As an activist committed to the trucking industry and the rights of drivers, and a mentor to those just starting out, Richard “Dick” Pingel exemplifies what it means to be a Citizen Driver honoree.
In 2013, TA-Petro launched the Citizen Driver Program to honor exceptional drivers who exhibit strong citizenship, community involvement, leadership, health and wellness, and safety. To date, 26 Citizen Driver Honorees have been named as the best of the best. Dick is one of five members of the 2017 class.
“The criteria for Citizen Driver recognition sets high standards and ones that I know Dick personally aspires to. He is invested in every sense and cares deeply for the driver community. He cares about the welfare of drivers, the future of this vital work force and the professionalism that must be preserved. He is proud to be a truck driver, pride that is evident in his demeanor – whether it’s when he is behind the wheel or attending an industry event. For more than 30 years, the trucking industry has had both a friend and steward in Dick Pingel. His positive image and vibe are contagious,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA Executive Vice President.
A native of Plover, Wisconsin, Dick’s driving career has spanned 41 years and includes 4 million accident-free miles. His driving record and attention to safety make him an excellent mentor for those just starting in the trucking business. Among the awards he has received are the 2015 American Highway Hero award from Road Safe America, the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association (WMCA) President’s Safe Driver Club Award for six years, and the 23-year Safe Driving Award from OOIDA.
“I have come to know Mr. Pingel for his dedication both to the trucking industry and the WMCA, as well as his community. He is an ardent supporter of the Special Olympics truck convoy and has shown a keen interest in the legislative process by joining us numerous times for our annual Call on Washington to meet with our federal representatives to discuss issues of concern to motor carriers,” said Neal Kedzie, President, Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association.
Dick is passionate about addressing legislative initiatives in Washington and makes annual trips to the Capitol with the WMCA’s Call on Washington. Additionally, as a board member of OOIDA, he has testified before Congress regarding the impact high gas prices have on the trucking industry.
“Dick’s passion for the trucking industry is reflected in his commitment to addressing legislative initiatives in Washington. He is a lifetime member of OOIDA and a charter member of Women in Trucking. Dick is dedicated to his family as much as the trucking industry,” said John Wiley, Vice President Driver Relations/IT/Safety, D&G Transportation.
Since his heart attack in 2009, Dick has quit smoking and drinking caffeine. He gets regular check-ups and he makes healthy choices as often as possible.
“His dedication to the trucking community and spirit of service are truly inspiring and something we could all only hope to emulate. He stands up for drivers and is especially interested in making sure more young people consider truck driving as a career. His safety record is second to none and he’s an excellent mentor for those making their first forays into the world of trucking,” said Chris Tsakis, Sirius XM host, Trucking Talk Programming.
Do you know someone who should be a Citizen Driver? TA-Petro is currently accepting nominations for our next class of Citizen Driver Honorees. You have until September 30, 2017 to submit your entry. The 2018 Citizen Drivers will be announced at a ceremony at the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum.