June 30, 2017 12:00 AM, EDT

Take Me Out to the Ballgame and a Trucking Leadership Symposium

Ballpark Village in St. LouisDaniel P. Bearth/Transport Topics

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — I recently spent a day at the ballpark. Actually, it was Ballpark Village, which is situated just outside the stadium where the St. Louis Cardinals play and which provided a delightful venue for what was billed as a Trucking Leadership Symposium organized by Ted Perryman, a principal at the law firm of Roberts Perryman.

The day-long event drew more than 200 attendees from the local area and surrounding states to hear presentations on a range of important topics, including an update from Rebecca Brewster of the American Transportation Research Institute, on the top issues of concern for motor carriers. At the top: electronic logs, but a close second is the cumulative impact of federal and state regulations, an issue that appears on ATRI’s list for the first time since the institute began ranking the top 10 industry issues in 2005. Truck parking is another issue of growing importance and one that will keep climbing if it is not addressed, Brewster noted.

Brewster by Daniel P. Bearth/Transport Topics

Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express and chairman of American Trucking Associations, and Elizabeth Barna, chief operating officer of ATA, issued an appeal for support of Trucking Moves America Forward, an award-winning industry image campaign that tells the story of how trucking contributes to the lives, and livelihoods, of people in communities throughout the country by sponsoring messages on billboards, providing trailer wraps to fleets and through social media posts and videos and newspaper columns.

Steven Bryan, president of Vigillo, talked about how data can be used, and misused, to control our lives and businesses. And to illustrate how valuable data has become, Bryan noted that Uber, with a market value $70 billion, is now the largest transportation company measured by number of drivers. Airbnb is the largest hospitality company measured by available rooms. And the largest media/entertainment company measured in viewers is Facebook. What all these companies have in common is they own nothing but data.

Daniel P. Bearth/Transport Topics

Tom Crawford, president of the Missouri Trucking Association, and Matt Hart, executive director of the Illinois Trucking Association, traded insights into what is happening, or not happening, in state legislatures that will affect trucking companies. In Missouri, Crawford said, he is monitoring compliance with new ID laws that may complicate deliveries to military installations. In Illinois, where lawmakers are struggling to pass a budget, Hart said his members helped to push through expansion of a law requiring motorists to move over for emergency responders and construction crews to include anyone on the highway, including truck drivers who may be stopped on the side of the road.

Hart, Crawford by Daniel P. Bearth/Transport Topics

Insurance was the main topic of presentations in the afternoon with Carole Ridgeway of Maverick Transportation and Scott Randall of Hogan Transports Inc. providing risk management ideas. Also, a panel of insurance brokers that included Skip Wombolt of the Cline Wood Agency in St. Louis, Jim Ruebsam of The Daniel & Henry Co. and agent representative John Simms discussed how best to cope with rising premiums for liability coverage.

Randall by Daniel P. Bearth/Transport Topics


Simms by Daniel P. Bearth/Transport Topics

Ted Perryman wrapped up the symposium with an insightful look at public perceptions based on responses from members of a mock jury who were asked to react to facts in a hypothetical case involving a truck crash. His takeaway: Potential jurors are more sympathetic to drivers, but less inclined to excuse the behavior of companies if there is evidence of lax maintenance or skirting of safety rules.

Perryman by Daniel Bearth/Transport Topics