Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Alabama Trucking’s celebrates industry achievements and future vision at annual convention

Last week, the Alabama Trucking Association hosted nearly 500 industry leaders during its 85th Annual Convention at the lovely Grand Hotel in Pointe Clear, Ala., celebrating Alabama’s trucking community and the industry professionals who keep it thriving. 

Click here to see photos from the event!

The May 2-4 event highlighted the achievements of the past year, including advancements in safety regulations, policy, political advancements, and leadership. These advancements will set the stage for future initiatives to drive the trucking industry forward.

Logan Wilks

According to ATA officials, this year’s meeting was among the most financially successful ever, raising nearly half a million dollars. After covering expenses, the remaining funds will be used to power various initiatives to advance and amplify the industry’s mission. Pushing key agendas, will include workforce development, industry safety and political representation. The event’s success was made possible by more than 100 sponsors. ATA officials extended their gratitude to Presidential Sponsor Wilks Tire & Battery Service. Special thanks to Logan Wilks for kickstarting the meeting with a compelling message about rallying our community to tackle challenges together.

Convention Chairman Joe Black of McGriff Tire Co. said this year’s event topped all previous ones for cash raised.

“Our team did an outstanding job,” Black said. “The success of an event like this takes the work of a lot people who care deeply for the Association. I thank Mark Colson and his team for their guidance and expertise. You really don’t know how much preparation goes into putting on an event like this until you are a part of it. They make it look easy, but I can assure you it’s no small task.”

Additionally, Black acknowledge Convention Finance Committee Chairman Daniel Wright from Wright Transportation, Inc. and his finance committee for their remarkable achievement in raising a record-breaking $500,000.

The content and discussions tackled pertinent issues across all aspects of the industry. Special thanks to Senator Katie Boyd Britt for sharing valuable insights on national politics, the economy, and industry leadership. And thanks to Terry Kilpatrick for introducing political candidate Caroleen Dobson, an advocate for conservative values, who is running for the state’s Second Congressional District.

Alabama Dept. of Agriculture and Industries Commissioner Rick Pate spotlighted the key partnership between farmers and truckers in his address, and Chris Spear, President of the American Trucking Associations urged attendees to amplify thier advocacy for the industry’s vital role in the economy. Mr. Spear also touched on education, advocacy, and action, addressing issues like EVs, infrastructure, and legal reform, as top issues for the industry. 

On Saturday, the ATA Comp Fund’s Annual Report emphasized the fund’s critical role in providing comprehensive protection and support to Alabama carriers and their employees. The presentation underscored the strong support network that exists within the Alabama trucking community.

Senator Katie Boyd Britt

Keynote speaker Alex Plitsas delivered a compelling discussion on national security and geopolitical issues. Plitsas’s insights provided valuable perspectives on the challenges and strategies that are shaping the global landscape today.

The convention also focused on empowering the next generation of trucking professionals. Lindsey Trent and the Next Generation in Trucking were praised for their efforts in promoting trucking careers. The importance of CDL Driver and Diesel Tech training programs was highlighted as part of this initiative.

Gary Weaver from the Alabama Community College System shared his inspiring journey from being a trucker’s son to becoming a leader in vocational education. Weaver’s story emphasized the importance of recruiting more truck drivers and diesel technicians to meet the industry’s growing needs.

Safety standards in the trucking industry were also a key theme, with Clinton Seymour and the FMCSA team sharing their leading role in upholding and enhancing safety protocols and how trucking firms can use their office to improve and advance their operations.

The convention also celebrated leadership and milestones within the Alabama Trucking community during Saturday evening’s Chairman’s Dinner. Tim Frazier was honored with the 2024 H. Chester Webb Award for his 50-year legacy of safety, compliance, and excellence in the industry.

Chris Spear during Friday’s Business & Education Meeting

Lloyd Howell of TCW was officially introduced as the Alabama Driver of the Year. With over 25 years of experience and nearly 2 million safe miles under his belt, Howell’s commitment to highway safety and education for young drivers was highlighted as truly remarkable.

ATA leaders capped the evening with a special presentation to honor of ATA Chairman of the Board Tommy Neely, whose leadership has been instrumental in steering ATA towards another successful year.

The event concluded on a high note with a Kentucky Derby-themed celebration, where attendees dressed in Derby-inspired attire, adding a festive touch to the gathering.

In conclusion, the Convention was a celebration of the past year’s achievements and also set the foundation for a safer, stronger future within the industry.