ATA Conference Brings Calls for Trucker Unity and Positive Industry Changes

Today’s truckers represent a core building block for America’s economy, said American Trucking Associations President – CEO Bill Graves at the annual ATA Management Conference held last week in Orlando, Florida.

Graves put the spotlight on America’s trucking business that are using capital, operating plants and equipment, energy, water, chemicals – all to keep America moving in this challenging economy. He called for trucker companies around the US to hold together firm against challenges of fragmentation.

“This industry’s biggest obstacle to success is not the railroads; it’s not the political environment or the policy and regulatory environment in Washington DC or state capitols,” said Graves. “It’s not high diesel fuel prices or an anticipated shortage of drivers. The biggest challenge we face will come from the incredible diversity of our industry and the easily fragmented constituency that we are.”

Watch his full speech to the conference attendees here:

Calhoun Truck Lines President Brent Bois remarked that he found a few overriding themes throughout the conference. These included the timely issue of the recent government shutdown and its drag on the overall confidence in the marketplace; as well as how the trucking industry feels the impact of the stagnant economy.

Additionally, other topics surfaced throughout the show in conference discussions, including how to find and keep good drivers to help trucking companies succeed, and how companies represented at the show could find ways to improve the image of the industry.

In a separate speech at the conference, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called on the national trucking industry to push to redirect U.S. government leaders toward a spirit of partisanship and cooperation, in order to create policies focused on economic growth.

Bush prescribed four steps to see that growth occur:

  • a greater use of domestic energy to boost the economy;
  • transforming the immigration system for more skilled workers to operate within;
  • getting more federal funding to help transform the U.S.’s crumbling transportation infrastructure; and
  • fixing our educational system in order to produce more valuable leaders in the coming years.

Overall, the annual ATA Management conference was full of great networking, solid industry education and how these factors can help grow businesses. Brent Bois, who was involved in ATA’s LEAD program, found the experience and industry knowledge very motivating in understanding more about the industry and its role in helping to shape America’s economy.

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