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July 25, 2016 3:45 AM, EDT

Spear Picks Four Exec. VPs for ATA Leadership Team

American Trucking Associations

This story appears in the July 25 & August 1 print edition of Transport Topics.

New American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear named the first four members of his leadership team July 21, including veteran ATA employee Elisabeth Barna as chief operating officer.

Spear, who succeeded Bill Graves on July 9, also made three new hires: Sue Hensley as executive vice president of communications and public affairs, Jennifer Hall to be general counsel, and Bill Sullivan as executive vice president of advocacy.

“ATA is embarking on a transition and driving in a new direction, one I am proud to lead and prouder still to have these fine individuals and all the ATA staff play a part in,” Spear said in a statement. “We share the vision and goal of ensuring this essential industry continues to prosper and safely move our country forward.”

Hensley will begin her activities at ATA, including overseeing Transport Topics, on Aug. 15. Most recently she was senior vice president for public affairs and communications for the National Restaurant Association.

Hensley served as deputy assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Labor and associate administrator of the Small Business Administration during the George W. Bush administration. She also worked as communications director for Tim Hutchinson (R-Ark.), a U.S. representative then senator.

Prior to coming to Washington, Hensley was a reporter, an anchor, a news director and an associate producer at television and radio stations in her native Illinois. She has a degree from the University of Illinois and an executive education credential from Northwestern University.

She replaces Jeff Mason.

Barna has spent nearly 20 years at ATA, most recently as senior vice president of communications and public affairs. Prior to that, the Marietta (Ohio) College graduate worked for the Motor Freight Carriers Association and for the Grocery Manufacturers of America.

Among her duties, Barna is responsible for ATA’s industry communications and strategy. She also organizes ATA’s future leaders program, LEAD ATA, as well as America’s Road Team, Share the Road and Trucking Moves America Forward campaigns.

Karla Hulett was the previous COO for ATA.

Hall, who will start Sept. 3, most recently was general counsel and deputy staff director for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. She also has worked for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Federal Emergency Management Agency during the George W. Bush administration.

A graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School and the University of Arizona, Hall replaces Prasad Sharma, who left ATA in October 2015 to work for a law firm.

Sullivan will start Aug. 15 and joins ATA after serving as legislative director for Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). He previously worked for the Department of Justice, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and the organization Trout Unlimited. Sullivan, who has two degrees from the University of Tennessee, replaces Dave Osiecki.

Sullivan will lead ATA’s efforts to advance a pro-trucking, pro-safety, pro-efficiency agenda on Capitol Hill, before federal regulators, and in state capitals.

“As ATA forges this new path forward, we are lucky to have quality leaders like Elisabeth, Jennifer, Sue and Bill join our already tremendous professional staff,” ATA Chairman Pat Thomas, senior vice president for state government affairs at UPS Inc., said in a statement. “On behalf of the members of ATA, I’d like to congratulate all of them and wish them nothing but success in their new roles.”

Rebecca Brewster, president of the American Transportation Research Institute, will retain her role and report to Spear and ATRI’s board of directors.

Mason, Osiecki and Hulett were executive vice presidents appointed by Graves, and they departed the federation at the end of his ATA presidency.

Additional leadership appointments, including a chief financial officer, will be made in coming weeks as ATA continues its transition under Spear’s leadership, a federation statement said.