ORLANDO (October 16, 2023) – Today’s trucking and transportation industry is about more than just moving goods across the country – it’s also about building communities through strong families. Fleet Advantage has always recognized this, and the company returned for a seventh straight year to sponsor the annual Kids Essay Contest at the 2023 International Foodservice Distributor Association’s (IFDA) National Championship where companies and families showed their appreciation for truck drivers and warehouse equipment operators.
The IFDA National Championship is a premier event for foodservice distribution drivers to compete and showcase their driving and safety skills. This year, a new warehouse competition took place concurrently with the annual truck driving competition, which provided an opportunity for the foodservice industry’s most elite pallet jack and reach truck operators to showcase their safety skills and excellence.
The event was held at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando from October 12 – 14 and is designed to showcase the skills necessary to be a driver today, which is no small feat considering foodservice distributors play an important role in moving 12 billion cases worth of goods in today’s economy. Nevertheless, without strong families and communities in which they live, it would be difficult to keep America moving today.
“We are extremely proud of our nation’s drivers and operators, and we have long believed that it’s important to recognize the daily sacrifices these families make for our economy,” said Katerina Jones, Chief Marketing Officer for Fleet Advantage. “Our core values include building strong communities, and truck drivers, operators, and their families are a large part of America’s community fabric, so it’s important to let them know how important they are each and every day.”
A notable part of the three-day event, Fleet Advantage is the inaugural co-organizer and has been a sponsor and judge of the event’s annual Kids Essay Contest for the past seven years, where children of participants are given the opportunity to share why they are proud of their driver.
“On behalf of IFDA, we express our sincere gratitude to Fleet Advantage for their unwavering support of the Kids Contest for the National Championship,” said Lisa Broyhill, Vice President of Industry Relations for the International Foodservice Distributor Association. “We deeply appreciate and highly value the company's substantial contribution to our organization and the foodservice industry we proudly represent.”
After judging many outstanding essays that demonstrated exceptional writing skills, it was determined that Marco Escribano (16, parent Luis Escribano driving for Sysco) won first place in the 14-17 age range, while Abigail Reynolds (13, parent Eric Reynolds driving for PFG) and Annabelle Phillips (8, parent John Phillips driving for PFG) won first place in the 11-13 and 8-10 age ranges, respectively. These young minds showcased remarkable creativity in sharing why they are proud of their driver and operator parents’ commitments to the distribution of everyday goods and services.
“There is a hero in my family, and this is my daddy,” said Annabelle Phillips in her essay. “He always says I can be anything I want to be. He works hard and I listen to him because he’s my hero.”
“A hero is someone who inspires us, protects us, and helps us in our darkest times,” said Abigail Reynolds in her essay.” My driver and hero is my dad because of these reasons and many more. He has always loved and supported me throughout my life and is always hard-working and determined.”
In addition to the essay contest, there was also a “Draw Your Hero” contest for children 7 and under, this year won by seven-year-old Mason Woodward, son of Renzi Foodservice driver Jesse Woodward.
Fleet Advantage and its Kids Around The Corner Foundation (KATC) continue to recognize the need to build and support communities around drivers and their families. For years, KATC has coordinated charitable donations and causes that positively impact community programs, including that of women and children, in the areas in which drivers and their families live.
For more information, please visit www.ifdaonline.org/events/ifda-tdc.
About Fleet Advantage
Fleet Advantage is the largest independent lessor for heavy-duty Class-8 trucks and has over $2.6 Billion assets and over 20,000 units under its Life Cycle Cost Management (LCCM) program. This comprises a client portfolio of more than 50 of America’s top corporate fleets, including five (5) of the top 10 private fleets in the country. Fleet Advantage guarantees the absolute lowest cost of operation by providing fleet asset management, financing solutions, and fleet analytics, using the latest equipment technology to achieve optimum vehicle productivity and maximum safety. Our model of TCO, clean diesel, and safety-enhanced trucks with shorter life cycles complement our customers’ ESG goals. The accomplishments of Fleet Advantage and our leadership team continue to be recognized for tremendous growth and industry leadership with numerous awards, including Top Private Independent and Most Innovative Firm by the Monitor Daily, Top Software & Tech Awards, Top Women Associates in Finance, and Green Supply Chain Awards to name a few. The company has also been named to Inc. magazine’s 500|5000 list of fastest growing companies in the nation.
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