From the cab of his truck, Leo Marquez loves his view of the world he gets to see when he’s on the clock. The Marathon Petroleum lead truck driver from Bloomfield, New Mexico, said he’s seen bears, mountain lions, deer and elk from his seat behind the wheel. But his favorite view is seeing the fog rise from the canyons in the early morning of his shift.
“This is a great career for people who love the outdoors,” said Marquez. “Sometimes we haul in no-where land, but I’ve seen some incredible wildlife and beautiful sunrises.”
Marquez is a second-generation truck driver. He learned from his father, an owner-operator truck driver who hauled crude oil for more than 50 years. Marquez was 27 years old when he got involved in the family business. His father taught him to be consistent, take care of his truck and work hard. That advice proved valuable throughout his career.
In September, Marquez was recognized as one of the 2021 National Private Truck Council (NPTC) National Driver All-Stars. He’s the 13th consecutive driver from Marathon Petroleum to be selected for the national award, given to private fleet truck drivers who demonstrate high performance in safety, customer service, regulatory compliance and community service.
“In 40 years of driving, I have never had a trucking accident. And I haven’t had a citation since my teenage years, but that doesn’t count,” Marquez said with a smile. “However, I was quite surprised to find out I was named one of the All-Stars, especially considering how many drivers there are on the roads.”
His family is also excited. His wife Monica made the trip with him to Orlando, Florida, to watch him accept the award on September 9, the weekend before National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, which is celebrated September 12-18. It’s a time to recognize the professional truck drivers committed to delivering goods safely across the U.S.
Marquez said that Marathon Petroleum is big on safety and good preventative maintenance programs, which has been key to his success.
“Take care of the truck and service it regularly, because the truck takes care of you,” said Marquez. “I always double check or triple check to make sure I’m ready to go.”
Marquez said not everyone is cut out to be a professional truck driver, but he figured out early in his career the secret to finding joy along the way.
“When I first started driving, I was always in a hurry, but I quickly learned to be methodical and take it easy. Do the speed limit. Be courteous. Enjoy what I’m doing,” said Marquez. “The anxiety and frustration can eat at you. It’s a mental game, and you must learn to let it go. Slow down. You’re gonna get there.”
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