February 17, 2014 2:00 AM, EST

Former Trucker Derrickson Named Director of Delaware Motor Transport Association

By Eric Miller, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the Feb. 17 print edition of Transport Topics.

Delaware Motor Transport Association announced that M. Lee Derrickson, a former trucker and driver-training instructor, has taken over as executive director.

Derrickson, 64, drove trucks for more than a decade and spent 24 years as an instructor in the Commercial Transportation Program at Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown, Del.

He assumed the DMTA leadership post Feb. 1. The position, formerly held by Byard O’Neal, has been vacant since December 2011.

“Over the years, I figure I have probably trained over 1,000 people — and failed a few, as well,” Derrickson said.

A longtime DMTA member, Derrickson said that since he retired three years ago, associates have asked when he would take the job.

“Finally, I gave in,” he said.

He has his work cut out for him as he tries to revive a 120-member state trucking organization that has been relatively dormant the past few years.

“The record keeping is in a bit of disarray,” Derrickson told Transport Topics, “so I have to get a handle on that first.”

“When I got involved in DMTA in 1987, it was a very active, vibrant organization. I think it can be that way again,” he said.

His first policy challenge, he said, will be to get DMTA members to adopt a policy position on a proposal by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) to raise state fuel taxes by 10 cents a gallon.

Walter Moorhead, DMTA’s secretary and a member of the executive board, said Derrickson is “extremely well-connected” to Delaware’s state legislators and knows the trucking industry “inside and out.”

“Mr. Derrickson is no stranger to the association,” Denny Piper, DMTA’s chairman, said in a statement. “He has been an active participant in the Safety Management Council for years, has served on the executive committee and chaired the Truck Driving Championship committee in 1989.”

Derrickson also has written and administered the knowledge-testing component of the state truck driving championships for 27 years, Piper said.

“The organization has gone from very active and very large to very small,” Moorhead said. “Quite honestly, we couldn’t afford to have an administrative assistant-type person and an executive director, so we were looking for someone who had the qualities that could be the executive director but also roll up their sleeves and do the fundraising and other things.”