Photo courtesy American Trucking Assns.
The American Trucking Assns. brought two trucks to its visit with President Trump at the White House last week. One's trailer featured an American flag, while the other carried a message from the Trucking Moves America Forward program meant to emphasize the importance of trucking and truck drivers to the U.S. economy and everyday life.

Raising the profile of trucking nationally

March 29, 2017
Photos circulated widely last week of President Trump at the American Trucking Assns.' (ATA) visit to the White House. What many may not have seen — or didn't realize they were seeing — was a major ATA effort to raise the profile of trucking with the American people and motoring public.

Photos circulated widely last week of President Trump at the American Trucking Assns.' (ATA) visit to the White House. What many may not have seen — or didn't realize they were seeing — was a major ATA effort to raise the profile of trucking with the American people and motoring public.

Now three years in the running, ATA's Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF) program designs attention-getting trailer wraps intended as "moving billboards" promoting the trucking industry and the role of drivers in keeping the supply chain and economy — and everyday life — moving.

ATA COO and Exec. Vice President of Industry Affairs Elisabeth Barna. (Aaron Marsh/ Fleet Owner magazine)

"These moving billboards, as we call them, are a great educational tool for the motoring public," said Elisabeth Barna, ATA's chief operating officer and a member of the TMAF executive committee, at the Mid-America Truck Show in Louisville. "They paint a picture that truck drivers are just like you and me — moms, dads, sisters, brothers — diminishing the notion of large trucks simply taking up space on the highways and instead, demonstrating the value that trucks deliver."

She noted that at the time, ATA had sold 149 of the TMAF trailer wraps nationally and is now "well on the way to reaching a goal of 200 wraps on the road by the end of the year." Barna also unveiled a round of new trailer designs at the show. The new designs, she said, "really bring what we carry and haul on those trailers to light, and these trailer wraps show how we make an impact on everybody's everyday lives."

In addition to the trailer wraps, the TMAF program also looks to engage the media in writing about trucking and connect with the public via social and digital media and marketing campaigns. The White House meeting last week was a big step in those efforts.

At the meeting, Barna explained, ATA was able to bring two trucks. One had a trailer with a U.S. flag, "and the other truck we decided to bring was one with a TMAF trailer because we thought it was so important to showcase Trucking Moves America Forward."

A slide showing several new trailer wrap designs released by the Trucking Moves America Forward program. Click to enlarge. (Aaron Marsh/ Fleet Owner magazine)

"These two trailers were right outside the Oval Office on the South Lawn, which was a first," she added. "And one of the reasons we were excited to be at the White House wasn't just about ATA, but our entire industry. We were able to showcase what trucking is all about."

One of ATA's goals is to engage and work with President Trump and his administration on issues like infrastructure funding that affect the trucking industry, according to ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. The group also wants to emphasize trucking as an essential cog in the wheel of the U.S. economy, which the new administration is focused on growing, and see that any changes to trade agreements like NAFTA — which also clearly would affect the U.S. trucking industry and many other businesses — are made with all due consideration.

But raising the profile and awareness of trucks and trucking among the American people is also part of the plan. It's no small task, with many among the passenger car portion of the motoring public unaware of trucking's critical contributions to the economy and exposed to trucks and trucking as more of an "us vs. them" situation as they encounter and perceive them out on the road.

About the Author

Aaron Marsh

Before computerization had fully taken hold and automotive work took someone who speaks engine, Aaron grew up in Upstate New York taking cars apart and fixing and rewiring them, keeping more than a few great jalopies (classics) on the road that probably didn't deserve to be. He spent a decade inside the Beltway covering Congress and the intricacies of the health care system before a stint in local New England news, picking up awards for both pen and camera.

He wrote about you-name-it, from transportation and law and the courts to events of all kinds and telecommunications, and landed in trucking when he joined FleetOwner in July 2015. Long an editorial leader, he was a keeper of knowledge at FleetOwner ready to dive in on the technical and the topical inside and all-around trucking—and still turned a wrench or two. Or three. 

Aaron previously wrote for FleetOwner. 

Sponsored Recommendations

Reducing CSA Violations & Increasing Safety With Advanced Trailer Telematics

Keep the roads safer with advanced trailer telematics. In this whitepaper, see how you can gain insights that lead to increased safety and reduced roadside incidents—keeping drivers...

80% Fewer Towable Accidents - 10 Key Strategies

After installing grille guards on all of their Class 8 trucks, a major Midwest fleet reported they had reduced their number of towable accidents by 80% post installation – including...

Proactive Fleet Safety: A Guide to Improved Efficiency and Profitability

Each year, carriers lose around 32.6 billion vehicle hours as a result of weather-related congestion. Discover how to shift from reactive to proactive, improve efficiency, and...

Tackling the Tech Shortage: Lessons in Recruiting Talent and Reducing Turnover

Discover innovative strategies for recruiting and retaining tech talent in the trucking industry at our April 16th webinar, where experts will share insights on competitive pay...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!