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T.H. Davidge:

The Man, the Myth, the Legend and the Award

Established by the Louisiana Motor Transport Association (LMTA) in 1989, the T.H. Davidge Memorial Award is the top honor for anyone involved in Louisiana’s trucking industry.  Originally awarded on an annual basis, for the last decade the LMTA has limited the prestigious award to only years when an outstanding candidate has emerged. 

ABOUT T.H. DAVIDGE

The man whose name is permanently attached – with affection – to Louisiana’s trucking industry, began his career in the ice business making deliveries with horse and buggy.

“After that, he and my grandmother—they were married for 50 years— opened a lumber mill,” notes Alisa Davidge, granddaughter of T.H. Davidge.

But T.H. Davidge didn’t stop there. He opened several supermarkets and convenience stores under the T.H. Davidge Co. In 1950, he started Davill Petroleum and became a distributor for the Phillips 66 Company, delivering oil and gas to his supermarkets and convenience stores, eventually expanding to the open market. 

Davidge’s life and career spanned across major revolutions in the transportation of commodities. It was in these times that Davidge helped found the LMTA and became deeply entwined with the Association, its purpose, and the members.

His professional credentials aside, Davidge is fondly remembered for his drive and character. “Everything he did, from his ice business to Davill Petroleum, was accomplished without his ever graduating from high school. He dropped out to take care of his family and help pay the bills. He was a self-made man who had determination and worked hard,” Alisa Davidge says of her grandfather.

“He was the best person and never had a cross word for anyone. He was very social and very polite. If you needed a job, he would give you one. He always went above and beyond,” she adds.

Toward the end of his life, Davidge’s grandchildren, who fondly remember LMTA’s crawfish boils and events in New Orleans, would chauffer him to LMTA meetings in Baton Rouge because, for him, they were too important to miss.

Countless LMTA members recall Davidge as the quintessential gentlemen, a staple within the Association who was admired for his selfless nature and kind spirit.

THE T.H. DAVIDGE AWARD

Following the passing of T.H. Davidge, the LMTA Board of Directors began discussions about creating an award in his honor in 1988. In 1989, the Board formally created the award and issued its first call for nominations writing in part “…we will recognize one individual who best exemplifies the commitment and dedication to LMTA that Mr. Davidge lived throughout his life.”

 

In total, there have been 25 recipients of the award since its inception almost thirty years ago. It is a distinguished and diverse group of trucking industry leaders who share the most important quality: integrity.

“It’s the crowning achievement for our industry,” said Judy Smart of Roadrunnder Towing & Recovery. Smart and her late husband, James, both individually received the award in years past and they are the only married couple to do so. “We were so honored to have won this award. It meant the world to us.”

The T.H. Davidge Award has been a family tradition on other occasions, including with the Guillots. Elmo Guillot of Southeastern Motor Freight and Triple G Express, along with his two sons Glen and Randy have each received the award. Elmo served as LMTA President in the 1970s, a position both Glen and Randy have each held in more recent years.

“We have 25 members who, in their own ways, have led the LMTA and championed the trucking industry with integrity,” said Executive Director Chance McNeely. “Davidge had the self-made drive that is common in our industry. I see a lot of grit in the list of award winners, too. It makes me proud to be in the role I am in, and excited about what the future holds for the next wave of industry leaders. We have a strong foundation.”

AND THIS YEAR’S WINNER IS:

In a purposefully discrete fashion, this year Nataly Bryce, owner of Signature Transport and LMTA Board member, was called upon to announce the T.H Davidge winner. Her remarks were as follows: “As many of you know, the T.H Davidge Award is the most prestigious award that is given by the LMTA. It is based on an individual’s selflessness and their efforts to make our industry stronger. This award is not given every year but given when the LMTA sees these values in one of its members. This year’s recipient has been around trucks all his life. While in his late teens he thought driving a truck would be the last thing he did, he found himself driving a dump truck in order to provide for his wife and newborn. In 1995, with a second child on the way, he took a leap of faith and started his own company called Bryce Transport, better known as Preferred Materials today. The Bryce family now has three children, but each of the kids are fully aware that we have several more brothers and sisters- the others just happen to have axles and shiny paint jobs. He loves trucks and the entire makeup of the trucking industry. He is passionate and strong willed. His focus within the LMTA has been and continues to be that of selflessness and helping the trucking community as a whole. I am so very proud to present this year’s T.H. Davidge Award to my father, Kary Bryce.”

Several members in attendance at the LMTA annual convention banquet, where the award was announced, commented on how moving the presentation of the award was this year.

“LMTA is about the people in our industry, and we’ve got good people,” said McNeely.