Driver of the Year Finalist - Clay Rowland
Clay Rowland, a dedicated dairy transport driver from the heart of dairy country in Floyd, New Mexico, has shown an unwavering commitment to his profession. His journey from the dairy farm to the open road, combined with his passion for mentorship and safety, has earned him the distinction of being a Western Dairy Transport Driver of the Year finalist. He was also recognized as Driver of the Month, as a Gold Standard Driver in 2023, and has achieved 1 million safe miles driving with WDT.
Born and raised on a dairy farm in Floyd, Clay's roots in the industry run deep. He graduated from Floyd High School in 1995, which marked the beginning of his educational journey. He embarked on further studies at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, spending around 2 1/2 years pursuing his academic interests.
Clay's entry into the world of dairy transport began in 1997 when he started fueling trucks for CTL. The company, then Milk Transport Services, played a pivotal role in nurturing his career, helping him obtain his Commercial Driver's License. With his CDL in hand, Clay transitioned to shuttling milk to DFA-PNM, where he honed his skills for approximately two years. Later, in 1999, he began loading milk onto trucks, solidifying his place as a vital link in the dairy supply chain.
Throughout his 26 years at Western Dairy Transport, Clay has not only transported over a million miles of precious cargo but also dedicated himself to fostering the next generation of drivers. His commitment to mentoring new drivers as a driver trainer, along with his countless hours spent teaching essential skills on the yard, has been instrumental in shaping the industry's future. He emphasizes the importance of a proper pre-trip inspection, the tug test, safety protocols, checking plunger valve gaskets, sanitation practices, and the correct sealing of loads, all while sharing his extensive knowledge acquired over years of service.
Clay's commitment to safety is evidenced by his response to numerous accidents and tire changes while on the road. His experience and expertise have made him a beacon of knowledge for those under his mentorship. He embraces the modernization of the trucking industry, particularly the implementation of electronic logging systems, and remains committed to effective communication with dispatch, fostering strong relationships with dairymen, and providing exceptional service to customers.
Clay Rowland's story is a testament to the dedicated professionals who keep the dairy industry moving. His journey from farm to the open road, coupled with his commitment to mentorship and safety, has made him a finalist for the Western Dairy Transport Driver of the Year award, a recognition well-deserved for a lifetime dedicated to dairy transport excellence. Clay's story is a reminder of the importance of experience, education, and commitment in an industry that touches the lives of many, from the dairy farm to the kitchen table.