DURING his three-decade- long career, Warwick truck driver Tom Scotney has clocked up more than six million kilometres and has not earned himself a single fine in the past 10 years.
Clients request him by name because they know he is the best man for the job and he is always happy to offer advice to his younger colleagues.
All of these things have helped earn the Hardy's Haulage long-distance driver the prestigious Natroad Professional Driver of the Year for 2013.
Hardy's Haulage operations manager Nigel Bailey said he was ecstatic to learn Tom had taken out the award.
"I was punching the air and it was one of the most exciting things of my time in the industry - to see someone who deserves to be recognised, recognised," he said.
Mr Bailey said he was not surprised in the least to see his driver of 18 years honoured.
"Tom is a shining example of how a professional driver should be," he said.
"He stands head and shoulders above other professional operators because of his attitude and attention to detail."
"I have seen some very good operators in my time but the ones who stand out like Tom, I could only count five or six."
Truck drivers often get thrust into the spotlight in a negative manner and Mr Bailey said guys like Tom were the key to turning inaccurate stereotypes around.
"Tom is a mentor to the young guys and is always happy to answer questions on how something can be done better or more safely," he said. "Customers will call us and ask if Tom can do their job because they know he will do it the way they want and he will do it right."
Mr Scotney, who has had just two employers over his 32 year behind the wheel of a big rig, is humble in accepting recognition for his commitment to the industry.
Although his employers and wife, Dianne, knew he had been nominated for the award, Mr Scotney didn't find out until the announcement.
And he was shocked, to say the least. "I didn't think they would do anything like that," he said.
"When they said I had won, I just said, 'What's all this about then?' I was just overwhelmed."
Mr Scotney attributes a genuine passion for the industry and love for his job as the driving force behind his success in his career.
And as they say, behind every great man is an even greater woman and he said special mention must be made of his wife of 31 years, who has supported him throughout his time on the road.
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