October 28, 2013 1:40 AM, EDT

Industry Unveils Campaign to Boost Trucking’s Image

By Seth Clevenger, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the Oct. 28 print edition of Transport Topics.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Trucking industry leaders announced the start of a new, collaborative campaign to enhance the image of the entire industry.

Built around the slogan “Trucking Moves America Forward,” they said the initiative will officially be launched in March at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. The program unveiling came during American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference & Exhibition here last week.

“The goal of this movement is simple — to effectively relay the essential nature of the trucking industry to the nation’s economy and the everyday lives of all Americans,” John Conkin, president of the Allied Committee for the Trucking Industry, or ACT 1, said at an Oct. 22 press conference.

The campaign will seek participation from trucking associations, companies, individuals and allied members from “all corners of the trucking industry,” Conkin said.

Michael Card, the former ATA chairman, said one of his goals has been to further raise the clout of the federation and industry, and he pointed to this initiative as a way to make that happen.

“If we continue to make our image better and better, we’re going to have more successes on Capitol Hill, more successes in the statehouses, better business, better relations with the general public and better regulatory efforts,” he said.

The press conference also included comments from Truckload Carriers Association President Chris Burruss and Anne Lynch, chairwoman of the Trucking Association Executives Council. A number of other industry executives and officials attended the event in a show of unity.

Lynch said TAEC’s board voted unanimously to “fully support the program and disseminate it at the state level.”

The campaign’s goal is to raise $1 million per year for the next five years, Conkin said, adding that ACT 1 has donated $100,000 thus far to establish the initial creative designs and branding.

“We’re looking for donations from other industry companies to really bring this movement into the spotlight,” he said.

In March, “Trucking Moves America Forward” will replace ATA’s current slogan — “Good Stuff. Trucks Bring It.” — which the federation has been using since 2004.

Card, who will serve as the fundraising chairman for the new campaign, said he has reached out to other trucking organizations, shipper groups and industry stakeholders in an effort to garner support for the movement.

The initiative will produce an advertising campaign, which could include print, television, radio and billboards, but will also seek to reach the public in other ways.

Card suggested that the image campaign could also help train fleet owners to work better with the media. The industry can also reach out by making better use of Facebook and other social media and by sharing videos on YouTube, he added.

“We have great stories from companies across the country, but don’t always do a good job sharing them outside of the industry,” he said.

As another suggestion, Card said his company, Combined Transport Inc., is looking internally at developing a driver uniform program.

ACT 1’s Conkin said it will be important to share the message that modern trucks are safe, reliable, efficient and technologically advanced.

Another facet of the program will be to “tell our individual stories of what trucking has meant to us, our families, our businesses and our lives,” he said.

Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express Inc. and past chairman of ATA’s image and communications committee, acknowledged the industry consists of many diverse companies but said they are all united by a common thread — the driver.

“We want the drivers to feel better about themselves,” Burch said.

New ATA Chairman Philip Byrd Sr. said the image program will be a “key part” of his year leading the federation. He also said he wants to focus on rebuilding the public’s respect for “our most important resource,” the truck driver.

More information is available at