The Arkansas Trucking Association (ATA) has chosen CalArk's own Carl Sparlin as their Driver of the Year for 2018. We're so proud to announce this honor and tell you more about the great qualities he embodies that earned him this well-deserved recognition.
Here's what CalArk Director of Safety Leslie Stout wrote of Carl when nominating him:
Carl is a true professional driver with 23 years of experience and over 2.6 million miles without a preventable accident. He was born and spent his boyhood in Wichita, Kansas, after which his parents moved around a lot and he spent high school running track (specializing in the hurdles) in Corona, California. As a senior he set the state high school record for high hurdles in 1976 then worked some odd jobs before joining the Navy in 1978.
He was assigned to be a Navy Hospital Corpsman, chosen to work with the Marines. After four years with the 7th Marine Regiment at Camp Pendleton, California, he transferred to Okinawa, Japan, and then to Camp Fuji in mainland Japan. After his honorable discharge from the Navy in 1982, he worked in the medical field, including ER positions in Michigan and Missouri, and was credited with 52 resuscitations. He says he found great satisfaction in helping to save lives. He then went to two years of college and worked a variety of jobs, eventually spending the late 80s and early 90s in construction and building houses.
Carl married Viktoria Williams on February 12, 1988, and she influenced him to pursue a career in over-the-road truck driving. He enjoys seeing the country and has met interesting people in 48 states. Feeling like his own boss while on a dispatch and being able to bring Viktoria along from time to time provide an atmosphere of comfort, too.
Carl came to CalArk on June 22, 2011, after 16 years with Skinner (where he was also awarded Driver of the Year). He and Viktoria are a valuable part of the CalArk family, and he's driven about 1.2 million safe miles for us without a single preventable accident. He now trains new drivers and tests new equipment accessories for management. His input on outward-facing cameras and Omnitracs ELD options has been invaluable in making our company and drivers the best, safest, and most innovative in the industry.
Carl represented CalArk in the ATA Truck Driving Championship from 2015 to 2018, and finds it a rewarding challenge to become ever more competitive as our nominee. He's a professional, go-to driver when a special run requires a more experienced driver. His dispatcher says he's an excellent communicator and trip planner, with a passion for the industry and drive to be the best he can be. He enjoys sports and fixing up houses, both hobbies his personal history of track excellence and building expertise make an obvious fit.
A great example of his spirit of compassion and willingness to be a "good Samaritan" came a year or so ago, when a truck parked next to his at a Wichita, Kansas truckstop caught fire. After moving his truck away, Carl provided clothing, food, and a place of comfort in his own cab to the other truck's driver.
CalArk is honored to have someone like Carl moving the Wheels of American Business, who represents all drivers and the industry in an honorable and positive manner.
Here's what the Arkansas Trucking Association had to say when awarding Carl this honor:
"The ATA Driver of the Year award is presented to a driver with strong and noteworthy professional qualifications, experience, and performance. Consideration is also given to extracurricular activities in which the driver may engage in order to promote and further the interests of the industry at the state and national level, as well as community activities and volunteerism.
"Our driver of the Year for 2018 has been with his company for the last 8 years of his 23 year driving career and has accumulated over 2.6 million accident free driving miles during that time. He has competed at the Arkansas Truck Driving Championship for several years as well.
"Prior to becoming a driver, he set the California state high school record for high hurdles, joined the U.S. Navy, worked in a hospital emergency room, attended college for 2 years and even built houses.
"While in the Navy, he worked with the Marines, spent time in Japan and underwent cold weather and mountain training.
"After being honorably discharged, he worked in the medical field for several years and has been credited with 52 resuscitations which helped save the lives of others.
"During his trucking career, he has been driver of the year or runner up for the companies he has worked for. He has been asked to test out new technology and provide feedback, train other drivers and has consistently had a great reputation with his management team. He recently assisted another driver when their tractor caught fire as well.
"He has been married for over 30 years and has been blessed with 7 children. He enjoys all sports and fixing up houses.
"Here again, it is with great pride, and great appreciation for his safety record and for his years of service to the industry, that I announce the 2018 Arkansas Trucking Association Driver of the Year – from CalArk International in Little Rock – Carl Sparlin."
Great job, Carl! Thank you for representing both CalArk and the trucking industry so well!
CalArk Driver of the Year 2nd Runner-Up 2014, CalArk Driver of the Year 1st Runner-Up 2015, CalArk Driver of the Year 1st Runner-Up 2017, Yearly 100% On-Time Delivery Award 2011-2018