Professional Truck Driver Institute Honors Terry Burnett with Lee J. Crittenden Memorial Award

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Organization’s highest honor goes to long-time proponent of finding and training
the professional truck drivers of tomorrow

Grapevine, Texas -- The Professional Truck Driver Institute, Inc. (PTDI) is pleased to announce that it has selected Terry Burnett, CIC, CRM, president of Burnett Insurance Corporation of Little Rock, Arkansas, and chairman of PTDI since 2008, as the 2014 recipient of the Lee J. Crittenden Memorial Award. The award was bestowed March 25, 2014, at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas, during the annual convention of the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), the organization that manages PTDI.

The Crittenden Award, sponsored by Cengage Learning of Clifton Park, New York, is given to a person who exemplifies the overall mission of PTDI, for which Lee Crittenden was a staunch supporter until his death in April 1998. PTDI raises the quality of truck driver training courses by establishing and promoting minimum training standards, and by certifying courses that meet those standards.

“It has been a great privilege to work with Terry, who has been the chairman of PTDI the entire time that Cengage Learning has been sponsoring this award – and even long before that,” said Jennifer Barbic, senior marketing manager for Cengage Learning. “Our company strongly believes in what this award stands for. We know from personal experience that Terry is the ultimate PTDI supporter. His commitment to the cause should be deemed nothing short of outstanding.”

Burnett grew up around the family trucking business. With his father (an owner operator for more than 50 years) as a role model, Burnett himself became an owner operator before founding Burnett Insurance more than 33 years ago. Since then, two brothers and a daughter have joined the family-owned and operated company, which has grown to serve more than 400 clients across the United States. Burnett is active in the Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee trucking associations and serves on the Executive Committee of the Truckload Carriers Association.

Burnett was elected to PTDI’s board of directors in 2007. In 2008, when then-chairman Ray Haight stepped down due to other obligations, he recommended Burnett for the job, stating, “He’s a man of action, results, and integrity.” Burnett has served as PTDI’s chairman ever since, working tirelessly to make both insurance companies and motor carriers more aware of the value of PTDI and its standards for training, and he has led the charge to create a model driver finishing program.

Jeffrey K. Davis, vice president, safety, for Motor Transport Underwriters, Inc., of Indianapolis, Indiana, has high praise for Burnett. “Terry has brought a burning passion to PTDI to help this great industry find and train the drivers of tomorrow,” he said. “Terry believes to his very soul the value of the professional truck driver, and has always worked to make sure they have the proper training to succeed in this noble profession. In doing so, he has played an important role in making our highways safer.”

Chris Burruss, president of PTDI and the Truckload Carriers Association, refers to Burnett as an “educational champion” when it comes to today’s professional driver. “Terry possesses an innate ability to figure out what a driver really needs to operate safely. He then customizes those needs to a formidable training option, a truly intangible asset in today’s entry-level driver market,” he said.

The presentation of the annual Lee J. Crittenden award keeps Crittenden’s memory alive and serves as inspiration to others who get involved with truck driver issues. Crittenden helped many important industry activities get their start. He was passionate about promoting a positive image of the nation’s professional truck drivers, and was largely responsible for the creation of America’s Road Team. He also initiated a scholarship program for drivers who participate in the National Truck Driving Championships. His greatest industry achievement is largely believed to be his part in founding the Professional Truck Driver Institute, where he served on the board of directors and also as the finance chairman during the Institute’s infancy. Crittenden worked for Associates Commercial (which later became CitiCapital), the company that was instrumental in creating this award along with the Truckload Carriers Association.