Three Million Miles Safe. That is just one of the awards Truck Driver Dofort Harris has won after almost 30 years of driving for J.D. & Billy Hines Trucking Incorporated. Having driven those 3 million miles without incident, Dofort is as experienced a truck driver as they come. However, there is more to Dofort’s job than meets the eye. Truck driving is one of those essential jobs that the economy could not survive without, but most don’t know what happens behind the scenes and the skill it takes to accomplish what Dofort has. Not only is Dofort one of the most adept employees in his field, he is beloved by all at Hines Trucking; his contagious enthusiasm and profoundly sociable nature make him impossible to forget.
Throughout Dofort’s 30 year tenure at Hines his role has been primarily that of a chip hauler: driving loads of wood chips, saw dust, ply trim and more throughout Arkansas, plus many other states. Currently, Dofort’s principle runs consist of picking up chip loads at Georgia Pacific in Gurdon and delivering them to their destination at the Domtar Paper Mill in Ashdown. Loads and destinations might vary on a daily basis, but what remains the same every single day with every single load is the dedication and skill needed to drive a truck while maintaining efficiency and safety. Dofort begins each day by checking the oil, brakes, lead springs and a long list of other mechanical and technical parts to make sure there are no defects or problems. Drivers need to know their trucks front and back to gain the maximum amount of productivity with each load. They must know how to calculate the weight of a load on each axle of the truck because an uneven weight distribution can affect how the truck drives and brakes. As many moving parts as there are on a truck, there are just as many rules and regulations a driver must be familiar with in order to pass inspection and be road-ready. Dofort says the most important aspect of a truck driving job is safety. He says, “Drivers have to be mindful of what they’re doing and pay attention to the road, the truck, and also other vehicles on the highway. Sometimes bad weather is an issue or there might be other obstacles on the road that can be dangerous. I have made a living out of driving, but it’s because I respect the road and the truck.”
Dofort says he has seen many changes over the years in the trucking industry. What was once a smaller community of drivers has now expanded. With more trucks on the road, now there are more drivers, and a more diverse group at that. Technology has allowed drivers to move from log books to paperless logs on a computer system. One thing that has remained the same, however, is the first-rate productivity of Dofort and the rest of the Hines drivers. In the lobby of the main office are the plaques displaying the award-winning drivers of Hines Trucking. Dofort’s name is listed five separate times for just the last two years. So not only has Dofort won countless awards and met the milestones of tenure and miles driven, he has earned the top spot on the team as lead driver and his is the first parking spot on the yard at Hines.
Dofort, however, remains humble and praises the other drivers at Hines Trucking. “I could have picked ten other guys who deserve to be picked for this,” says Dofort when referring to being chosen for SWARK.Today’s Citizen Spotlight. Dofort also praises the atmosphere and other employees at Hines describing them as “one big family” as many of them have been there for several years together. The feeling is mutual. Ron Quillan, Human Resources Manager at Hines, has high praise for Dofort. Quillin says, “Dofort is the example of what we at Hines want in a career driver. He has put his heart and soul into this company. All of us at Hines Trucking, including Mr. Hines himself, are very appreciative of what Dofort and all our career drivers have done to help build this company into what it is.”
Dofort isn’t just known for his accolades in trucking transportation, though; he is also very well-known around Hines for his positive spirit and his gregarious personality. Dofort can talk to any and everyone about any and everything. He may meet a stranger, but he never leaves one. His co-workers at Hines have much praise for Dofort. Recruiting Officer Roberta Gulley says everyone looks forward to chatting with Dofort when he has the occasion to come in the office. “Dofort is outgoing and friendly, “ says Gulley. “When he walks through that door, if you’re not already smiling, you will be before he leaves. He will say something to cheer you up, everyone loves him around here.”
Dofort says his biggest motivation for working hard has always been his wife, Kim, and his two sons, Dofort, Jr., and Dorvonta. According to Dofort, even his hobbies are made better when they include time with his family. Dofort is an avid sports fan. He follows closely the games of his favorite Prescott Curley Wolves and his revered Arkansas Razorbacks. “I’ll watch any sport the Razorbacks are playing,” says Dofort. “I love them all. If you aint a hog, you are hog slop!” He also loves hunting and fishing, especially with his sons. Dorvonta, Dofort’s youngest son, says some of his best memories are the things he has done with his dad. “My dad and I are best friends,” says Dorvonta. “He is the person I hunt and fish with, and when I’m not working, I watch the college ball games with him on Saturdays,” Dorvonta credits Dofort for instilling in him a strong work ethic and says his dad has been a great role-model. He says, “My dad is such a hard-worker and he has a positive attitude, no matter the job at hand. He gives off such a great energy. It makes me go to work every day and think about being prepared and doing my best.”
Dofort Harris has definitely made an impression with lasting effects on family, friends, and co-workers. For some, it is because of his dedication and perseverance in his field earning him considerable applause as a truck driver. For others, it is because his charming personality and sincere cordiality leaves them with a smile after he has relayed one of his many stories. Either way, he has earned his place in the hearts of many as a local favorite while his 30 years of driving has contributed to an important, local industry. Residents of Prescott and Nevada County are truly fortunate to have citizen Dofort Harris as a member of their community.
Thanks to Dofort and the crew at Hines Trucking for letting us observe and share what you do with the community.
SWARK.Today’s Citizen Spotlight is for recognizing those whose dedication and knowledge are an essential part of our community and industry. Often, those roles behind the scenes are equally as valuable, yet not common knowledge. To achieve success, every job is necessary and every person’s role is critical. If you know of someone who should be nominated for a Citizen Spotlight, send an email to [email protected] with the person’s name and a brief description of what he or she does, we would love to talk with them!