New Moving Conference Chairman Bill Lovejoy Has Full Plate of Challenges
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When it comes to the many challenges getting customers moved from point A to point B, Bill Lovejoy, the new chairman of American Trucking Associations’ Moving and Storage Conference, has pretty much done it all.
Lovejoy, owner of San Diego-based Republic Moving and Storage, will now be guiding fellow members of the moving industry through their toughest challenges and accomplishments.
He has a lot on his plate.
One of his major challenges will be helping the transition of his fellow movers for one of the biggest, and most complicated, global military moving contracts ever. The sole-source contract, valued at up to $20 billion, will be run by HomeSafe Alliance, a Houston-based firm that will manage an estimated 325,000 annual moves of military families worldwide.
The trouble is, nearly everyone, including Lovejoy, is not quite sure just how the contract will work.
“I don’t think it’s going to be an easy one,” Lovejoy said. “It’s a challenging time with all military moves managed by a single source provider. The industry hasn’t got its arms around it yet. I’ve talked with several major players in the moving business who are at a loss. What’s the future?”
He’s convinced things will work out, and HomeSafe executives say it will be a high-tech, well-managed boon for the industry, and that it plans to spend a lot of time educating movers before it goes into full effect. A session is planned at the MSC meeting beginning Feb. 27 in Orlando, Fla. The Department of Defense also is scheduled to talk to movers at the meeting.
Who better to lead the movers' conference in challenging times than Lovejoy, said Ryan Bowley, executive director of ATA’s MSC.
“Bill got into the moving business when he was young,” Bowley said. “He worked his way up the industry — worked with well-respected movers, came up through the ranks. He’s worked across all aspects of the operation – in the field, at the warehouse, and now as a top executive.”
Bowley added, “When he bought Republic it was pretty much on its last legs. He purchased it and really turned it around, made it into a really strong performer.”
Today Republic is one of the larger military movers in the United States, but also is a $20 million company and top 10 booker.
Lovejoy, 64, married and a father of six, said he constantly works to keep a balance between work and family life. His “stress-relieving hobbies” include racquetball, basketball, tennis and golf.
“I started working on trucks for my dad’s company when I was 11,” he said. “You learn a lot — good, bad and indifferent. I’ve told my parents I want to be a lot of things when I grow up. Mover was not one of them. But here I am.”
Lovejoy said as chairman, he’ll continue to work with ATA’s Truck PAC, advocate in Congress, obtain military base access for drivers and protect the contractor model.
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One of his more urgent issues will be to fight against fraud in the industry, which he calls the “wild West.” Scammers use the internet to set up phony websites, issue quotes, then raise the cost, while holding customer goods hostage. “We want money from FMCSA for enforcement and continue to simplify the industry. We haven’t made a lot of progress on that.”
Steve Weitekamp, president of the California Moving & Storage Association, said Lovejoy is a big supporter of industry associations at both the state and national levels.
“He invests time as well as resources in support of association activities and programs,” Weitekamp said. “He’s innovative and an early adopter of new technology that enhances the moving process for both internal and external customers.”
“Bill will be a great leader of the Moving and Storage Conference,” said David Marx, president of New World Van Lines and outgoing MSC chairman. “Bill is dedicated to the industry and his industry knowledge and business savvy is a great combination.”