Platt Brabner Recognized as a Top Ten Finalist in Two National Driver Contests
Last month TMC was proud to recognize Mordaunt “Platt” Brabner as a top ten finalist in the Transition Trucking: Driving For Excellence award program. The mission of this award program is to inspire the hiring of more veterans, National Guard members and reservists into the trucking industry. As the main part of the campaign, deserving veteran drivers who had made a successful transition from military service to the trucking industry were able to participate, with the top prize being a fully loaded Kenworth T680.
Not only was Platt a top contender for this contest alongside fellow TMC driver and Navy veteran, Tilford Sereal, we’ve also received word that Platt has been named a top ten finalist for the Trucking’s Top Rookie contest, an industry wide program placing attention on the professionalism of drivers in the industry for less than a year while promoting truck driving as a viable career choice during a time when there is a shortage of drivers.
Platt came to TMC in July 2017 upon obtaining CDL from Roadmaster Drivers School. He is an accomplished Marine Corps and Navy veteran, and his goal-oriented mentality and worldly wisdom lends a hand in making him a standout professional truck driver at TMC.
Growing up on a farm in Alabama, Platt wasn’t your typical military legacy. He didn’t have any family with experience serving in the armed forces, but always up for a challenge, Platt chose to forge his own path and join the Marine Corps. He began his military career as an Advanced Electronic Technician, and was determined to continuously develop his skills and never settle for mediocre. In conjunction with his military training, Platt earned Bachelor’s degrees in Professional Aeronautics and Electronic Engineering through night courses at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, even graduating summa cum laude.
As his skillset evolved, Platt turned his focus to one thing; flying. Steadfastly adamant on being behind the controls of a military aircraft, Platt began exploring his options. When the Marine Corps did not have the capacity for additional pilots at the time, his commanding officer referred him to test for the for the Navy’s flight program. Proving his capabilities, Platt had his pick of the litter when his test scores wowed the Naval officers, allowing him to accomplish his dream of commanding the skies and protecting our country from up above. Platt was assigned as an EA-6B Prowler Naval Flight officer and Electronics Counter Measure Officer, where he proudly carried out aircraft carrier combat operations over Southeast Asia, performing over 650 carrier landings. Platt obtained his first Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies and National Security at the Newport Rhodes Island Command and Staff College and then was promoted to Navy Commander in 2003, furthering his leadership skills.
In total, Platt served 7.5 deployments across several Asian countries and the Middle East. He also spent time in both Germany and Africa, where he says he got his first taste of logistics management while planning missions to transport water, food and goods across the desert to war-torn nations. However, of all of the accolades he’s received, Platt insists the most meaningful was the Peer Leadership Award in which his peers selected him as an outstanding leader.
After two decades serving the country he loves so much, Platt was honorably retired from the Navy in March of 2006 and quickly began to seek out another opportunity to excel. He relocated to Omaha, NE with his wife, Vonda, working as a Critical Infrastructure subject matter expert at SAIC for several years, assisting in assessing and identifying threats to the country’s vital assets. During that time, he continued his education graduating with an MBA from the University of Nebraska, yet another shining example of his commitment to achieving excellence in all facets of his life.
In recent years, Platt had decided that it is his wife, Vonda’s turn to chase her dreams. After living in 17 different places over the course of 22 years, he knew it was time to plant roots, so they chose to settle down in Coupland, Texas, where Vonda puts her PHD in Embryology to work as a Senior Embryologist in the Austin area. In moving to Texas, Platt also moved away from his niche job market, so he chose to apply the set of skills he learned during his years in the military to a whole new industry; trucking.
Truck driving is something that had always intrigued Platt, and now that he was in a position to do so, he went full speed ahead into joining the forces that serve our country in a different sense. He soon found flatbed as his forte, as the physicality is something that he enjoys. Additionally, Platt found TMC’s principles in line with those that were instilled in him while in the military; respect, honor and pride.
Forging a path in the trucking industry this late in life isn’t always easy, but Platt found it to be comfortable thanks in part to his military values. He sees each day as a challenge to be better and more efficient as a driver, because he feels he can make a difference in the industry. Striving to “put the professionalism back in trucking”, Platt recognizes that the trucking industry is continuously evolving, and looks forward to aiding that evolvement in the right direction.
Each and every day Platt takes the necessary steps to ensure he is a sterling representation of the trucking industry. He runs his truck like a business, and holds himself accountable as the CEO. Of course with TMC being an employee-owned company that is a reality he has come to recognize. When asked about his approach to keeping himself and others safe on the road, Platt insists that safety isn’t something you can teach. It’s inherent; second nature; a state of mind that has been ingrained in him since boot camp. Being able to identify unsafe conditions and formulating a risk management plan across all situations in any high-risk industry must be learned through life experience, life experience that Platt knows well. He uses a “what if” method to identify the risks based on an understanding of policy, procedures, conditions and situational awareness at the time you need to act to protect yourself and others around you.
Exercising his excellent time-management skills as it comes to pre-plans, Platt performs them as if he is going to carry out a mission in an aircraft flying at 500 miles per hour. Each move Platt makes on a daily basis, no matter how mundane, is carefully planned. Whether it’s a load check, customer interaction or a simple lane change, Platt executes every task with excellence in mind. Platt jokes, “there are old pilots and bold pilots, but few old bold pilots!”
Platt’s drive and ingenuity has all the makings of a successful professional truck driver. In the future, Platt hopes to become an owner-operator and further expand his impact on the trucking industry, and with his “never quit” attitude, all of us at TMC are confident he will achieve all he sets his mind to. ?
Platt will travel to Dallas in late August to attend the Great American Trucking Show, in which he will be recognized as a finalist in both award programs. The Top Rookie winner will be named and awarded $10,000, and the Transition Trucking finalists will find out if they’ve advanced to the top three.
TMC is proud to have Platt as an exceptional representation of the Black and Chrome. He transcends every piece of criteria set in both programs through his decorated military career and the poise and determination he brings to the trucking industry. Congratulations, Platt!