Letter: Oldest Continuous TT Reader

This Letter to the Editor appears in the Oct. 19 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Oldest Continuous TT Reader

I consider myself to be the oldest continuous reader of Transport Topics. Here is a little history lesson that will demonstrate why.

In 1931, my father, Howard C. Rodgers, founder of Yankee Lines Inc., along with Ted Rogers of Rogers Motor Lines and a third person whose name I am unable to recall, met in Washington, D.C., and started American Trucking Associations. When they decided that there should be a weekly or monthly newsletter-type publication for the membership, my father prevailed upon Carl Jackson to relocate from Akron, Ohio, to the Washington, D.C., area and be-come the managing director of ATA, a position he would hold for the remainder of his life.

That initial ATA publication was the inception of TT, which we enjoy to this date. I believe I am the oldest reader of TT, as I have received every publication that was ever printed.

Some additional history: In 1973, as Howard’s only son, I became the president of Yankee Lines, while my father semiretired as the chairman of the board. Within 2½ years, I had converted the road fleet of Yankee Lines to the largest standardized fleet of Brockway tractors in the world. All parts of every tractor were interchangeable with all of the other Yankee Lines tractors.

In addition, I pioneered the use of the “box,” now seen on most trailers, that fits between the tractor wheels and the trailer wheels. Filling in the entire width of the tractor, with a 2-foot depth, this box quickly became known as the “Speed Pac” and was used for special shipments. It became a special sales item, as all a shipper had to do was write “Speed Pac” on the bill of lading for special handling with size and dimensions specified.

As I mention above, this was the world’s first concept of such an under-the-trailer box. In addition to being able to handle special shipments, the Speed Pac also is a money saver because it allows for less wind drag under the tractor, thus saving 3% on fuel on each power unit, forever, with each load. I consider myself the founder of this concept.

I was 10 years old when ATA was founded and the “newsletter” started. I’m 95 years old and have read every issue! Therefore, I consider myself the oldest living continuous reader of Transport Topics.

Jack A. Rodgers


Loxahatchee, Florida