TRUCKING AUSTRALIA: Robert Schalkwyk from EnergyTrans won Professional Driver of the Year at the ATA Awards last year.
TRUCKING AUSTRALIA: Robert Schalkwyk from EnergyTrans won Professional Driver of the Year at the ATA Awards last year. Carly Morrissey

Meet top drivers in the industry

WITH just over a week to go, it's not too late to have your say and help develop the industry's plans at Trucking Australia 2014.

Held on Hamilton Island on Friday, June 6, and Saturday, June 7, Trucking Australia 2014 is also your opportunity to meet some of Australia's best drivers - the finalists for the 2014 National Professional Driver of the Year Award.

They are:

 Neville Thacker, BP Regional Operations (Townsville, Qld)

 Barry Grimson, Unanderra Tanker Hire (Shellharbour, NSW)

 Tom Scotney, Hardy's Haulage (Warwick, Qld)

Neville has driven fuel tankers for 25 years, and in this time has maintained a blemish-free driving record. He has been employed by BP Regional Operations for the past 11 years, and has accumulated more than three million accident-free kilometres over various road conditions across North Queensland.

He is highly respected for his professionalism and commitment to the industry among line management, peers and customers alike, and was awarded the QTA Professional Driver of the Year Award in 2013.

Known as "Sleepy" by his peers, Barry started driving for his father's business in 1964. A conscientious employee, his high standards and positive approach to his work are an inspiration to the other employees of Unanderra Tanker Hire.

Barry is dedicated to improving conditions for his fellow drivers, and is unofficially known at his home depot as the "drivers' advocate".

He was involved in the initial stages of the construction of the Australian Truck Drivers' Memorial Wall at Tarcutta, and has been involved in many Camp Quality Convoys for Kids.

With just two employers during his 33 years of truck driving, Tom has shown enormous commitment to the road transport industry.

He is often seen assisting other road users and younger drivers in the industry.

His work ethic is beyond reproach, and he makes a point of being impeccably attired every day.

In the last 10 years, Tom has travelled more than 6.3 million kilometres without receiving a fine.

He is not afraid to stop other people if he sees them doing a job in an unsafe manner, and encourages those around him to adopt safer practices.

Tom was recognised as the 2013 NatRoad Professional Driver of the Year.

These drivers are some of the best of our industry. Along with a number of past Driver of the Year winners, they'll attend Trucking Australia 2014 before the announcement of the winner at the ATA Foundation Sponsors Gala Dinner.

Trucking Australia 2014 features a first-class program where delegates, no matter what their background, can share their ideas to develop action plans for improving safety and health in the industry.

These plans will be used by the ATA to help determine its future lobbying, communications and research priorities.

You'll be able to develop your own skills with presentation training and a chain-of-responsibility masterclass, as well as enjoy great food and entertainment at the Kenworth Legends Luncheon, the BPW Transpec barbecue in Hamilton Island's Front Street, and the ATA Foundation Sponsors Gala Awards Dinner.

And with kids up to 12 able to stay and eat free on the island -

/kids-travel-deals - it's also a great opportunity to take the family for a well-earned tropical holiday.

Full delegate registration for Trucking Australia 2014 is only $475 (incl GST), and Hamilton Island flights and accommodation are still available. See www.truckingaustralia