MEET THE JUDGES OF THE 2019 SHELL ROTELLA SUPERRIGS TRUCK SHOW
In more than thirty years in trucking, Cliff Abbott has filled a variety of roles. After more than a decade behind the wheel as both company driver and owner operator, Cliff began developing safety and proficiency training, teaching thousands to be better, safer drivers. He loves to write, authoring a book about his over-the-road exploits and recording three albums of original songs, many of them about the industry he loves.
Cliff is currently a Special Correspondent for The Trucker newspaper, counting the monthly Shell Safety series among his works since 2010. In his spare time, plays upright bass in a bluegrass band and photographs wildlife around a small lake he designed at his North-Central Alabama home.
Eric Harley’s radio career began 32 years ago in his home town of Wichita Falls, Texas. In 1996, he gained national exposure as host on the Pure Gold Oldies format for ABC Radio Networks. Shortly thereafter, he came aboard to co-host The Midnight Trucking Radio Network with Bill Mack as the show launched nationally. Gary McNamara joined Eric on MTRN in the summer of 2005 and in 2012, the broadcast duo took the reins of Red Eye Radio, creating an overnight program that is now heard on more than 250 stations.
Growing up as the son of a military veteran (Eric’s father served in two foreign wars), Eric has a deep affection for those who serve. He is a strong supporter of organizations like The Coalition To Salute America’s Heroes and others. Trucking runs in Eric's family as his grandfather was a trucker after serving in World War II and his father became a truck driver after retiring from the military. As a result of his family history and many years of talking to truckers on his radio program, Eric is a proud advocate for the trucking industry. In his down time, he is a dedicated husband and father, who enjoys nothing more than spending time with his family.
Jami Jones, always wanted to be an accountant. Until she went to college for accounting. Deciding that wasn’t quite exciting enough, she grabbed a camera over a summer break and conned the editor of a local newspaper into hiring her. He tried to send her on her way, more than once, but finally relented.
After years as a sports reporter/editor and photographer, Jami worked her way through school and dabbled in a variety of mainstream journalism jobs covering a variety of news. Some assignments were cool (not everyone gets to cover a high-speed chase while actually riding along with the police in the chase), some not-so-cool (landfill cleanups).
It never crossed her mind that trucking journalism was a thing – until it actually crossed her mind and she took a job as a business editor for a trucking newspaper in 2000. The rest, is trucking journalism history.
Jami fell in love with the industry. The men and women are fascinating. The job intriguing. The government oversight unrelenting. The fact she grew up helping her brother work on vehicles on the farm in Arkansas added to the appeal. She simply loved the big trucks.
An opportunity to join Land Line came in 2004 and she jumped at the chance. Ready to put her wicked devotion, tireless advocacy and hard-hitting research to work bettering the lives of the men and women who actually get the job done day in and day out – she knew it was going to be like coming home.
With 15 plus years in trucking journalism under her belt, you can bet that whether judging SuperRigs or researching hard-hitting analyses, she covers trucking from lug nuts to legislation – always with straight talk and always with the trucker in mind.
Steve Sturgess is a trucking commentator with more than 40 years’ experience writing about trucks, truckers and trucking. He has worked on the leading trucking publications in North America and Europe and is now a freelance correspondent for many international titles such as Diesel Progress and Transport Topics. Steve is also an editor and consultant for Transporte Latino, a Spanish language trucking magazine for Hispanic truckers based in the United States.
Sturgess has made a commitment to the Latino truckers, realizing that they will become as vital a part of the trucking scene as they are in the construction, hospitality and other industries. He brings a wealth of experience to the new task. Sturgess was with Newport Business Media for 17 years as editor of NATSO Truckers News, editor of the award-winning RoadStar and executive editor of Heavy Duty Trucking as well as contributing editor to www.truckinginfo.com.
He’s been the recipient of the Grand Neal (the premier award for ALL business press) twice and has many Neal Awards and other industry accolades. Sturgess is now a columnist for trucking magazines in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe and Australia and is a regular blogger at www.stevesturgess.com.
For four years in the ‘90s he shared a trucking radio appearance with fellow writer David Kolman that ran on Bill Mack’s Midnight Cowboy radio program.
A native of London, England, Sturgess has been in the North America for more than 40 years. He started his truck journalism career in 1974 as the managing editor of TRUCK Magazine in London. In 1980 he moved to Toronto to become technical editor of Motor Truck, then became an editor for both Bus & Truck and Canadian Driver Owner.
Moving to the United States as a trucking reporter in 1983, he worked on and edited American Trucker Magazine, Overdrive as well as contributing trucking columns to Equipment World and Construction Equipment.
Sturgess’ North American trucking experience covers the last 35 years since the industry’s deregulation in 1980 – a period of enormous change and turmoil in an industry that was considered “mature” in the late ‘70s.
A graduate engineer, Sturgess earned his honors bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at City University in London before working as a truck development engineer with Ford of Europe in the early ‘70s. He has been a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers for 30 years. He is a commercial truck driver, licensed in both North America and in Europe and counts among his adventures driving an Australian roadtrain at more than 240,000 pounds.
Douglas Morris is currently the Director of Safety and Security Operations for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). OOIDA is an international association that represents over 154,000 small business trucking professionals who transport everything from Agriculture products to Hazardous Materials.
Mr. Morris has over 28 years of transportation safety and security experience. Prior to joining OOIDA Mr. Morris was employed with the Maryland State Police having duty assignments as the Assistant Commander of the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division and as Commander of the Transportation Security Section and Transportation Safety Division.
During his tenure with the Maryland State Police Mr. Morris received two Superintendent’s Commendations for exemplary performance and numerous other awards. Mr. Morris has received over 500 hours of advanced training in the handling and transportation of hazardous materials to include chemical, radiological and biological substances.
Mr. Morris continues to be active in the law enforcement community and is currently the President of the Maryland Troopers Association Lodge 13, he is also a member of the National Troopers Coalition and Maryland Law Enforcement Officers respectively.
Mr. Morris is currently the Chairman of the Department of Homeland Security’s Highway and Motor Carrier Sector Coordinating Council and is also the Secretary for the Partnership for Critical Infrastructure Security and Cross Sector Council. The Council represents the sixteen critical infrastructure sectors.
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