2023 Professional Drivers of the Year
Born deaf, at 10 years old, Richard Boehrer fell in love with the thought of being a professional driver. In 1987, against all odds and with everyone saying he couldn't do it, Boehrer obtained his CDL to pursue his dream. “They say deaf people can’t be a truck driver,” said Roehrer, “I want to show them that the deaf can do things — people think the deaf can’t, but the deaf can.”
Boehrer joined Knight Transportation over 10 years ago and has made a successful career driving, working for both their dry and refrigerated businesses.
“He uses his disability as an opportunity to prove people wrong — I think that’s what he loves to do,” says Chris Schell, Boehrer’s terminal manager. “Richard is one of our safest drivers and recently just eclipsed the million mile mark.”
Boehrer wears hearing aids while driving and works through a translator. He is excellent with communicating in all aspects of his job, often receiving positive feedback from customers for his professionalism and engaging personality. When he reports to his terminal manager, they communicate face-to-face by texting each other, often holding 30-minute-plus conversations.
To demystify deaf truck drivers, Boehrer will make an appearance on a company podcast, "Beyond The Rig", to discuss his upbringing and working in the trucking industry. As an advocate for deaf drivers, he also was an administrator with the Deaf Truckers United organization for five years, and is still an active member. “We can meet challenges in the things that we do with our jobs and be successful,” he said.
Daniel Clark is a leader in the trucking industry, holding the title of Trainer of the Year for many years with Classic Carriers in Versailles, OH. When Classic opened a driver training program five years ago, Clark was the first to sign up and bring his friend through this training program. “Ever since the program has opened, Daniel has trained both male and female drivers, taking them under his wing to nurture successful owner-operators,” says Classic Carriers’ Director of Safety, Robert Flores.
Clark thrives in his profession because he understands the importance of what he does. “The best part is just being able to pull freight around the country every day,” Clark says. “You put food on people’s tables.”
Clark coaches new truckers in the industry, but he also serves as a volunteer outside of work — coaching soccer and baseball for his sons’ sports leagues. He enjoys working with children, even speaking every year at a local middle school career day. “I take a bobtail up there and talk to the kids in the class,” Clark says. “Afterward the kids go outside and are able to see the truck up close — young future truckers.”
Clark’s acts of service don’t stop there. He is a Youth Pastor at New Birth Christian Ministries in Columbus, OH and finds time to do community service at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “Mr. Clark’s hard work, dedication, and selfless service have greatly impacted multiple people and their lives are richer because of his continuous efforts,” says Flores.
Emily Plummer is a leader in the trucking industry, with over 23 years and 3,250,000 miles of experience. When she applied to become a trucker in 1999, only one company responded — Prime, Inc out of Springfield, MO — so Plummer spent her entire career there. “I secretly made a promise to the owner that since he opened that door and gave me an opportunity, that I was gonna make it that he would never regret hiring me,” says Plummer. “That’s a motto I’ve stuck with for 23 years — to do the best that I can.”
No doubt Prime has been thrilled with Plummer’s success over the years; last year she was selected to be part of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s first Women in Trucking Advisory Board. Also, last year Plummer was selected as Prime, Inc’s Highway Diamond of the Year, and she recently completed her two-year term on the Prime Driver Advisory Board. “We believe Emily is one of the best professional drivers the industry has to offer,” says Mitchell Coiner, Prime’s marketing manager. “Emily always provides on-time, high-quality customer service, and above all else has a huge heart.”
That huge heart includes providing meals for 70 football players and coaches for every game for her Arkansas hometown high school, where many families are economically strapped. “We (she and her husband, Gary) don’t mind doing it,” Plummer says. “If it helps just one kid — if one kid can come back in five or ten years and do the same thing we’re doing, it’s paid off.”
John Christner Trucking (JCT)
At her core, Rose Rojo leads by serving — whether by mentoring new truck drivers, helping needy children in Honduras on annual trips, or reaching out to youth in her own community. “I love helping people,” Rojo says. “It’s my goal to help those less fortunate than myself.”
Since 2016, Rojo has driven over 1.5 million miles for John Christner Trucking (JCT) in Sapulpa, OK. She enjoys truck driving because it takes her to different areas of the country. The Amarillo, TX, resident has earned respect from colleagues for her integrity, her level of excellence and for consistently giving back. “Rose has gone above the call of duty here at JCT — she is a great driver mentor here,” says JCT’s Laura Watkins. “She is always safe and courteous to all employees and customers, going the extra mile to make them happy.”
Colleagues say Rojo really loves driving a truck, but her true passion is mentoring and helping abused, neglected children and helping foster parents understand and cope with children who have been in an abusive home. A survivor of childhood abuse herself, Rojo reaches out to struggling children to offer hope and encouragement. “I’m super proud of what I’ve overcome,” says the mother of two and grandmother of two. Annually she visits Honduras to serve underprivileged children and also supports one little boy there, providing resources for his school and clothing.
“We take so much for granted,” she says. “I want to help those kids out.” Whether at work or in her down time, Watkins notes about Rojo, “She always gives her best!”
Maverick Transportation, Inc.
For more than 25 years, Maverick driver Thomas Sholar has been a testament to the notion that if you get a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. He’s dedicated 14 years to instructing future generations of truck drivers within the fleet.
“I love teaching,” Sholar says. “I love showing people how to do things easier and right.”
Along the way, he was named Driver of the Month in 2016, as well as a Trainer Finalist in 2019, for his outstanding job performance. While serving on the Drivers Advisory Council and being an advocate for road trainers, Sholar has been both influential and essential to shaping Maverick’s training program and helping to better the drivers’ overall experience within the fleet. “Tom is a true driving professional,” says Callie Heathscott, Maverick’s advertising manager.
In early 2017, Sholar was diagnosed with melanoma, had surgery, and underwent intense radiation. He returned to driving after recovering, and in 2019, was awarded his 2 Million Mile Safe Driving Award – an incredible accomplishment to have driven safely and (preventable) accident-free.
In 2022, Sholar underwent more surgery but after recovering, he returned to his duties at Maverick. “All I could think of was being able to come back to work,” he says.
Sholar continues to do the job that he loves with a safety focus, incredible customer service, and a lighthearted sense of humor.
“I love doing this — I like the freedom, I like seeing things,” he says. “I just love doing it.”