New TMC Chair Todd Cotier Focuses on the Details
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Keeping a close eye on the fine points is important to Todd Cotier, the new chairman of the Technology & Maintenance Council of American Trucking Associations. So much so that he’s making it the theme of his chairmanship.
“Those little details that nobody else would notice — I’m kind of particular about that,” said Cotier, director of maintenance for Bangor, Maine-based truckload carriers Hartt Transportation. “So that’s my theme: Attention to detail. With attention to detail, quality will come.”
Cotier took over as chairman March 1 during the TMC Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition. The show was held Feb. 27 to March 2 in Orlando, Fla.
Cotier’s passion for keeping equipment in proper working order stretches back to his youth, when after school and on weekends he would handle tasks like greasing backhoes and checking tires on dump trucks for his family’s construction business.
“I guess maintenance has always been just ingrained into me,” Cotier said.
Experience he gained early in his career at Hartt — a company he joined at 17 — helped steer his growth, Cotier added. “I was able to have a lot of opportunity here as far as doing some technical stuff, working on engines, rebuilding engines and that type of thing,” he said.
Cotier also committed to educating himself. “There’s a pamphlet that comes with the new truck clutch. I actually read those,” he said. “They give the instructions for a reason — you probably ought to look at them. I also went through a lot of training — a lot of vendor training, manufacturer training.”
He added, “I just have a true passion for information.”
That passion to learn has come in handy, especially when he would field early morning calls from drivers with service issues on the road. This helped him learn how to diagnose issues over the phone, and keep drivers and trucks on the road.
When on the road at industry events, Cotier would learn from others; he’d ask questions and write information on the backs of individuals’ business cards for later follow-up discussions. It was during one of these interactions that he learned about TMC. He was told that learning from others in the industry — like he was already doing — was what the group was all about. He attended his first TMC meeting a few years later, and quickly started working through the ranks.
From left: Bison Transport's Mike Gomes, vice president of maintenance, Cotier, and Jeremy Gough, Bison's associate vice president of national fleet maintenance. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)
“Years ago, I was chairman of study groups,” Cotier said, but noted that at the time any potential path to the TMC chairmanship was stymied; to become chairman, the candidate’s fleet must maintain ATA membership, which Hartt did not.
Cotier noted he wasn’t bothered by the situation; rather, he felt it appropriate to afford the opportunity to others. “I really [didn’t] want to mess up the line for somebody else coming in behind me,” he said.
That changed in 2022, when Hartt was acquired by ATA member company Bison Transport.
“Somebody dropped off the board, and [former TMC Chairman] Randy Obermeyer [had] responsibility to backfill that position,” Cotier said. “Randy called me and asked if I’d be willing to serve on the board.” Cotier was elected to vice chairman, and now takes the reins for a yearlong appointment.
Looking ahead, he see challenges that both the industry as a whole, and TMC specifically, must address. Chief among them are building infrastructure to charge electric vehicles, and finding good talent to both service trucks and serve with TMC.
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“I do understand there are pockets that are ready for EVs, but I think that is a huge concern industrywide,” he said. “And the, of course, employment — employees, technicians, drivers. That’s no different than in past years.”
But what TMC needs, Cotier stressed, is people willing to address these issues.
“Upcoming leaders, people volunteering,” he said. “Quality people volunteering and living up to the commitments that they volunteer for. There’s a lot to keep this council running. It takes a lot of people to make this all happen, and having great people, dedicated people, that are willing to make the commitment and then be able to fulfill the commitment that they made.”
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