When discussing the trucking industry, you often hear talk about the trucks, but not enough about the people driving them. That’s why we created Citizen Driver, to help recognize the people behind the wheel who work nonstop to keep our country strong and for their dedication to the industry and within their communities. This year, we’re proud to add Herschel Evans to our list of 35 Citizen Drivers.
From a young age, Herschel aspired to be a heavy truck mechanic just like his father. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, he started out in the business as a fuel/wash man and worked his way up to a mechanic for Ryder Truck Rental. He later shifted from the shop to the driver’s seat, and after a few years with Ryder he moved to Holland, Inc., where he’s been for the past 26 years and counting.
Herschel is a standout leader in the industry and has driven more than 3 million accident free miles over his 32 year career as a professional truck driver. He’s a strong safety advocate and an active member of Holland’s Safety Committee. Herschel also serves as part of their Safety Review and Editing Board where he reviews safety materials, and even helped develop a safety video for Holland describing safe backing techniques and practices.
In 2013, Herschel was selected as an American Trucking Associations (ATA) America’s Road Team Captain. In this role, Herschel drove the ATA Road Team Image truck and Share the Road trucks around the country and spoke to schools, community groups, news media, legislators and industry and government officials about highway safety and the vitality of the trucking industry.
In 2017, Herschel received the Mike Russell Trucking Image Award for representing the industry through his role as an America’s Road Team Captain, his lifetime commitment to safe driving and for creating the Safety Drive for a Cure truck driving competition.
Herschel also received the 2018 Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance International Driver Excellence Award (IDEA), which recognizes an elite group of drivers who display superior personal character and go above and beyond in their duties through safety and compliance. Only drivers with at least 25 cumulative years of crash-free driving and a clean driving record for the past three years are eligible for nomination.
Herschel’s accomplishments extend to state and national truck driving championships too. He was the 5-Axle National Driving Champion in 2008 and 2011. Locally, he placed first in the sleeper category in 2017 and 2018 and first in the 5-Axle category in 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2012 at the Georgia Truck Driving Championships.
Herschel understands and takes pride in the fact that being a professional driver is about more than driving a truck. For Herschel, being a professional driver means that he never has to wonder if what he does for a living matters.
“Being in the industry that all other industries and families rely on for the items they need makes for a satisfying job,” he said. “Yes I drive the truck, but there is so much more to it. Knowing and following the regulations. Making sure my cargo is secure and loaded properly, all while taking care of my customers. It takes a professional to do that. I am proud to be one.”
Herschel is kind-hearted, compassionate and intent on making a difference in the lives of not only his customers, but also those in his community and in need. In 2011, Herschel started the Safety Drive for a Cure benefitting the Pediatric Brain Tumor foundation. This safety and skills competition is now in its seventh year and draws over 100 professional drivers from across the country to compete. As the driving force behind the event, Herschel helped raise over $30,000 in 2018 and over $50,000 in 2019.
In 2016, the Convoy of Care was developed to help deliver critical supplies to familiar affected by major natural disasters. Through the convoy, Herschel helped coordinate sending over 30 truckloads with an estimated 600 tons of supplies to help flooding victims in Louisiana, tornado victims in Georgia and hurricane victims in Texas, North and South Carolina and Georgia. In 2019, he helped load and transport supplies for tornado ravaged areas in Alabama and Georgia, and for those affected by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.
In addition to his work for the Convoy of Care, Herschel has devoted over 33 years to the Atlanta Ride for Kids, a nationwide motorcycle charity ride that benefits the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. And as part of his Citizen Driver prize package, he will receive a $2,500 donation to the charity of his choice, which he has decided to give to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.
Herschel also gets to choose a TA, Petro or TA Express to have dedicated in his name. As an Atlanta Native, things came full circle when he selected Petro Atlanta as his dedication site.
“Actually, the zip code of that Petro is the same zip code I grew up in,” Herschel said. “When I first got into the trucking industry I was a tire technician. The spot where Petro Atlanta now sits was another truck stop back then. I went there many times to change tires on trucks.”
“Now, when any of the ATA Road Team trucks are being stored at my terminal, that Petro is where I take them for fuel and service,” Hershel added. “That part of town is still where I make deliveries. Being from the area and still working a lot in and around the area, it will be pretty dang neat that this location in my hometown will bear my name.”
We are proud to recognize Herschel Evans as a Citizen Driver and we thank him for his lifelong commitment to trucking and to serving the communities around him.
Does Herschel’s story remind you of a professional driver you know? You can nominate them for the next group of Citizen Drivers! Visit the Citizen Driver website after July 1 to submit your nomination.