It’s a common expression to say that something is “in your blood”… Farming is in my blood. Military is in my blood. But trucking is in my blood has never been so literal as it is for Jeff Payne. After growing up with parents who owned a trucking company, Jeff and his five brothers have all grown up to drive just like their father before them.
A Family That Drives Together Stays Together
Growing up in Salt Lake, Jeff got his inspiration from his parents who owned a trucking company. Jeff’s childhood was filled with exciting ride-alongs with his father and brothers. It was Jeff’s dad who really opened up him and his brothers to the adventures of truck driving.
While his five brothers went on to become truck drivers, Jeff wasn’t yet old enough so he started out unloading trucks right after high school. But that urge to drive still remained, and Jeff was determined to earn his CDL and become a truck driver. After all, trucking is in his blood.
The Bliss of Finding a Career You Truly Love
After Jeff earned his CDL, he saw a job posting for a driver at Reddaway and was sold. In 1993 he started out at Reddaway as a city driver. He has tried both linehaul and city driving, but city driving just works better for him. Whether he’s weaving through city streets or cruising the open road, Jeff has always managed to do his job with incredible attention to safety.
“It’s all about space management, really. You have to know how much space you take up, and respect the space of others,” says Jeff on how he has achieved his safety record.
Aside from Jeff’s skill and focus, healthy eating and a good night’s sleep are essential to staying alert and safe on the road. At Reddaway, our drivers are proud to call themselves professional truck drivers, and Jeff is nothing short of that. He not only puts his heart and soul into driving, but makes sure that he looks and feels great while doing it.
Because of Jeff’s skill and dedication to safety, he was able to start competing in the National Truck Driving Championships in 1995. Since then he’s competed in a total of 13 Nationals with a big first place win in Orlando in 2011 and a 3rd place win in 2014. Jeff has also received the Neill Darmstadter Professional Excellence Award and the National Vehicle Condition Award, both of which are a great honor to receive.
In addition, Jeff has reached an incredible safe driving milestone of 2.5 million accident-free miles! This is a huge accomplishment for Jeff and is one of the reasons why Reddaway president T.J. O’Connor nominated Jeff to be one of America’s Road Team members. He is one of just 33 drivers to be considered as a finalist for the American Trucking Association’s elite Road Team, which is already a great honor. Jeff and his supportive team at the Salt Lake City terminal won’t find out results until January 2017. We have our fingers crossed, Jeff!
The Power of a Good Support System
Part of what makes Jeff the awesome driver that he is is his supportive wife Rhonda. Rhonda has always supported Jeff during his career and inspired him to do better and be the best he can be. To put it simply, she’s his biggest fan, and Jeff wouldn’t have it any other way. The two of them practically grew up together and Rhonda has been by his side for every competition, every award, every milestone, through the good and the bad. She has also fully supported him in his decision to participate in the running to be on America’s Road Team.
Jeff is the proud father to two children Skyler and Echo, as well as a proud grandfather to two grandbabies. When he’s not cruising around on his Harley, Jeff can be found spending quality time with his grandkids on the weekends. From the road to his personal life, Jeff is driven by integrity, purpose, and most of all family.
From everyone at Reddaway, we want to give Jeff a big thank you! We’ll keep our fingers crossed that you become the next America’s Road Team Captain.