Professional drivers are the backbone of our economy, and without them, every aspect of our lives would be impacted. Citizen Driver recognizes some of the remarkable men and women in the trucking industry for their dedication to citizenship, community involvement, health and wellness, leadership and safety. This year, we’re proud to honor team drivers Kenn and Beth Zelten as Citizen Drivers.
Kenn and Beth first hit it off at a race track in 1988, where he was a racer and she was a track photographer. Soon after, they decided to buy their first truck together, and in 1989 they hit the road. 30 years and 10 trucks later, Kenn and Beth have proven they represent what it means to be Citizen Drivers. From mentoring other drivers to receiving several safety awards, the Zeltens lead by example and constantly offer a helping hand to those who need it.
The Zeltens have shown they’re serious about safety after earning nearly two million accident free miles. Landstar has recognized the Zeltens with their annual safety award all three years they’ve been with the company, and Mark Gillette, Director of Landstar Transportation Logistics, agrees that this duo exemplifies Citizen Driver qualities.
“I believe the Zeltens fit the definition of citizens we want to be at the forefront of our industry,” Gillette said.”
In 2013 and 2014, Kenn and Beth received the President’s Safe Driver Club Award for accident and violation free driving, which was sponsored by the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association. The pair has also received four FedEx Custom Critical Four Star Awards, which acknowledge the top 40 independent contractors in the FedEx fleet who demonstrate a high standard of customer service, safety and efficiency.
They’re also committed to spreading their knowledge with other drivers and the general public. They regularly organize and take part in “No Zone” training sessions in Rockford and Chicago, Illinois and parts of Canada, where they teach high school students in particular how to drive safely in and around large trucks.
In 2018 they were asked to bring their green Volvo truck, nicknamed Kermit, to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) Brake Training Symposium, where it was used by CVSA instructors to educate attendees on conducting proper brake inspections, maintenance and safety.
The Zelten’s truck is green in more ways than one. In addition to the tractor’s light green exterior covered in water, bird and butterfly imagery, Kermit is equipped with adaptive loading technology, can run at lower RPM to increase fuel economy and even has a filter system that often puts out cleaner air than it takes in. Everything about Kermit is designed to help reduce the Zelten’s carbon footprint, including the solar panels they had installed to help combat load drain on the batteries.
But Kermit isn’t the only way the Zeltens help support and take care of the environment. They also support organizations that share their same love of nature, such as the Audubon Society of Michigan, Ducks Unlimited and Bat Conservation International.
As lifetime members of the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and members of Women in Trucking, Kenn and Beth have an enduring history of getting involved to help make a difference in the trucking community. Whether it’s through the Honor Fleet for Wreaths Across America, Trucker Buddy International, Truckers Against Trafficking or Women in Trucking, this team of drivers has consistently and happily sacrifies their free time to help others. They also contribute to worthwhile causes like the St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund, The Salvation Army, Mission of Hope and Onramp to Health.
Kenn and Beth continuously leave a positive impact on everyone they meet, whether in the trucking industry or not. From helping educate existing and future professional drivers to reducing their carbon footprint, the level of dedication and excellence this team exudes is something all drivers should strive to reach.
It was our honor to dedicate the Chicago North TA Travel Center in Kenn & Beth Zelten's name on June 7, 2019.
If you know a stand-out driver or team of drivers like the Zeltens, you can nominate them for the next group of Citizen Drivers! Visit the Citizen Driver website after June 1 to submit your nomination.