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Perspective: Marking a 12 months of Wins

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About one 12 months in the past, as I used to be getting ready to take over as chairman of American Trucking Associations, I considered what the following 12 months would possibly deliver. We have been slowly rising from the COVID-19 pandemic, ready and hoping for Congress to ship on the promise of a bipartisan infrastructure invoice that will change our nation and economic system, and we appeared cautiously towards what the long run would possibly maintain within the second 12 months of the Biden administration.

It was an thrilling but unsure time. Nonetheless, what occurred over the following 12 months was — for my part — really particular.

As ATA chairman, I’ve traveled across the nation — 20 states in all — speaking to my fellow truckers. In every single place I’m going I’m struck by how invigorated individuals are by the “new” ATA. It’s not precisely new, however ATA is not the reactive group it as soon as was. The staff has come collectively, and you may really feel that once you speak to individuals within the trade; from the smallest firms to the most important, you’ll be able to really feel the momentum and power to maneuver this trade ahead.

That momentum is constructed off of wins. Many occasions throughout our travels collectively, I’ve heard ATA President Chris Spear converse of wins. Due to the ATA staff, our trade has began to win quite a bit.


Since I’ve turn into chairman, we’ve seen Congress cross sweeping infrastructure laws — an enormous precedence for trucking. The laws included essential funding for roads and bridges, but additionally essential workforce growth provisions that may assist us discover, prepare and retain the following technology of truckers.

ATA led the struggle towards what might have been a crippling vaccine mandate, finally prevailing on the Supreme Courtroom in a win for the entire economic system — however particularly for trucking.

The trade’s unity and energy has been seen.

It has been seen by the White Home, which as soon as once more invited our vans onto the South Garden — this time to speak in regards to the significance of apprenticeships and bringing new, youthful expertise into trucking.

Our energy can also be being seen in state capitals, together with Windfall, R.I., the place ATA very just lately secured an incredible victory over that state’s unjust and, now, formally unconstitutional truck tolls. This case wasn’t only a win in Rhode Island, it was a victory we will cite throughout the nation to battle state schemes to make use of our vans as rolling piggy banks.

It’s good to win and be a robust, unified affiliation, as a result of the challenges that lie forward for our trade are myriad. We should keep collectively to beat them.

File inflation and gasoline costs this 12 months drove up prices, doubtlessly tipping our economic system towards recession. That has individuals a bit extra cautious than they have been only a few months in the past.

And regulatory challenges stay. Whether or not it’s California’s Meeting Invoice 5 or different doubtlessly damaging federal guidelines, we can’t afford to take a seat again and admire our wins — we should transfer forward and hold the momentum going.

Security, electrical automobiles, labor, emissions guidelines — there are such a lot of alternatives for ATA to point out up and exhibit management. However that requires being concerned.

As I put together to conclude my chairmanship, that’s my problem to the trade and to my fellow ATA members: deepen your involvement on this affiliation.

It isn’t sufficient simply to belong to ATA, you should help the issues ATA and this trade helps. Which means applications just like the Trucking Cares Basis and Trucking Strikes America Ahead. It means being an lively participant in your state associations, of their Calls on Washington, in ATA’s advocacy efforts by means of TruckPAC. It means supporting ATRI so we will have actual solutions and information in regards to the essential questions dealing with trucking.

The very best half about being on a staff is the sensation of profitable when everyone seems to be pulling on the rope collectively. Let’s hold pulling on that rope, supporting our trade and transferring us ahead to extra wins sooner or later.

Harold Sumerford Jr. is CEO of Birmingham, Ala.-based J&M Tank Strains.


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