2023 Hourly Employee of the Year: Mike Dunlap

Class A CDL Driver Mike Dunlap is the person MPW recruiters use as an example of the kind of success one can have as a driver for MPW. “I think very highly of him. He gets requested by our sales team quite a bit when we are taking new equipment into a new account,” said IW General Manager Tim Dondero. “Mike interacts well with the customers, and he understands the equipment. He’s been with us for 16 years and understands the culture of MPW.”

Dunlap was named 2023 Hourly Employee of the Year—an honor he accepts with humility. “This is what I am; this is what I do,” he said. I’m really excited about this; I’m pleased I was chosen.” Dunlap said that after 16 years of driving for MPW, it no longer feels like a job and has become something that’s part of his being. “It’s a fun job, really,” Dunlap said. “I’ve been all over most of America.”

It’s not enough just to be a good driver. “You have to be a jack of all trades—a diplomat, a mechanic, occasionally a mad scientist,” Dunlap said. But, in addition to being a safe operator, the two most important attributes for an MPW driver are to be on time, and also to understand that a driver is a salesman who represents the entire company. “We’re the first person a customer sees,” he said. “When we’re on time and present ourselves well, every customer is happy to see an MPW truck.”

Even though a trucker may spend a lot of time alone on the road, Dunlap said that no MPW driver works in a vacuum. “It takes a village,” he said. “We’re a well-oiled machine because everyone works together, from the dispatchers to the mechanics who keep us on the road and all the people who create the technology.”

“Mike’s a dedicated driver and a long-time dedicated MPW employee,” said Port Arthur, Texas Plant Manager Jeff Hale. “He runs in the top three miles company-wide every year. His customer service is always at a high level. He has the ability to troubleshoot trailers and fix problems long before he’d have to reach out to me or my operations manager. He’s through and through a quality employee.”

Hale said Dunlap’s work performance and day-to-day reliability qualify him for the 2023 Employee of the Year honor. “No one runs as hard as Mike does,” Hale said. “He knows the trailers as well as anyone else.”

Dunlap joined MPW in June 2009 as a driver out of Newark, Ohio. In 2012, as MPW was commissioning the Port Arthur facility, Dunlap volunteered to relocate to Texas to help support the startup.  He has lived in Port Arthur ever since, and over the years has volunteered to run out of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania; Sedalia, Missouri; Newark, Ohio and Georgetown, South Carolina, whenever needed. Dunlap is also one of the few drivers who crosses into Canada, which he has done several times during the past 10 years.

In 2021, Dunlap was nominated for—and was a finalist for—the Ohio Trucking Association Driver of the Year award.

Dondero said Industrial Water’s Class A CDL drivers are expected not only to be safe, committed and flexible, they are also the face to the customer. After delivering MPW equipment, the Industrial Water Driver is expected to set up the equipment and interact with the customer to ensure all quality specifications are being met, prior to departing.

“Mike has been an invaluable asset to our team, consistently displaying exceptional skills and dedication,” Dondero said. “He’s made significant contributions in driving more than three million safe miles, and numerous roadside inspections in the US and Canada with no violations.”

Dondero said it’s exceptionally rare for a driver to be with a company for 16 years and have more than three million safe miles. “Any company can say they treat drivers well and respect the position, but showing this type of award really goes a long way in showing the investment MPW has with their drivers,” he said.

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