ERV DOERKSEN, senior driver for Scamp Industries Ltd, has such an enviable driving record that he was named 2000 PacLease Driver of the Year. A 25-year veteran, Doerksen has logged more than two million miles without an accident.
The quiet and reserved Doerksen says his record is just a matter of performing his job for the Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, petroleum distributor.
"Every individual gets something in life by approaching a job with dignity," he said. "For me, dignity comes from doing my job, which means taking care of my customers, my employer, and my equipment."
Doerksen's last nine years and 1.2 million miles have been spent negotiating the tight mountain passes and severe winter conditions of the British Columbia interior. It was there that he performed one example of devotion to duty, says Mark Dirksen, Scamp's transportation manager.
"A couple of years ago, we had the most severe winter storm in memory," says Dirksen. "Everything was shut down when we got a call from the railway that their freight train was stranded without fuel in Pemberton, British Columbia.
"Even on a good day, that road is one of the most challenging in North America."
Without a word of protest, Erv set to the task of reaching the stranded train. What normally would take about seven hours to complete turned into a 37-hour ordeal.
"On top of all that, Erv missed his family's New Year's Eve celebration, but he never complained" says Dirksen. "The railway considered him a true hero, and wrote a letter of commendation."
Doerksen handles DOT406 tank trailers that transport gasoline and diesel to customers. Typical B-train gross combination weight is 140,000 pounds.
Traveling the interior of British Columbia requires equipment specified for optimum safety, says Doerksen. His company runs 21 Kenworth T800s leased from PacLease Langley, British Columbia. PacLease Langley nominated the driver for the award.
"With a sloped hood, Daylite doors and Cab Corner windows, the T800 has excellent visibility," says Doerksen. "It also handles nicely. The cornering is very good, and we spec traction control for snow and ice conditions."
The greatest safety feature, he adds, is the T800's 42-inch sleeper. "It gives me a chance to rest," he says. "The only piece of advice I got when I started driving 25 years ago is still the most valuable today: `It takes a pro to know when you're tired.'
"Our employer understands this and allows us to take breaks as needed. The company understands that we have a demanding job, and places a priority on safety."
Doerksen is the consummate professional, according to Dirksen. "What really stands out about Erv is the extra mile he goes to do his job right," he says. "He routinely takes on extra loads without being asked, and keeps our customers happy. You may have great drivers, but if you're lucky, you have one driver who is a role model for the rest, and that's what we've got with Erv."
Doerksen was named the PacLease Driver of the Year after his record, along with those from other nominees, was reviewed by the PacLease Executive Committee chairman; two Paccar Leasing Company area managers; the Paccar Leasing Company risk manager; and the Paccar Leasing Company director of North American operations.
To qualify, drivers must work for (or are leased drivers to) a full-service PacLease customer. They must have driven at least one million miles without a preventable accident, or have 25,000 hours with no preventable accident, and possess a three-year motor vehicle record that is clear of any moving traffic or compliance violations.
In addition to the core criteria, the committee evaluates nominees on the condition and care of PacLease equipment, fuel economy and performance, and community service, or unusual service to the trucking industry.
Doerksen will receive a diamond ring, leather jacket, and an all-expense paid trip to Seattle, Washington, for him and his wife. They will stay in a luxury hotel and attend a banquet where he will be presented with the award.