The competition, highlighting the skills and knowledge of food industry drivers, takes place in conjunction with the 2005 Productivity Convention & EXPO and is sponsored the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI). Co-chairs of this important event are Terry Vissers, corporate safety and compliance manager, Spartan Stores, Inc., and Dick Hairston, director of operations and transportation at ID Top 50 Ben E. Keith Foods.
"We know how important the driver is to our customers because they tell us every day," said Hairston. "Driver safety is a number-one priority at Ben E. Keith and this whole competition is based on safe driving ability and driver knowledge. Nothing could be more important, and that's why we send our drivers each year. This championship is the one place that gives food industry drivers recognition on the national level for all the hard work they do for us."
The championship includes a three-part competition — a written examination, vehicle safety inspection and driving course challenge — with drivers from foodservice distributor, wholesale grocer, self-distributing retailer and food manufacturer companies. To enter the event, drivers must have won a local or company sponsored competition.
Three classes of trucks are used in the competition, including 22-foot straight trucks, 28-foot tractor/trailers, and 48-foot tractor/trailers. Each participating division or company location may enter up to three contestants, with one driver per category. No driver may compete in more than one category.
Winners of the Truck Driving Championship will be recognized and honored at an awards banquet on Sunday evening, October 23. Prizes include cash and trophies. For full competition and registration information, as well as information on how to conduct a company competition, are available at www.ifdaonline.org .