Pilot Flying J celebrated the unsung heroes of our nation’s roadways – the professional drivers that keep our country moving – with the fourth annual Road Warrior contest. Read more details on past winners below.
Mike has been a professional driver for more than 27 years and has over 3.5 million safe driving miles under his belt. Mike has trained more than 300 students throughout his career, teaching the importance of safety above all else. His awards and accolades speak to his achievements on the road, but pale in comparison to his dedication to his family. Mike and his wife have four adopted daughters, each born drug and/or alcohol exposed and surviving trauma, abuse and neglect. While driving can be a demanding career, Mike always prioritizes spending time with family and advocating for his children. “I am so humbled to be chosen as a Road Warrior winner,” said Mike. “Driving has been part of my life for almost 30 years, and teaching aspiring professional drivers to prioritize safety above all else is what has remained most important to me throughout my career. Experience will never trump physics, and I encourage all drivers to remember this on the road. I’d like to thank my wife for nominating me and always believing in me, and all of the inspiring pro drivers I’ve met throughout my journey.” See Mike's Video
Terry began his professional driving career 34 years ago while serving in the army in the Middle East. Terry has overcome many adversities throughout his life including rebuilding his family’s home after losing it to a flood and being diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia stage two blood cancer. None of these hardships hindered his dedication to driving, and he is still on the road today making his family proud.
Desiree, a long haul driver who joined the professional driving community when she turned 21, is an advocate of millennial women breaking barriers in the professional driving industry. Throughout her recent pregnancy, Ridley continued to show dedication and passion for her job, driving until she was eight-and-a-half months pregnant. Even as a new mother, she continues to drive (now locally) six days a week while caring for her family.
Jacqueline Rocha is a dedicated advocate for professional driving with ambitious plans to start a nonprofit organization aimed at recruiting young women in the industry. Rocha’s love for keeping America moving forward and the camaraderie she's built with other drivers on the road inspired her goal to create an educational support system for millennials interested in pro driving. Since graduating with her commercial driver’s license at the age of 21, she’s been passionate about encouraging her generation and females alike to consider careers in trucking while also learning all she can from other veteran drivers.
Last year, Pilot Flying J named Oceanside, CA resident Erik Michaels as its 2015 Road Warrior grand prize winner. Michaels has been a long-haul professional driver for more than 46 years. Roughly three years ago, Michaels endured a major stroke while on the job, causing temporary paralysis and loss of motor skills. After months of hospital stays, he embarked on the long road to recovery, which was comprised of countless doctor visits and physical therapy sessions. Just recently, Michaels made a full recovery and is back to doing what he loves most – driving professionally.
Kyle Cones, a U.S. Army veteran and professional driver, was named the 2014 Road Warrior winner. Cones has been recognized for his commitment to safety, as well as to his fellow drivers, family and country. After Cones was injured in Afghanistan, his job choices were limited, until he realized that driving a truck was the perfect lifestyle and career opportunity for him.