Forget the heavy books and the hallowed halls of Oxford University, home of the famed Rhodes Scholar program. In Coca-Cola’s Road Scholar competition, success was measured by how you handled 50,000 pounds of metal juiced up on diesel fuel.
Eighty-nine of the best truck drivers and forklift operators from across North America descended upon Orlando, Fla. in October 2013 to compete for bragging rights and a little cash. A crowd of approximately 400 people attended the competition at Universal Studies and Epcot Center, including Coca-Cola employees, family members and guests.
The competition featured Coca-Cola’s best drivers in the two-, three- and five-axle truck classes and forklift operators from all over North America. Competitors showcased their skills in a variety of events, including: the “Lane Change,” where drivers wove through a set of balls; the “Lane Control Turn,” where drivers came as close as possible with the left truck axle to a set of five cones in a semi-circle; the “Offset Back Dock,” where drivers backed up to a dock and got as close as possible without actually touching it; and, the “Funky Monkey,” where drivers zig-zagged through sets of tennis balls to simulate maneuvering around a hazard in limited space. Competitors also were tested on their knowledge of Department of Transportation regulations and their ability to thoroughly inspect equipment.
compete in a national competition for Coca-Cola as one of the top drivers in
the company is a huge feat,” said Gil Collier, safety specialist, Product
Supply. “All of this year’s participants should feel proud. They earned the
right to be here and represent the safest and best drivers in Coca-Cola!'
To qualify for the national competition, drivers had to participate in and win one of their local Market Unit competitions. In addition, drivers had to pass a series of online tests, with a score of at least 80 percent; have a 12-month, accident-free record; and maintain a clean motor vehicle record for at least three years.
First-, second- and third-place winners in each category received a plaque and monetary prizes. These winners will be eligible to represent Coca-Cola and compete at the International Food Delivery competition in 2014.