LAS VEGAS. Hundreds of fleet executives and managers are assembled this week to attend the 69th annual Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) convention. The theme, Built on Heritage, has resonated throughout the meeting, from workshops on operating a family business, to the moving speech by C. James McCormick II this morning when he accepted a TCA Past Chairman’s Award on behalf of his son, C J. “Mac” McCormick III of BestWay Express, who died last fall when he suffered a heart attack and the plane he was piloting stalled and crashed. “I love trucks, but Mac loved trucking – the people,” McCormick observed. “It is a comfort to know that he was doing everything right up to the very last moments of his life. But oh how I miss him.”
Other industry leaders were also honored this morning, including a second recipient of the Past Chairman’s Award, Donald Orr of Central Refrigerated Service and Robert McClanahan of Central Tech Truck Driver Training, who was presented with the Lee Crittenden Award, by PTDI (Professional Truck Driver Institute) chairman, Ray Haight.
2006 TCA chairman, Barry Pottle of Pottle’s Transportation, Inc. was also thanked for his service as chairman. He will be handing over the chairman’s gavel to Jim O’Neal of O&S Trucking, Inc. as the meeting concludes.
It is the future of trucking, not the past, which has held center stage during most of the meeting, however. In his keynote address today, TCA president, Chris Burruss, outlined the accomplishments of the TCA in 2006 and the issues the industry is currently addressing, including the sleeper provisions of the Hours of Service regulations, entry-level driver training, toll roads and privatization and the parking space crisis.
Among the 2006 activities and accomplishments of TCA, Burruss included the organization’s move to a new headquarters in Alexandria, VA, efforts to build stronger relationships with the state trucking associations, the participation of more than 1,000 members in the Truckload Academy audio conferences, and the shift to a new marketing approach to membership recruiting. “TCA currently has 886 members,” he reported, “and a retention rate of 98%.” Membership grew 9% in 2006.
After years of focusing on education rather than policy, Burruss also announced that the TCA is “getting more involved in policy again,” including supporting ATA’s position on several critical issues, such as Hours of Service. “It is imperative that the trucking industry find commonality as we go ahead,” he observed.
The 2008 annual conference, TCA’s 70th meeting, will be held in the Bahamas next spring.
To comment on this article, write to Wendy Leavitt at [email protected]