WASHINGTON, DC — September 22, 2003 — Truck drivers nationwide will converge on Nashville, TN next month for the 17th Annual Food Industry Truck Driving Championship on October 24-26 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. Sponsored by the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) and supported by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the competition will kick off the 2003 Productivity Convention and EXPO.

The Truck Driving Championship is a safety program highlighting standards of excellence and recognizing personal achievement among the truck drivers for foodservice distributors, wholesale grocers and self-distributing retailers. Professional drivers participate in a three-part competition that includes a written examination, vehicle safety inspection and driving course problems.

“Driver safety is a very important part of daily food distribution operations,” said Paul Miller, director of transportation for Merchants Distributors, Inc., and the 2003 Truck Driving Championship co-chair. “We are pleased to support this event to recognize those drivers who exemplify the best in safety practices.”

“This competition is a great morale builder,” said Ray Tarbell, transportation supervisor at Gordon Food Service and a co-chair of the competition. “It spotlights safety, rewards drivers, and sends a clear message on just how important driving is to the overall function of foodservice distribution.”

The competition begins with a written examination with questions that measure a driver’s knowledge of safety and operating procedures, as well as awareness of highway rules and regulations, emergency procedures and the trucking industry.

A vehicle safety inspection is the second part of the program. In this phase, each driver conducts a vehicle inspection to uncover any equipment defects and safety hazards that could affect vehicle readiness. Drivers are scored based on the number of defects identified.

The final segment of the competition is the driving competition. Here, drivers are evaluated on their ability to evaluate and handle a series of driving course problems that simulate everyday operating conditions.

Three classes of trucks will be used in the competition: 20/22-foot straight trucks; 28- foot tractor/trailers and 48-foot tractor/trailers. Each participating division or company may enter up to three contestants, but only one driver per category. No drivers may compete in more than one category.

Winners of the Truck Driving Championship will be recognized and honored at an awards banquet on Sunday evening, October 26, during the 2003 Productivity Convention and Expo. The prizes include a $2,000 travel award, $500 cash and a trophy for first place; $750 cash and a trophy for second place; and $500 cash and a trophy for third place.

To register for the competition, or for more information, please contact Jodee Hunt at 703-532-9400, ext. 216.


Food Marketing Institute (FMI) conducts programs in research, education, industry relations and public affairs on behalf of its 2,300 member companies — food retailers and wholesalers — in the United States and around the world. FMI’s U.S. members operate approximately 26,000 retail food stores with a combined annual sales volume of $340 billion — three-quarters of all food retail store sales in the United States. FMI’s retail membership is composed of large multi-store chains, regional firms and independent supermarkets. Its international membership includes 200 companies from 60 countries.

The International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) is a trade organization representing foodservice distributors throughout the U.S., Canada, and internationally. IFDA's 135 members include broadline and specialty foodservice distributors that supply food and related products to restaurants, institutions, and other food away from home foodservice operations. IFDA members operate more than 550 facilities, and sell more than $64 billion in food and related products to the fastest growing sector in the food industry.