to-day job of a truck driver looks like, to “Jump in wholeheartedly” and give it “110 percent.”

Herbert also discussed the truck driver shortage and the need for more Black drivers, including Black female drivers, and mentioned the need for more recruitment at Black high schools and colleges. He said, “A lot of young Black people don’t know about the industry…there’s trucking jobs all over.”

Herbert Holmes pictured above

Brandon Bibbs, Regional Vice President of Sales, U.S. Xpress, Inc.

Brandon Bibbs is the Regional Vice President of Sales at U.S. Xpress, Inc. based out of Chicago, Illinois, and a current member of the LEAD ATA class. While working at Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, Brandon was introduced to the world of trucking in 2015 through a development program and has not looked back since. Following his passion, he moved to work for Schneider, then joined U.S. Xpress, Inc. team almost a year ago.

“When I heard that U.S Xpress was not only a trucking company but a digital and tech organization, as a millennial, that mattered to me,” Brandon stated in an interview with TMAF. Brandon’s favorite part of the trucking industry is all of the moving parts. “I am a communicator,” Brandon says, “I enjoy cross department collaboration, knowing we have the common goal of bringing a positive impact on so many people.”

Brandon is a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Council at U.S. Xpress, Inc. where he is able to work with a group to bring positive change to his company and the industry. He is dedicated to changing the narrative within the HBCU community by speaking to classes to enlighten students about the career opportunities the trucking industry has to offer.

It is Brandon’s mission to continue to bring awareness of inclusion in leadership among the trucking industry. He is an inspiration to so many within trucking, from drivers, to other leaders. “I want to be a resource,” Brandon says, “I have had many drivers call me to let me know they appreciate my presence and leadership, it made them feel like they have a voice.”

Charlton Paul, Professional Truck Driver, UPS Freight

Charlton Paul has been a professional truck driver for over 25 years, accumulating more than 2.2 million accident-free miles, and has worked for UPS Freight for the past 23 years. At the age of seven, Charlton was going to the store with his father when he stopped to look at the “beautiful” truck unloading goods. The driver asked his father if Charlton could look at the truck. Since then, Charlton was hooked and could not wait to become a professional truck driver.

Reflecting on his career as a professional truck driver, “It is the most fantastic job. When I sit down and actually think about what I am contributing to society, it is a huge honor for me.” Charlton discussed delivering medical supplies during the COVID pandemic or equipment and textbooks that would be used to educate future engineers. Understanding the impact, he is having on someone else’s life through the goods he delivers makes his job even more important.

His family is very proud of all the things that Charlton has accomplished from being honored at the White House to being featured in the UPS Magazine. As his family gains more of an understanding for what he does, there is a lot more appreciation for the entire trucking industry.

“There is a reason behind everything,” stated Charlton when discussing the importance of educating the public on the trucking industry. Through the Share the Road program, Charlton has seen students and adults recognize ways to drive differently after being educated on blind spots and the amount of distance it takes for a truck to come to a complete stop. To coincide with educating the public, Charlton gives a lot of praise to the advanced technologies in trucks today, “technology will never replace us but will continue to make us better drivers.”

When Charlton is not educating the public on safe driving, he is teaching his peers at UPS Freight. At new hire orientations, Charlton writes on the board “Do the right thing even when no one is watching.” Charlton said, “It is not just about me, it’s about my peers and pulling people up.” He is very honored and humbled to be at this stage of his career and hopes to use his platform and success to encourage others to be like him.

Charlton Paul, pictured above, left, with Safety Sammy

Derrick Whittle, Professional Truck Driver, Cargo Transporters, Inc.

Derrick Whittle has been a professional truck driver for over 41 years, accumulating more than 3.8 million accident-free miles. This July, Derrick will be celebrating 29 years with Cargo Transporters, Inc. Derrick served in the U.S. Coast Guard and became extremely fascinated with all of the large machinery from ships to aircrafts, “I just had an affinity for large vessels.” While in the Coast Guard, Derrick travelled home via Greyhound bus during his leave. He loved buses and upon his discharge from the Coast Guard, Derrick wanted to become a bus driver. Unfortunately, the age minimum to be a bus driver was 25 and Derrick was 21. After job searching a few years, Derrick’s older brother told him to become a truck driver and connected him with their driving school instructor. Derrick began classes the following November, finishing in the top 10 of the class.

Being a professional truck driver is the perfect career for Derrick. “What I do works well for me. It is hard for me to sit still for very long so driving a truck I get to see the country; I am basically a paid tourist!” He says one of the most inspiring parts of being a professional truck driver is the people [he] get[s] to meet across the country. Along with being a professional driver, Derrick is also an ordained minister. Throughout his career he has met a lot of people that are lost and he enjoys helping others get back on track.

“A person’s self being is more important to me. In the shape of the world today, this is what I need to do. I see the world differently and enjoy helping others find their purpose of living. When I see them smile, it is the best reward.”

Recently, an Air Force veteran stopped to ask Derrick about his truck and he gave him a tour. Standing out in the snow and rain to show the veteran the truck Derrick reflected, “My truck is such a magnet. There is a connection there for him and I love to bring all of that together.”

During the COVID pandemic, Derrick finds himself more in demand as people struggle to find their purpose in an uncertain world. His advice? “There is a lot of unknown and the doctors are trying their best to explain and understand this. It is just a season and it will eventually pass. Be patient and be careful. We will get through this.”

Derrick Whittle pictured above

Dee Sova, Professional Truck Driver, Prime Inc.

Dee Sova has been a professional truck driver nearly 30 years and has accumulated almost 3 million safe miles. She became a truck driver as a single mother who needed to provide a better lifestyle for her family. Dee has three adult daughters and her husband has one son, together they have 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Dee operates as an over-the-road truck driver hauling fresh, frozen, and dry goods. She teams with her husband, meaning they drive together, along with their 11-pound Chihuahua. Her husband cooks on the truck, especially during this pandemic. On her 30-minute breaks she loves to connect with family and friends via Facebook and Instagram. She recently has enjoyed reading personal growth and development books.

Getting to see this beautiful country and meeting a lot of people along the way, are some of Dee’s favorite things about being a professional truck driver. She loves meeting people that help her get to the next level and connecting with those people are very important. A giggling Dee shared, “I meet most of these people while shopping.”

Dee wants the public to know how awesome of a career the trucking industry can provide:

“The industry is constantly changing so new drivers must be prepared to roll with those changes as they come. While it is exciting to see the beautiful country, drivers make a commitment to leave their families to serve the needs of others. They do so with pride and deserve to be valued. This industry has a multitude of opportunities, but it takes a servant’s heart to plug into it long haul.”

Dee Sova pictured above

LaQuenta Jacobs, Chief Diversity Officer, XPO Logistics, Inc.

LaQuenta Jacobs, the Chief Diversity Officer at XPO Logistics, Inc., joined XPO as head of human resources in 2018. As the Chief Diversity Officer, LaQuenta is responsible for helping her organization drive diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I).

Over her 23-year career, LaQuenta has championed inclusivity in senior HR roles with Delta Air Lines, Inc., The Home Depot, Inc., Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. and Georgia-Pacific. LaQuenta, who is solutions-driven by nature, enjoys working in the transportation industry because she likes “the solutions that we drive to our customers, shareholders and people in general.” Speaking about the connection that exists throughout the industry, LaQuenta said, “Transportation connects people, goods and communities.”

When discussing diversity and inclusion and the trucking industry, LaQuenta said, “I have found a unique connection between DE&I and the trucking industry. In my opinion, the two share the same goals which is the connection of people to resources. Logistics and supply chain are the vehicles that connect people to goods and services in the same way that diversity, equity and inclusion connect people to a company culture, they go hand in hand.”

Jeff Greer, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, FedEx Freight Corporation

Jeff Greer is the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at FedEx Freight Corporation based in Memphis, Tennessee. In his role, Jeff is responsible for all HR and Safety functions at FedEx Freight, which employs 45,000 team members across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

An attorney by trade, Jeff first started working for the FedEx organization over 21 years ago and has since transitioned from law to his current role in HR. Prior to joining FedEx, Jeff worked for the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency. Jeff referred to the career change as a “natural evolution” for him saying that his work for the government was the “precursor to my interest in everything in logistics.”

Jeff enjoys working for the trucking industry. Jeff said, “Trucking touches almost every aspect of American life. We know that every single day we are making a difference…It’s nice to be part of a function that has such a vast impact.”

When speaking about diversity in trucking, Jeff said that diversity — the concept of having different people from different backgrounds — adds elements of success to your industry. Jeff, a member of working groups on diversity in the trucking industry, said, “Diversity has got to be a key component of how we move forward in the trucking industry. We have got to make sure we are as diverse as the rest of America: that we mirror society as a whole.”

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Every day, millions of trucks travel across the country to move America forward. When trucks stop moving, the country stops moving.

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Trucking Moves America

Every day, millions of trucks travel across the country to move America forward. When trucks stop moving, the country stops moving.