Winning the California Truck Driving Championship title wasn’t enough for Gary Córdova, a Fresno-based FedEx expert on wheels.
Córdova won the state title in the straight truck (single, 2-axle vehicle) division in May and advances to the FedEx National Championships (Aug. 9 -12) in Orlando, Florida, where the 47-year-old, Class A licensed driver will test his skill against the finest truck drivers in the nation.
The stringent test of skills begins with safety. According to Ron Mears of FedEx, competitors will be tested on the American Trucking Associations’ Facts for Drivers then conduct a pre-trip inspection, where drivers are timed in locating simulated defects on a truck. Drivers then compete on precision driving on a closed course.
Mears said nine national champions will be determined from the competition: 3-Axle, 4-Axle, 5-Axle, 5-Axle Sleeper Berth, Flatbed, Straight Truck, Tank Truck, Twin Trailers, and Step Van.
Córdova, also a youth pastor along with his wife of 18 years, Arlene, has worked for FedEx for three years. The couple’s kids, Sydney, 18, and son, London, 12, will accompany their father to Florida.
Córdova has always wanted to drive trucks. A 1987 Roosevelt High graduate, Córdova remembers the career day program in school and answering the question about a potential career choice.
“I remember raising my hand, and saying, ‘I want to be a truck driver,” said Córdova in an Aug. 1 telephone interview.
“A lot of people were saying doctors, lawyers, firemen, but I was always fascinated with trucks.”
Córdova has logged more than 450,000 miles behind the wheel for FedEx, but many more miles over his 10 years of truck driving experience. Córdova earned his Class A stripes while working for Producers Dairy in Fresno. He’s also worked for Brenntag Pacific, a Fresno chemical company. He has also driven a a cement truck.
Córdova said he was about 10 years old, and remembers accompanying a family friend, a produce driver, on deliveries.
“Going out with Glen (Prine), he would deliver tomatoes in his truck. And since then, I’ve always been fascinated with trucks,” said Córdova.
Into adulthood, the son of a pastor, Córdova took advantage of the opportunities offered by Proteus, Inc.
“Proteus Workforce assisted me and gave me a small grant. Without Proteus, it would have been pretty costly. It’s a huge blessing,” said Córdova, who believes it would have taken nearly $5,000 to receive truck driving training.
Córdova said he thanks the opportunity granted to him by FedEx.
“If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be in sales or ministry; people business. Working for FedEx, even trucking as a whole, they are committed to hiring the best and brightest and keep them safe; and deliver the product in a timely fashion,” said Córdova.