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March 23, 2022 1:47 PM, EDT

TCA Discusses Leadership Transition, Presents Awards at Annual Conference

TCAJim Ward speaks to attendees at the conference. (Seth Clevenger/Transport Topics)

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LAS VEGAS — The Truckload Carriers Association moved forward with its leadership transition and recognized fleets’ efforts to provide a better workplace experience for their drivers at the group’s annual conference, convened March 19-22.

Jim Ward, TCA’s current chairman, will become the association’s new president on April 1. He will succeed President John Lyboldt, who is retiring after leading TCA since December 2015.



In remarks at the conference, Ward highlighted truckload carriers’ response to the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting groundswell of appreciation for the industry.

“As challenging as COVID has been for our nation and for the industry, the way we responded was just amazing,” he said.

The general public realized that if they want bread, milk and toilet paper, “we’re the ones delivering it,” Ward said. “They started to call us essential, and the image of the industry changed dramatically. The challenge, I think, in front of us going forward, is how do we continue to grasp that and maintain that.”

Ward is CEO of trucking and logistics provider D.M. Bowman Inc. of Williamsport, Md., a position from which he will retire as soon as he moves into his new role as TCA’s president.

Incoming TCA chairman John Elliott, CEO of Load One of Taylor, Mich., led the association’s search committee for its next president.

“We came down to what turned out to be a great choice right in front of us,” Elliott said.

Looking back at his time leading TCA, Lyboldt credited the association’s members with getting engaged in industry issues and offering their input to help shape the group’s priorities, including a focus on helping truckload fleets become more profitable and retain their workforces.

“It’s been a real pleasure and a real honor,” Lyboldt said.

On the workforce development front, TCA announced on March 19 that it has signed on as an apprenticeship sponsor with the U.S. Department of Labor.

As a sponsor, TCA said it can provide member companies the ability to offer apprenticeships to job applicants. Melton Truck Lines Inc., Tyson Foods and D.M. Bowman Inc. have already joined the program, TCA said.

Major topics of conversation at TCA’s meeting included cybersecurity, the development of autonomous trucks and carrier-shipper relationships.

Technology vendors dominated the TCA exhibit hall with products ranging from truck and trailer telematics to fleet management software.

The conference also featured a keynote address by Ben Carson, a pioneering neurosurgeon, candidate for U.S. president in the 2016 Republican primaries and former secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg did not attend TCA’s conference in person, but recorded a video message for attendees.

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In his recorded remarks, Buttigieg credited the industry with elevating issues that affect truckers, from the lack of parking and access to bathrooms to concerns about compensation and unpaid driver detention time.

He said the Department of Transportation is working to help bring more people into careers in the trucking industry.

“We’ve cut red tape to make it easier for qualified drivers to get commercial driver licenses,” he said. “We’re piloting strategies to get more new entrants safely into the field. That includes more drivers of color, more veterans, 18- to 20-year-olds paired with mentors to make sure they have a safe start, and women.”

Also during the conference, TCA and sponsor CarriersEdge presented the 2022 Best Fleets to Drive For awards, which recognize for-hire carriers that provide the best workplace experiences for their drivers.

Garner Trucking Inc. of Findlay, Ohio, was named the overall winner in the small carrier category, while Challenger Motor Freight Inc. of Cambridge, Ontario, was the overall winner in the large carrier category.

TCA also introduced a new “hall of fame” for carriers that have been recognized as a Best Fleet for many years. The inductees were: Bison Transport Inc., Boyle Transportation, Central Oregon Truck Company Inc., FTC Transportation Inc., Grand Island Express, Halvor Lines Inc., Nussbaum Transportation Services Inc. and Prime Inc.

The meeting also highlighted the heroism of professional drivers.

TCA

Christopher Lloyd (center) received the 2021 Highway Angel of the Year Award. (Seth Clevenger/Transport Topics)

TCA and sponsor EpicVue presented the 2021 Highway Angel of the Year Award to Christopher Lloyd of Forest, Miss., a driver at Airline Transportation Specialists.

On his way to a FedEx hub in Nashville in November 2020, Lloyd came upon a car that had crashed into a power pole and erupted in flames. While other onlookers stood by without helping, Lloyd called 911 and used tools from his truck to extinguish the fire, gain access to the victims and save their lives.