By DON McINTOSH
Carl Gibson, a truck driver for Boeing, has competed a dozen times in the Washington Truck Driving Championships. On July 9, he won first place in his category, straight truck. A member of Machinists Lodge 63, Gibson says it’s the first time a Machinists union member has won the truck driving competition; most contestants are Teamsters or nonunion drivers.
Gibson is a Vancouver resident and traveled to the Port of Tacoma to participate as part of a team of Boeing truck drivers in blue Boeing uniforms. Two of his fellow Boeing drivers also won: Chuck Snowden in sleeper cab and Fabien Boucher in three-axle; both are members of Teamsters Local 174, based in Tukwila. The three will next compete in the National Truck Driving Championships Aug. 16-19 in Indianapolis, dubbed “the Super Bowl of trucking safety” by the American Trucking Association.
Gibson’s category, straight truck, refers to a truck that has its box built in, unlike a semi to which trailers attach and unattach. The competition includes a tough multiple choice test, a timed pre-inspection challenge where judges plant 12 defects in a truck and give contestants six minutes to find them, and finally, a driving skills test in which drivers maneuver their massive vehicles to within inches of where they need to be.
Gibson has driven for Boeing since 2000. His job is to pick up and deliver parts to and from Boeing’s Portland assembly plant.