Davis Cartage employee wins Driver of the Year award

Alan Maike, a driver at Davis Cartage in Corunna, has won the Michigan Trucking Association’s 2020 Driver of the Year award. Shown with the award plaque, from left, are Davis Cartage Vice President Gregg Janicek, Maike, his wife Sylvia Maike and President Glen Merkel.

CORUNNA — Driver Alan Maike wasn’t pleased that his vacation got interrupted by his boss at Davis Cartage trucking company, who called him and his wife Sylvia Maike back to Corunna.

Sylvia Maike, her husband was told, had to return in order to attend a planning session for an upcoming company golf outing she was helping to organize. So, on Monday Alan Maike made the three-hour drive south from the couple’s cottage, grumbling all the way.

But the stated reason for calling the couple home was only a ruse: In fact, Alan Maike had won the Michigan Trucking Association’s 2020 Driver of the Year award.

Association representatives were coming to Davis Cartage to present the award Monday, and the trucking firm had to get Maike there for the ceremony — without telling him why, since the award was a surprise.

Once Maike arrived and figured out what was going on, he was no longer annoyed. He was handed a trophy and plaque featuring a Michigan driver’s license reading “Driver 1.”

“He broke down and started crying, he was so happy about it,” Davis Cartage Vice President Gregg Janicek said Tuesday.

Maike — selected as Driver of the Month in August, making him a finalist for Driver of the Year — has logged over 4 million miles during his 35-year career at Davis Cartage. He’s never had a vehicular accident.

“Alan’s safety record is unbelievably awesome — amazing,” Janicek said. “He is very family-oriented, hard-working and dedicated, the kind of guy who will drop whatever he’s doing to help somebody. You think of a stellar employee — that would be Alan.”

“Thank you to Alan and all drivers who risk their health and safety every day as essential workers keep America moving!” someone from the Association posted on Facebook late Monday evening.

Maike, one of 45 truckers employed by Davis Cartage, is a heavy-haul driver pulling eight-axle trailers. He posted a note of appreciation on the Association’s Facebook profile.

“I just want to thank the Michigan Trucking Association for all they do,” Maike wrote. “I’m honored to have been chosen as driver of the year 2020. Thank you, Davis Cartage, for all the support, and especially my family for always being there. Safe driving, everyone!”

Maike lives with his wife and children in Oakley. When he’s not driving, he enjoys hunting and fishing.

On Monday night, the Association held a Zoom meeting attended by all 12 Drivers of the Month. Officials announced Maike had made driver of the year, based on his years of service and his safe driving record.

If driver of the year wasn’t enough, Davis Cartage received the Fleet Safety award, General Commodities division.

“It shows how safe we are out there,” Janicek said. “Safety’s No. 1 at Davis Cartage. We want our highways to be safe, and we want our drivers to come home to their families.”

Winning the Driver of the Year and Fleet Safety awards “is a huge honor,” he said. “We’re blessed by it. It tells us we’re getting guys home safe, and we want to continue that.”

Established in 1941, Davis Cartage is a transportation and warehousing company providing full service logistics solutions. With distribution centers located throughout Michigan, the company offers quick access to major cities and manufacturing centers in the U.S. and Canada.

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