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Perspective: Prioritizing Our People

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Over my four-decade career in trucking, I’ve been privileged to work with thousands of talented professionals across every corner of the country. As incoming chairman of American Trucking Associations, I am honored for the opportunity to represent so many incredible individuals who form this amazing industry. I’ve always believed the trucking industry is the connective tissue of not just our economy but America as a whole, and our people are the ultimate reason why.

By focusing on them, I believe we can strengthen that connective tissue. Getting more people to see trucking as a first-choice career — particularly drivers and technicians — is key and will be a high priority under my chairmanship. That means expanding our reach into populations that have been historically underrepresented, including young people, urban communities, minorities and women. That’s why efforts like ATA’s recently launched Women In Motion program matter, as we work to change common misconceptions about who can be a professional truck driver.

We must also take on the issues that matter most to our people. That includes expanding access to safe truck parking. Drivers, and particularly women, have made it abundantly clear how challenging the lack of parking options is to their job, safety and well-being. We can reduce those burdens by continuing to advocate for expansion projects through bipartisan infrastructure law grants to states and advancing federal legislation that dedicates more funds to truck parking.



Van Alstine

Van Alstine

To strengthen that connective tissue, we must also work to expand the reach of the ATA federation. Our association has secured historic wins over the past 12 months, including the passage of a federal infrastructure investment bill and Ocean Shipping Reform Act, and the defeats of a nationwide vaccine mandate at the Supreme Court and a trucks-only tolling scheme in Rhode Island. These victories demonstrate the crucial role our association plays in achieving public policies that support the growth and profitability of our industry. They were made possible by the active and collaborative engagement of our member companies and federation partners.

There are myriad ways for our members to stay engaged. Attend our events and policy meetings. Draw upon the many educational and informational resources provided by the ATA. Recruit new members. Join a Call on Washington. Host a member of Congress for a terminal visit. Contribute to Truck PAC. Participate in American Transportation Research Institute and ATA surveys so we remain armed with real-world data to educate government officials. Engage with the media and our image programs to help tell our industry’s story. All of these actions provide value to the association and help generate a return on investment to your membership. All of them have a piece in making our past and future advocacy wins possible.

It was wonderful to reconnect with so many of our members last week in San Diego for the ATA Management Conference & Exhibition. The energy was palpable, and it reflected the awesome power we wield as an active and unified association. When we come together, we multiply our resources and find new clarity in our purpose. Our connections grow stronger, and in turn so does our industry.

As we move forward, let’s take pride in all that we have recently accomplished together and remember the source of our success begins with one another. The enabling power is people — people aligned, focused and determined. By staying connected, we will successfully navigate a divisive political landscape that risks tearing our country apart with ideology and an unwillingness to find common ground. In doing so, we ensure the connective tissue of our nation — America’s trucking industry — has the strength to endure through whatever turbulence the future may hold.

Dan Van Alstine is president and chief operating officer at Ruan Transportation Management Systems.

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