Campbell to Depart California Trucking Assn.

Invited for 3 Months, He Remained for 8 Years
By Timothy Cama, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the July 8 print edition of Transport Topics.

Mike Campbell, who has led the California Trucking Association for eight years, will retire from the organization as soon as it picks his successor, the group announced late last month.

“Eight years ago, CTA asked me to come in for three months, to improve the administrative processes here and to bring the whole organization up to speed in a number of areas,” Campbell told Transport Topics. CTA then asked Campbell to remain as CEO for one year at a time, he said.

CTA has started the process of picking a new CEO, and it plans to have one in place by the end of the year.

Before his time at CTA, Campbell, 65, worked as a consultant to companies throughout the world in industries that had previously been closely regulated but were shifting to a more competitive structure, such as telecommunications and utilities, he said.

He had never worked in freight transportation, but because trucking was economically regulated up until the 1980s, he saw many similarities to the other industries he had worked with.

“It was enjoyable to work with an industry that was going through a lot of the pains I’ve seen in other industries,” Campbell said, noting that the members of CTA “provided me with the support and resources to tackle those issues.”

CTA brought Campbell on “at a time when CTA was in a real quandary, financially and operationally,” said Bob Massman, vice president of Dependable Highway Express in Los Angeles.

Massman also is CTA’s president, the highest elected position among the group’s membership.

“What he brought was a level of stability, and he built what is probably the best staff team that CTA’s had,” Massman said of Campbell.

In Campbell’s time, CTA has shifted its advocacy from a strategy of being an adversary to the government to one in which it works more closely with officials, he said.

“The association used to just sit back and attack things,” Campbell said. “Now we work collaboratively with the governor’s office and with both sides of the aisle.”

CTA also expanded the services it makes available to  members. It offers a set of eight benefits for carriers such as group health insurance and 401(k) plans and is working to add six programs.

In 2005, it only offered worker’s compensation insurance, Campbell said.

Massman credited Campbell with working to keep down truck registration fees and fight unreasonable regulations.

“California’s the beta site for different organizations to try to pound the industry,” he said. “We’re always getting hit with regulations. CTA is at the forefront of fighting those regulations on an ongoing basis.”

Campbell has retired twice before, but this time he said he thinks it will stick, since his closest friends and wife are retired as well. “She’s already got plans for me,” he said, adding he plans to focus on golf, riding his motorcycle and skiing.

“It’s going to require a big change,” he said.

Massman and other CTA officers have started to write a job description for the next CEO, one of the first steps the organization must take, he said.

“It’s going to be a tough job to replace Mike,” Massman said.

Campbell has agreed to stay on until at least the end of the year, and Massman predicted that CTA will find a new leader by then.

“The hardest part is breaking away from the people, because it’s like an extended family,” Campbell said. “Leaving the job is relatively easy; it’s leaving the people that is hard.”


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