ATA Golf Classic stays on par
Thursday, October 01, 2015
Posted by: Ford Boswell
During the past decade, the Alabama Trucking Association’s annual golf tournament has become a powerful fundraising vehicle for state’s trucking industry.
The annual tournament, along with voluntary donations from various ATA member firms, TRUCK PAC has more than million dollars in reserves, ranking it among the largest state-level political action committees in Alabama.
Playing a round of golf rarely has such implications for the state’s trucking community, but ATA’s only regular political fundraiser is now considered a major financial source for the Association’s political action.
By the Numbers
Since the tournament’s fundraising structure was changed in 2010, the Association has enjoyed incredible growth for the one-day event, raising record totals and hosting more players with each passing year. Following that trend, this year’s tournament stayed on par with the previous year earning nearly $223,000 and attracting more than 300 golfers. Once again, McLeod Software served as the Presidential Sponsor with its donation of $15,000. The Birmingham-based software provider has been the event’s most consistent and generous participant, signing on as the tournament’s marquee sponsor for four of the last six tournaments.
During the restructuring process, McLeod president and founder Tom McLeod was an immediate supporter, pledging his firm’s support at the highest level. Since then, participation for the event has increased each year, largely due to McLeod’s lead.
Golf Classic Chairman Danny Smith of United Parcel Service said McLeod’s support of the event through the past few years has served as the main catalyst for growth, and this year was no exception. “We are very appreciative of McLeod Software for their role as the Presidential Sponsor of the 2015 Classic,” Smith said. “This marks the 4th year that McLeod Software has been our premier sponsor. It’s nice to know that Tom’s support is there. He and his staff always come through for the trucking industry. I am grateful for his leadership and dedication to this Association. He deserves a lot credit for making this event a success.”
According to ATA officials, this year eclipsed all previous ones in terms of money raised and membership participation. Due to the size of the player roster, and a few new added services to improve the tournament experience for golfers, expenses were slightly increased this year. Thus, the net amount for TRUCK PAC was down slightly less over last year. Still, if taken in context with previous years, the tournament is poised to continue its growth trend, ATA officials contend.
“Our final revenue total was nearly $223,000, which after expenses netted our PAC a more than $170,000,” Smith said. “That amount will be added to ATA’s political action committee (TRUK-PAC).”
According to Smith, there were 119 trucking related firms that sponsored this year’s event and 330 golfers taking up all three courses at the Robert Trent Jones Capitol Hill. “I have to admit, watching that many golfers line up in carts for a shotgun start is pretty satisfying,” he said. “Because of our membership support and leadership, our Association has one of the strongest PACs in the state. That kind of clout has helped our efforts to express our concerns and needs in Montgomery.”
Other major sponsors were ATA Workers’ Comp Fund, which provided lunch and catering and hospitality for the 19th Hole Party; Action Resources (practice putting green); B.R. Williams Trucking Co., J&M Tank Lines, Watkins Trucking CO. and Wiley Sanders Truck Lines co-sponsored the Closest to the Pin contests on each course; Truckworx Kenworth (Straightest Drive contests); Southland International Trucks (Longest Drive contests); Benny Whitehead, Inc. (Hole-in-One contests); Marmon Highway Technologies (driving range); Gulf City Body & Trailer Works (Longest Putt contests); and Boyd Bros. Transportation (Longest Putt Overall contest).
Additionally, this year’s tournament has 50 $2,000 sponsors; 45 $1,000 sponsors; and 11 500 sponsors. See the entire list on page ??.
What It All Means
ATA president and CEO Frank Filgo said the ATA Golf Classic is a tremendous vehicle for Alabama truckers to influence state government for sound and just industry regulation.
For example, during the 2014 elections, TRUCK PAC spent more than $1 million supporting selected candidates for statewide offices and state legislative district seats. Eighty-four cents out of every dollar spent went to winners, which included endorsed candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, and a pair of seats on the State Supreme Court. In State Senate contests, supported candidates won 25 seats, and lost only on two. In the House, our candidates won 48 seats, and lost nine.
“Members of the Alabama Trucking Association have worked long and hard to fund a million dollar PAC, one that fittingly signifies the importance of our industry sector in Alabama,” Filgo said. “That goal was accomplished largely through the success of our golf fundraiser, and the PAC trustees judiciously spent its funds to affect election results and build political influence. Consequently, our industry and this Association are better positioned to advocate sound transportation policies to maintain a safe, responsible and efficient Alabama transportation goods movement system.”
Chairman Smith said that producing a successful event of this magnitude takes coordination and support from all levels of the Association. “I want to thank every single sponsor, their employees, the ATA and ATA Workers’ Comp staff, all the golfers, and, of course, my tournament finance committee,” Smith said. “Those guys did an outstanding job.”
Next year’s Golf Classic is set for September 27, 2016 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Capitol Hill Courses.
Tournament finance committee members were Joe Black of McGriff Tire Co.; Gary Bond, BancorpSouth Equipment Finance; ATA Chairman of the Board Greg Brown of B.R. Williams Trucking; Jack Brim of B.R. Williams Trucking; Will Bruser of Truckworx/Kenworth; Fenn Church of Church Transportation & Logistics; Hunter Lyons of Gulf City Body & Trailer Works; Wayne Watkins of Watkins Trucking Co.; and Keith Wise of R.E. Garrison Trucking.