Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Gary Bond caps successful year as ATA’s top elected leader

This week Alabama Trucking Association’s current Chairman of the Board Gary Bond completes his one-year term as the Association’s top elected official, capping one of the group’s most successful years in recent memory.

Chairman Bond presided over a slew of successful projects and events that smashed records for member support in terms of participation and sponsorship totals, including the recent ATA Annual Convention; last year’s ATA Golf Classic, which raises money for the Association’s political action committee TRUK PAC; and a variety of safety council events and meetings that also enjoyed solid attendance and support.

Other milestones included the implementation of new bookkeeping functions for increased control, transparency and security; improved member services, such as a series of well-attended member summits to educate fleet owners and managers on current issues; and a complete overhaul and relaunch of the Association’s website, as well as the addition of public image and marketing campaign that will continue to grow and improve into next year.

On the political front, the Alabama Trucking Association focused on several legislative priorities benefiting the trucking industry. One of the more pressing goals was an effort to negate excessive non-consensual towing fees. Several Alabama motor carriers urged ATA leadership to address the issue, and ATA pushed legislation that authorizes and directs the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) to establish a dispute procedure for non-consensual towing and recovery fees; heightened ethical restrictions on state trooper relationships with the private towing industry; and authorized assessment of civil penalties for violations. The bill (SB201) received overwhelming support in both the House and Senate and will become effective on the first day of the third month following the bill’s signature.

Better Than Ever: A look back at ATA’s FY2017 from Alabama Trucking Association.

Meanwhile, ATA joined with other groups and organizations of the similar interest, under the umbrella of the Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure, to adjust Alabama’s gasoline and diesel excise tax with a 9 cent per gallon increase spanning over a five-year period. The bill sponsored by Rep. Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa) drew widespread support.

According to Alliance officials, despite widespread support, an agreed upon bill did not materialize until late in the Alabama Legislature Regular Session, and time simply ran out. Thus, the bill never made it to the House floor.

“Though the billed died, the accomplishment of achieving an agreed upon bill having such widespread support was a major success,” said ATA President & CEO Frank Filgo. “That success will be built upon for future efforts. We will continue to work this plan and others that will improve Alabama’s roadways and infrastructure.”

The upshot of 2017 Regular Session for ATA is that of the 35 trucking related bills monitored, there were some major victories and a letdown or two, but, more importantly, no anti-truck bills (such as right lane restrictions) became law, Filgo noted.

Going forward for next session, high on the list will be the fuel tax adjustment, weight exemptions for vehicles using CNG and LNG, among other new introductions.  “We’ll also work for the creation of a one-stop-shop for payment of truck registration fees and property taxes,” Filgo said.

As his term comes to end, Chairman Bond has been a hands-on leader who isn’t afraid to work hard for what he believes. From the onset, he vowed to improve the Association’s overall standing as the Alabama’s preeminent voice for the trucking industry. His agenda included initiatives to bolster member services, increase existing membership involvement with ATA events and special projects — especially among trucking firms; and fortify and improve the industry’s public image for economic development, and industry safety and professionalism.

Filgo said Bond accomplished those goals, and the Association is better because of his leadership.

“It is a tradition that the Alabama Trucking Association elects a Chairman of the Board from its Allied sector every four years,” Filgo explained. “Having served this association for 22 years, it was obvious to me from day one that Gary would someday serve as its chief elected officer. He’s was elected to the Board of Directors in in 1999, and worked hard fulfilling every assignment and responsibility given to him. I recall a five-year period that he served as our Convention Finance Chairman raising the necessary funds to afford our successful annual meeting events.”

Bond’s people skills, along with his knowledge of the financial side of the trucking industry, make him a great fit for the duties awarded to the Chairman of the Board, Filgo added.

“As chairman, the Association continued to grow in stature and distinction under his leadership,” Filgo said. “Member participation and involvement was at a record high. For instance, more than 445 member company representatives attend this year’s annual convention, and the ATA Golf Classic set a record for sponsorships. This Association is lucky to have had a person of his stature and expertise to serve as our 2016-17 ATA Chairman of the Board. Because of his leadership, ATA is better equipped to serve its members.”