Tuesday, December 27, 2016

ATA’s top news stories for 2016

With the close of another year, your Alabama Trucking Association is incredibly grateful for your partnership in making 2016 one of our most successful in recent memory.

The livelihood of any organization is incumbent upon the participation and support of its members. Fortunately our members are dedicated, engaged, and willing to do whatever it takes to make trucking better, safer and stronger.

It was a particularly great year for a few individual members. Following up on B.R. Williams Director of Safety Allan Hicks’s recognition as the American Trucking Associations’ top fleet safety manager in 2015, longtime AAA Cooper Transportation driver Frank Calvert was tapped National ATA’s Professional Driver of the Year last fall, and the group also recognized B.R. Williams’ Greg Brown with the Rocque Dameo Award which is the group’s annual honor for the National ATA State-Vice President who goes above and beyond in their service to the national organization.

Back here in Alabama, our Safety & Maintenance Management Council (SMMC) made great progress with several successful meetings and events, including a batch of well-attended seminars on the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate that affects thousands of trucking fleets and millions of drivers nationwide. Other SMMC highlights were the Alabama Truck Driving Championships and the Council’s annual Fleet Safety Awards.

Of course, one of the Association’s more memorable events this year was last spring’s annual convention in Las Vegas.  The Association brought its annual meeting to Vegas for three days of informative meetings; thought provoking discussions; and endless world class entertainment.

Other top developments for the industry in 2016 included some real doozies that will continue to affect trucking businesses for many years to come. Topping the short list were the seemingly never-ending battle over Hour of Service regulation; the upcoming ELD mandate, national highway funding; and of course, an election cycle that threatened to tear our nation apart politically with one of the nastiest Presidential elections in history. No matter which side of the political fence you lean, there’s no doubt that a Trump administration could bode very well for trucking next year.

But we digress, this list focuses on Alabama’s trucking community – and now, without further ado, here are the Alabama Trucking Association’s top news events for 2016:

Frank Calvert named National Driver of the Year

Longtime AAA Cooper Transportation truck driver Frank Calvert has never been one to seek the spotlight, but lately he can’t seem to avoid it. Last spring, the 78 year old was named the Alabama Trucking Association’s Professional Driver of the Year. Then in November, the American Trucking Associations tapped him National Truck Driver of the Year. He’s only the third Alabama driver to win the national award.

Tom McLeod honored with Webb Award

During its 78th Annual Convention in Las Vegas, Nev., the Alabama Trucking Association gave McLeod Software founder Tom McLeod its highest honor, the H. Chester Webb Award for Distinguished Service. Known simply as The Webb Award, the honor is given annually to recognize individuals for service, leadership and contributions to Alabama’s trucking industry, the Association and the communities where they reside.

ATA taps Gary Bond as Chairman

The Alabama Trucking Association Board of Directors elected Birmingham banking executive Gary Bond to serve as its Chairman for fiscal year 2016-2017. Bond replaced Greg Brown of B.R. Williams Trucking, Inc. whose term ended June 30 (ATA operates on July 1st fiscal year). Bond is vice president for BancorpSouth Equipment Finance, which offers heavy equipment financing and leasing options for various business sectors, including trucking and construction. He has been in banking for more than 30 years – 15 of those with BancorpSouth – and an ATA board member for nearly two decades.

National ATA recognizes Greg Brown for outstanding service

During its annual meeting last October, the American Trucking Associations honored Greg Brown, Chairman of B.R. Williams Trucking Inc., Oxford, Ala., with the Rocque Dameo Award for his service as an ATA State Vice President. “The Dameo Award recognizes Greg’s work as an ATA state vice president – working with his fellow trucking executives to advance the goals of our industry and association,” said ATA Senior Vice President for Membership Dave Brodie. “Without leaders like Greg, ATA would be unable to do the important work our members ask us to do, so we thank him and all our state vice presidents.” National ATA started honoring its state vice presidents with the Dameo Award in 2014, which comes with a $5,000 contribution to the winner’s state trucking association.

 Jeff Coleman elected BCA Chairman

The Business Council of Alabama board of directors has elected Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman as chairman of the business advocacy organization for 2017. Coleman, president and CEO of Coleman Worldwide Moving, succeeds 2016 Chairman Tommy Lee, president and CEO of Vulcan Inc. in Foley. Coleman, the BCA’s 2016 first vice chairman, takes office Jan. 1 and Lee becomes immediate-past chairman.

ATA takes 2016 Convention to Vegas

Seeking a change in scenery, the Alabama Trucking Association gathered for its 78th Annual Convention at the Westin Las Vegas Hotel, Casino & Spa, Las Vegas. April 28-May 1, 2016.  With more than 285 members and guests representing 107 trucking related firms in attendance, leaders of the state’s trucking industry celebrated its successes, elected new leadership, and planned for its future at one of the world’s most exciting destinations.  Because of the distant location, attendance was down slightly this year from previous years, but ATA leaders say they were still extremely pleased with the event’s content and programs.

SMMC holds Fleet Safety Awards ceremony

With more than 59 years and 5 million miles of professional driving under his belt, Alabama Driver of the Year Frank Calvert won the Alabama Trucking Association’s most popular, if not its most important, recognition at the group’s annual Safety & Maintenance Management Fleet Safety Awards Banquet, held March 21 in Birmingham. Other awards went to the state’s best fleet managers and safest overall fleets from several categories.

 ATA Golf Classic sets another record

With more than 300 golfers in attendance and nearly a quarter of a million dollars raised, the Alabama Trucking Association’s 2016 Golf Classic, held September 27 in Prattville, Ala. was among the event’s most successful ever. Tournament chairman Rodger Collins of Industrial Warehouse Services said this year’s event surpassed all previous events, in terms of money raised and member participation. “Our total revenue eclipsed $224,050, generating an estimated net income of $180,000 benefiting ATA’s political action committee,” he said. “As many as 125 trucking related firms sponsored this year and 308 golf slots were reserved for players. That’s the best we’ve ever done.”

FedEx’s Dan Thompson wins Alabama TDC

Dan Thompson, a veteran professional truck driver for FedEx Freight’s terminal near Mobile, won the Alabama Trucking Association’s State Truck Driving Championships’ Overall Champion award June 10 at the Pelham Civic Complex in Pelham, Ala. The award is sponsored by Birmingham Freightliner. Thompson and nearly 100 other Alabama-based truck drivers representing two dozen trucking firms competed at the annual event. Check out this highlight reel from the event.

ATA launches new website, rebranding effort

On December 1, the Alabama Trucking Association unveiled its redesigned and rebranded website at www.alabamatrucking.org. The website was a highly anticipated project for members, providing an uncluttered design that incorporates improved functionality and enhanced content. The new site is also in coordination with a redesigned corporate logo to coincide with this public image and rebranding effort.