Special Coverage



Rebecca Oyler Wins Top TAEC Award as ATA Honors Industry Leaders

Inland Kenworth's Don Blake Recognized for Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking
Rebbeca Oyler
Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association CEO Rebecca Oyler accepts the TAEC state executive award, presented by American Trucking Associations CEO (left) and ATA Chairman Harold Sumerford Jr. on Oct. 23.(John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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SAN DIEGO —  American Trucking Associations presented its state association leadership award and recognized one executive’s efforts to combat human trafficking Oct. 23 during its Management Conference & Exhibition..

The ATA President’s Trucking Association Executive Council Leadership Award was created in 2002 to honor state trucking association leaders. Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association  CEO Rebecca Oyler was named this year’s recipient for her advocacy efforts on behalf of the industry.

“This honoree is new to the ATA family and has excelled in revamping the association and scoring multiple legislative victories in the process,” ATA President Chris Spear said. “One victory stands out above all others, which is where this person really shined.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation had been pursuing a plan to set up tolls on bridges in the state. Oyler spearheaded an effort to challenge the plan, which involved building an opposition coalition and engaging the public and media to bring attention to it. She worked closely with the coalition to mount a legal challenge as well.

“The Pennsylvania court sided with the PMTA-led coalition and ruled that PennDOT failed to follow proper procedure pursuing the bridge tolling initiative,” Spear said. “Moreover, legislative champions on behalf of PMTA and allies then successfully negotiated a legislative agreement with the governor to establish new rules to rein in the Commonwealth Public Private Partnership Board and PennDOT to bring about much greater tolling oversight.”

The President’s TAEC Leadership Award comes with a $10,000 grant for a nonprofit 501c trucking education or research organization of the honoree’s choosing.

“This comes as a complete shock,” Oyler said. “I could not have done any of this without you all. So, thank you all for that. The ATA is a wonderful family. I feel very at home here, and I just want to thank everyone for all the support.”

Don Blake

Don Blake of Inland Kenworth was honored with the Truckers Against Trafficking Champion Award. (John Somers II for Transport Topics)

The 2022 Truckers Against Trafficking Champion Award also was presented. The award recognizes individuals who have found innovative aways to support the mission to fight human trafficking. Don Blake, the new-truck sales manager of Inland Kenworth, was recognized this year.

“Many years ago, God sent some pain and suffering into my life and into my family’s life,” Blake said. “And at the time, I didn’t understand why. Why did we have to hurt? And what I’ve come to realize was that God was preparing me to hear the call of [Truckers Against Trafficking] when they came along.”

Blake helped spearhead the Everyday Heroes Trucks initiative. The program builds branded trucks to raise awareness and money to support the mission of Truckers Against Trafficking. Thus far, three trucks have been built. Blake has spread awareness in other ways including being on the board of directors for the advocacy organization since 2017.

Make yourself and your employees aware of the problem of human trafficking and how you can help.

Don Blake of Inland Kenworth

“I have three challenges,” Blake said. “Make yourself and your employees aware of the problem of human trafficking and how you can help. Simply go to the TAT website, take the TAT training program, takes 20 minutes, get TAT-certified. You can do it at the airport on your way home. Second thing you can do to help is help us reduce the demand by adopting anti-sex trafficking policies at your company. Make it a zero-tolerance policy for your employees to use your phones, your computers, your vehicles to purchase sex. And third, make Truckers against Trafficking a part of your charitable giving.”

The LEAD ATA upcoming class for 2023 also was introduced. The yearlong professional training program provides educational opportunities for trucking industry executives that incorporate problem solving and advanced industry insights.

LEAD ATA Class of 2023 chart

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