Elwin Hines dubs his most recent honor as the Grammy Award for trucking, and he gives full credit to Tidewater Community College.
The Portsmouth resident who graduated from TCC’s trucking program nearly a decade ago was selected as Driver of the Year (For-Hire Trucking) by Lytx, a global leader in video telematics committed to improving safety and efficiency behind the wheel.
Hines, 60, has driven more than a million miles for TransAm Trucking in his freightliner that averages 2,500 miles a week. Since he started with the company nine years ago, he has maintained a spotless driving record – zero preventable accidents, zero claims charged against him and zero moving violations.
“TCC is the driving force behind my achievement,” Hines said. “A school that may be considered just a community college got me where I am today.”
Hines acknowledges trucking instructors Wallace Miller and Matt Isaac for teaching him the skills that transformed him from a brick mason struggling in a recession to a successful truck driver who loves going to work every day.
“Both of them were my mentors. Those were the two men who inspired me and encouraged me that I could do this and really achieve it,” he said. “I knew the trucking industry offered stability. Being a professional driver, you are helping to reshape and rebuild America. You’re part of the restructuring of this country. Nothing moves in this country without a truck.”
The Booker T. Washington High School graduate regularly gives presentations to budding drivers nationwide and stresses the value of the TCC curriculum.
“There’s no such thing as a dumb truck driver,” he said. “We as professional drivers have to get out of that mindset of just shifting gears and going down the highway. The technology has changed so much. You have to have an education to be a truck driver.”
TCC’s Career Studies Certificate in Trucking prepares graduates to obtain their Class A Commercial Driver’s License. The eight weeks of training offered both during the day and evening teaches students Department of Transportation rules, defensive driving, maintenance, hazardous material and highway and city driving.
“It’s a stern program, but it works,” Hines said. “TCC turns out the best drivers in the country.”
Hines is among them.