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August 1, 2011 2:30 AM, EDT

MCE Speakers to Discuss Economy, Politics

By Transport Topics Staff

This story appears in the Aug. 1 print edition of Transport Topics.

American Trucking Associations has formally announced several highlight events of its 2011 Management Conference & Exhibition, scheduled for Oct. 15-18 in Grapevine, Texas.

“Our industry faces numerous challenges — both political and economic — after the Great Recession,” ATA President Bill Graves said in a statement. “By coming together at MCE, attendees will be putting themselves in a position to succeed.”

The special challenges facing particular industry sectors within trucking in the post-recession environment will be the focus of an Oct. 18 panel of top industry executives.

Scheduled to appear are Gary Salisbury, CEO of truckload fleet Fikes Truck Line; Reggie Dupré, CEO of tanker Dupré Logistics LLC; Steve Williams, chairman and CEO of flatbed carrier Maverick USA Inc.; and Douglas Stotlar, CEO of less-than-truckload firm Con-way Inc.

Con-way ranks No. 3 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in the United States and Canada. Salisbury is the current chairman of the Truckload Carriers Association, and Williams, whose company ranks No. 96 on the TT 100, is a past chairman of ATA.

The panel will be moderated by Howard Abramson, publisher and editorial director of Transport Topics Publishing Group.

“As trucking comes out of several difficult economic years, fleets are discovering that business growth presents its own issues, problems and opportunities. And we’re all well aware that federal regulators are considering several rule changes that could have a major impact on operations and, in the end, on profitability,” Abramson said.

“We’ve created a panel of top-flight fleet executives who are going to explore the issues facing fleets in the four major markets: truckload, less-than-truckload, tank and flatbed,” he said.

ATA also announced that U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, will address MCE attendees during the Advocacy and Government Affairs luncheon to be held Oct. 16.

The next day, Bob Costello, ATA’s chief economist, will head the annual “All Eyes on the Economy” panel. The federation said he will be joined by John Felmy, chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Economist Martin Regalia.

Fox Business Channel host Stuart Varney will again moderate the economy discussion.