Werner Enterprises Transports the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

This fall, Werner Enterprises helped to spread holiday spirit as they transported the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia to the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C.

As an industry leader and long-time Kenworth customer, Kenworth recommended Werner to safely transport a 63-foot Norway spruce tree from its harvest site in West Virginia to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Werner, headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is one of the largest providers of transportation services in North America. The company employs more than 14,000 associates and operates nearly 8,300 trucks and 30,000 trailers.

“Werner’s selection as the 2023 Capitol Christmas Tree project carrier was truly an honor and a testament to our hard work in keeping America moving, no matter the task,” said Werner’s Chairman, President and CEO, Derek Leathers. “Our drivers did an exceptional job carrying out this unique project and helped spread the holiday spirit across the country.”

For the past 10 years, Kenworth has been a major sponsor of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree program, supplying trucks to be used to haul the special tree each holiday season. The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree initiative is a 53-year tradition in which one of America’s 154 national forests provides a tree for the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the holidays.

To pay tribute to its 100th anniversary this year, Kenworth provided Werner with a Kenworth T680 Signature Edition Anniversary truck for the tree delivery.

“It’s an honor to be involved with the transportation of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree and to help spread the holiday joy to communities throughout this great country. It’s something we look forward to each year,” said Jim Walenczak, Kenworth assistant general manager for sales and marketing. “There is a lot of logistical planning that goes into this special transport, and we thank Werner and its drivers for their efforts in hauling this year’s tree.”

The T680, driven by Werner professional drivers Jesus Davila and Tim Dean, was equipped with a 76-inch sleeper and the PACCAR Powertrain, featuring the PACCAR MX-13 engine rated at 455 horsepower, PACCAR TX-12 automated transmission and PACCAR DX-40 tandem rear axles.

For Davila and Dean, it was a humbling experience when they received the call that they’d be responsible for transporting such a high-profile load as the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree. Dean, who joined Werner in 1988, is only the second driver in Werner’s history to achieve five million accident-free miles. He’s also served as an ATA America’s Road Team Captain and has been a Werner Road Team Captain and mentor since 2005. Davila, a retired U.S. Marine of 12 years and Purple Heart recipient, joined Werner in 2018 and has more than 550,000 accident-free miles.

“During my 35-year career with Werner as a professional driver, being selected for this project is at the top of the list among the incredible opportunities I’ve experienced,” said Dean. “It was truly an experience of a lifetime.”

En route to Washington, D.C., Davila and Dean made several stops at community events in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland as part of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree tour to celebrate the holiday season and allow communities a chance to see the special Christmas tree in person.

“It was amazing to see a great turnout at the community events and to witness the excitement surrounding the tree as we made our way east to D.C.,” said Davila. “We felt like celebrities with all the attention we received along the way. It was a wonderful experience, and I couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of it.”

Operation Freedom Fleet

When Davila isn’t busy transporting a Christmas tree to the nation’s capital or hauling his regular loads for Werner, he can often be found at truck driving schools and other industry events to educate members about the military community of the employment opportunities in the trucking industry and with Werner. Davila is a part of Werner’s Operation Freedom Fleet, a comprehensive military community program that sponsors multiple initiatives inside and outside of Werner. Many of the professional drivers involved in the program, including husband-and-wife team Gina and Steve Jones, drive military-themed wrapped trucks to advertise to servicemembers about the employment opportunities in the industry. According to Werner, approximately 18 percent of its workforce are veterans.

The Jones’, who currently drive a Kenworth T680 Signature Edition, were also involved with the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour, assisting with transporting small Christmas trees and tree ornaments placed around the capital. 

Kenworth Transported U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree for 10th Year

Each year, a different national forest provides a tree to light the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the holiday season. For the 10th year, Kenworth provided the truck, a T680 100th Anniversary Signature Edition, that transported this year’s tree from the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia to Washington D.C., with a series of events in communities along the way.

Local communities welcomed the 63-foot Norway spruce at parks, plazas, schools, memorials, main streets, and more. Well-wishers viewed the wrapped-up tree on its extra-long trailer, signed banners attached to each side, learned about the Monongahela National Forest and enjoyed the holiday spirit in their communities. The tour was planned by nonprofit partner Choose Outdoors, the Forest Service’s key project partner in the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree initiative.

The tour kicked off Saturday, November 4, with a special celebration in Elkins, West Virginia,  home to the headquarters of the Monongahela National Forest, as well as visits to surrounding areas. The tour included a stop at the Kenworth manufacturing plant in Chillicothe, Ohio, on November 8, providing a special opportunity for employees to view the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree up close and welcome home the Kenworth T680 Signature Edition built at the plant. The tour concluded on November 17 with delivery of the tree to the U.S. Capitol.  

On November 28, a tree lighting ceremony took place on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, hosted by the Architect of the Capitol in coordination with the U.S. Speaker of the House.


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