Todd Cotier Installed as New TMC Chairman
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ORLANDO, Fla. — Todd Cotier became the newest general chairman of the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council when he was installed March 1 during a reception at Universal Studios Florida.
The event was part of the TMC Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition and served to signal the end of the conference as well a changing of the guard.
Cotier is director of maintenance at truckload carrier Hartt Transportation in Bangor, Maine. The company recently was acquired by Bison Transport and is in the process of rebranding. Cotier couldn’t become general chairman before the acquisition since his carrier wasn’t an ATA member. Bison opened that door.
“It’s an honor to serve as a TMC general chairman and treasurer,” Cotier said. “This has been a long road with many curves, detours and even a stop sign on my journey. I’ve worked for Hartt Transportation for 39 years. My company was acquired by Bison Transport of Canada 14 months ago.
Randy Obermeyer calls his tenure as TMC Chairman the highlight of his professional career. (John Somers II for Transport Topics)
“Actually, today we rebranded all our trucks to Bison USA. So, we did the whole fleet in the 24-hour period. Because of this acquisition, the full support of Bison and a few other items aligning, completed my excursion to this stage tonight.”
Outgoing Chairman Randy Obermeyer said, “Serving as your general chairman and treasurer this past year has been the highlight of my professional career. They said it would go fast, and it did. The goal was to expand our depth toward an entire industry of problem solvers, and based on the [recommended practices] that are currently being developed and the topic of root cause analysis and the attention it’s getting in the trade publications, and based off this week’s meeting theme, I would say we’ve made pretty good progress.”
Cotier noted that he has been a member of TMC for the past 25 years. He recalled how he felt overwhelmed at his first meetings and technical sessions. But he took notes and learned a lot that he was able to implement into his job.
Attendees arrive at the TMC 2023 reception at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando on March 1. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)
“I was amazed about how much of useful information there is at these meetings,” Cotier said. “Every conversation is a learning opportunity. I would sit in the back room and fill a notebook every session. When I got home, I would sort through my notes, implement new processes and procedures.
“This council has molded many into professional maintenance managers. But when you move to the front of the room and get involved at any level, that’s where the real education happens, so you need to get involved.”
Singer and former TMC Chairman Kevin Tomlinson kept the attendees entertained at the banquet and reception. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)
Cotier recalled an earlier conference held a session on how to conduct a proper pilot review. He took notes with the intent to put what he learned into action like he normally does. But he took it a step further when his carrier was preparing to buy a hundred trucks. Instead of inspecting a truck at the plant, he insisted on in inspecting every truck at the dealer before taking ownership.
“Let me tell you, as far as I’m concerned, if you’re not doing this, you have no idea what you are receiving,” Cotier said. “I wrote a full page of defects and deficiencies on every truck. I reviewed the list with the dealerships and they made the corrections, 10 trucks, 10 pages. This was the case for the first 30 trucks.”
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Cotier recalled inspecting the next group of trucks with the plant manager only to find more issues. He continued to inspect every last truck as thoroughly as possible to the amazement of the plant employees. He even asked whether some highway patrol officers could visit to do a mock roadside inspection, which the trucks failed.
“I have a very wide-open theme for this year, and it’s quality and attention to detail,” Cotier said. “I know that seems so broad. But I really feel that quality lacks in almost anything you look at. It doesn’t matter if it’s our industry or any industry.
“And I’d just like to get our industry back on track to improve our quality. … I think we need to get back to having quality as an elevated end goal.”
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