Saturday, December 29, 2018

ATA’s Best of 2018

Without question 2018 has been an outstanding year for trucking. Freight volumes are up, as are profits and productivity. Nearly all sectors of the industry has enjoyed brisk growth this year.

Still, the industry’s enthusiasm was curtailed with fleets inability to find enough drivers to meet growing demand. Fleet owners even ranked the ongoing driver shortage as the top concern in the American Transportation Research Institute’s recent Top 10 List of Industry Concerns report. Meanwhile, industry leaders continued to search for ways to attract more young people to trucking jobs, touting good pay and ample opportunity from boardroom to truck cab.

From the regulatory front, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Friday, Dec. 21 that California’s meal-and-rest break rules are preempted by current federal hours-of-service regulations. California’s requirements were causing confusion for carriers since the rules were implemented in 2013.

Concerns over the ELD Mandate, a hot-button topic in previous years, seemed to simmer down in 2018, as most carriers had prepared long before the deadline for compliance. Even with a few owner operator and independent driver groups continuing to challenge the required use of the devices, this was the year that the industry as a whole settled into its stride with the technology.

Meanwhile, here in Alabama, your Association’s political action committee, TRUK PAC, scored big wins in recent state and local elections with 66 of 67 of its endorsed candidates winning their races. Prior to that, the Association’s 2019 ATA Golf Classic raised an event record $268,000-plus to support those candidates.

Among ATA’s more lasting accomplishments this year was the creation of the Alabama Trucking Association Foundation, the 501(c)3 charitable arm of the Association dedicated to advancing highway safety; investing in meaningful research; providing scholarships to those seeking trucking related careers; and creating effective, ongoing image campaigns to promote the industry.

Starting in early 2019, the ATA Foundation will sponsor diesel technician scholarships and has scheduled a series of one-minute television ads that will air during local evening news broadcasts in January 2019. These ads will appear in major television markets across Alabama (including top stations in Birmingham, Mobile and Montgomery), touting trucking’s vital role in our state’s economy while also showcasing its commitment to safety.

Meanwhile, ATA’s Road Team members are already working with several public and private schools teaching Teens and Trucks and Share the Road programs in high school driver’s education classes across Alabama.

Association events were well-supported and attended this year, including the SMMC’s Fleet Safety Awards in March; the annual ATA Convention and Meeting in April; and the Alabama Trucking Driving Championships in June. During these events, several member fleets and their drivers and employees were recognized for excellence. Among the highlights were awards given to Alabama Driver of the Year Moses Thomas of ABC Transportation; Safety Professional of the Year Jeff Loggins of Blair Logistics, LLC; Maintenance Professional of the Year E.J. Waters of Evergreen Forest Products; and Alabama Fleet Manager of the Year Rebecca Pitts of USA Metals.

Also, Mark Knight a line-haul driver for AAA Cooper Transportation based in Moody, Ala., lifted the Alabama Truck Driving Championships’ Grand Champion trophy with a remarkable 385.5 combined score. The event was held in June near Birmingham with nearly 100 drivers from ATA member fleets competing.

Another highlight was the announcement of B.R. Williams Trucking president Greg Brown as the 2018 H. Chester Webb Award recipient, the Association’s highest honor for a member.

Looking ahead, your Alabama Trucking Association will continue to fight for your interests with lobbying, member services, professional training, and networking and leadership opportunities to give your business the most return on its dues investment.

Thanks for your support of the Alabama Trucking Association and its mission to protect and serve the state’s trucking industry. Since 1938, we’ve worked hard on your behalf, and we look forward to continuing to serve your needs in 2019.

And now, without further ado, here are ATA’s Best of 2018:

ATA creates new foundation to promote and protect Alabama’s trucking industry
The ATA Foundation is the 501(c)3 charitable arm of the Alabama Trucking Association dedicated to advancing highway safety; investing in meaningful research for the Alabama trucking industry; providing scholarships to young adults seeking a trucking-related careers; and creating an effective, ongoing image campaign for the trucking industry. Read more

ATA taps Moses Thomas Alabama Driver of the Year
In March, the Alabama Trucking Association named Moses Thomas of ABC Transportation of Eufaula, Ala. is Alabama Driver of the Year, an award selected by an independent panel composed of state troopers from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA). Candidates were judged on their professionalism, safety record, and service to their communities. See a video about Moses Thomas’s career here.

ATA honors state’s safest fleets, drivers and employees
Also, last March ATA’s Safety and Maintenance Management Council honored the state’s safest and best fleets, drivers and managers at its annual SMMC Fleet Safety Awards in Pelham, Ala. Read more

TRUK PAC-backed candidates score big wins in General Elections
Last November’s General Election results saw all but one of the 67 TRUK PAC-backed candidates win their respective races. The election cycle proved to be an incredible success for the Alabama Trucking Association’s political arm, TRUK PAC. In all, ATA’s political action committee spent $939,500 during the 2018 election, including the primaries, run-offs and general election, with 86 cents of every dollar spent on the winning candidates. Read more

ATA Golf Classic raises 268,000+ for political action
The Alabama Trucking Association held its annual ATA Golf Classic last September at the gorgeous Robert Trent Jones Capitol Hill Courses in Prattville, Ala. Spearheaded by tournament Chairman Nic Balanis of ServisFirst Bank and his finance committee, this year’s event raised more than $268,600, surpassing all previous Classics in terms of money raised and participation. The tournament drew 144 sponsorships from ATA member firms and other trucking related businesses and stakeholders and hosted more than 350 golfers who filled all three courses at the RTJ Capitol Hill. Read more

Greg Brown wins 2018 H. Chester Webb Award
The Alabama Trucking Association has tapped Anniston trucking executive Greg Brown of BR Williams Trucking, Inc. as its 2018 H. Chester Webb Award for Distinguished Service, an honor that recognizes state trucking professionals for outstanding service and leadership to their communities and the industry. ATA officials gave Mr. Brown its award at the ATA 80th Annual Convention and Meeting held this last April at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa. Read more

ATA taps Fenn Church as new Chairman
The Alabama Trucking Association Board of Directors elected Fenn Church, President of the Birmingham-based Church Transportation & Logistics, Inc., to serve as its Chairman for fiscal year 2018-’19. His term began July 1, 2018 and runs to June 30, 2019.Read more

AAA Cooper driver wins Alabama TDC
Mark Knight a line-haul driver for AAA Cooper Transportation based in Moody, Ala., finally lifted the Alabama Trucking Association’s Truck Driving Championships’ Grand Champion trophy with a remarkable 387.5 combined score. The event was held June 1 near Birmingham with nearly 100 drivers competing. The Grand Champion’s Trophy is sponsored by Southland International Truck & Trailers/Idealease. Read more