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September 17, 2018 4:30 PM, EDT

Capitol Agenda for the Week of Sept. 17: ‘Iggy,’ the Doctor of Truckology, Fondly Remembered

Chris "Iggy" Ignowski at 2016 NTDC Chris "Iggy" Ignowski received the Lifetime Volunteer Award at the 2016 National Truck Driving Championships in Indianapolis (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

While the industry celebrated the country’s top truck drivers at the National Truck Driving Championships last month, organizers also honored the memory of a longtime volunteer known to everybody simply as “Iggy.” Members of the truck championships’ board of directors each had attached a pin onto their name badges with the name Iggy.

A sign on a panel near the start of the driving course at this year’s event read: Dr. of Truckology.

Chris Ignowski, who died in February, had built a career with FedEx as a safety proponent unmatched in his fluency of rules and regulations. The moniker of “Dr. of Truckology,” formally bestowed in 2006 by former FedEx Express colleague Kevin Connelly, was presented to Iggy for his enthusiasm for safety. Those who knew him and worked with him say Ignowski inspired drivers with his capacity for breaking down complex and intricate subjects, such as federal hours-of-service rules and compliance safety regulations, into easy-to-digest information. His lectures, deeply researched, also would often entertain.

Chris Ignowski street sign

FedEx Corp. Communications

“If you’ve ever been to an hours-of-service training class, it can get fairly boring. But not with Chirs. He can make hours of service come alive. And people enjoyed it,” said Larry Bizzell, manager of regional safety at FedEx Ground.

“He can take the mundane and make it funny. And capture your attention. And I think our executives here had a tremendous amount of respect for him in his ability to do that. And his passion for doing that,” added Rob Hicks, manager of corporate safety at FedEx Express. The two executives had worked closely with Ignowski and recently spoke with Transport Topics about his legacy. Iggy had joined FedEx Express two decades prior. He would reach the title of senior safety specialist at Express until moving to FedEx Ground in 2014, where he was a safety adviser.

It would only be fitting for Ignowski to be attracted to the National Truck Driving Championships, an event termed the “Super Bowl of Safety.” He also had an affinity for state tournaments, such as the one hosted in Illinois, that serve as the qualifiers for the national competition. At nationals, Ignowski had taken on the role of den mother for the straight truck competitors.

“Chris was one of those dedicated volunteers who wouldn’t miss a championship. He loved spending time with the drivers in the dens and building relationships with them — he was a huge part of the NTDC family. Drivers wanted to be in his den because he was so entertaining and eased their stress,” Jacob Pierce, deputy executive director for the Safety Management Council at American Trucking Associations, told Transport Topics. “He went above and beyond as a volunteer and gave us great insight into what we could do better. He always had suggestions and ideas of change, with the focus on how we can celebrate and recognize the competitors. I can’t repeat enough how important it was for Chris to make sure the drivers felt proud of their accomplishments by competing at nationals.”

“As an organizer of the event, you didn’t have to worry about the straight truck class. You knew Chris would make sure everything was taken care of,” Pierce added.

Iggy is memorialized with an honorary street sign that bears his name at the company’s hub in Indianapolis. He shares it with Fred Whiteley, a fellow FedEx’er who died a few years prior, and like Iggy was passionate about safety.

Iggy by Transport Topics on Scribd

Last month, the Illinois Trucking Association announced it would recognize a volunteer who exhibits outstanding contributions with the Chris “Iggy” Ignowski award. The annual award will read: “This recognition is given in memory of our friend Iggy, whose dedication and service to the Truck Driving Championships was second to none. It shall be awarded to a volunteer who most exemplifies these qualities in the planning and execution of this annual event.”

“I think Chris, he always put other people before himself and he cared deeply for our employees at FedEx Express and the general public, alike,” Hicks added. “He cared deeply for our drivers, not only here at FedEx Express, but the industry as a whole, because he worked to support all of those operating companies that participated in those state events.”

THE WEEK AHEAD: (all times EDT)

Sept. 17, 1:30 p.m.: Plant Oil Powered Diesel Inc. hosts a discussion on “Carbon Tax — Industry, Environmentalist and Citizen Views.”

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr

Carr

Sept. 20, 8 a.m.: Politico hosts a discussion titled, “The New Age of Innovation: The State of Play in 5G in the U.S.” Brendan Carr, commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, is among the speakers.

Sept. 20, 12:30 p.m.: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America and the Caribbean present the forecast on Latin America and the Caribbean Conference.

Sept. 20, 9:30 a.m.: House Democrats host a media briefing about 2017’s Hurricane Maria.

Sept. 22, 10 a.m.: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hosts a listening session in Reno, Nev., about its hours-of-service rules.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

FLO: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has relaxed hours-of-service regulations in 13 states and the District of Columbia as Hurricane Florence makes its way to the East Coast. 

TRUCK STOPS: TravelCenters of America announced a definitive agreement for the sale of its Minit Mart convenience store business to EG Group for $330.8 million as it intends to focus on commercial trucks and other vehicles traveling on interstates, and a new express travel center strategy. 

IN THE KNOW: U.S. truck makers, new startups and independent engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. have helped generate the early buzz on electrified trucks, cleaner emissions and less reliance on diesel fuel. Now, that buzz is generating buzz. 

WHAT WE’RE READING:

More allegations of misusing government funds for travel.

BUZZ:

The status of tolling policy will be a key factor in Rhode Island’s elections this November, insiders tell Transport Topics.

FAVORITE QUOTE:

Pittsburgh is at the forefront of autonomous vehicles and I continue to be amazed at what [Carnegie Mellon University], Ford, Uber, and others are doing with the development of this technology.

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman, in a statement on Sept. 14 to Transport Topics.

Rep. Bill Shuster

FAVORITE VIDEO:

The Robots are Coming.

FAVORITE TWEET:

Live From New York!

Thanks for reading Capitol Agenda. We publish weekly when Congress is in session. E-mail emulero@ttnews.com with tips. Follow us @eugenemulero and @transporttopics.