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Speaking Up for the Industry

TCA members get heard on issues at Call on Washington

By:  David Heller, CDS

My tenure in the trucking industry has been lengthy, to say the least. I just completed my twelfth year at the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). Yay me! That being said, in addition to my time spent at another trucking association, I have been in the industry somewhere just shy of 20 years.

In that timeframe, I have met a tremendous number of great people whose goals and aspirations have put their best foot forward for this industry in an effort to keep it driven, safe and relevant. In saying that, this past year at TCA has shown me something about its membership that the industry itself can take pride in: When presented with a challenge, our members rise to the occasion.

TCA’s roadmap to success has always been defined by our officers and refined by the needs of all our members. Last year, our leadership, supported by the board of directors and echoed by the general overall membership, took on the challenge of supporting an endeavor to tell our story. We have started down the road of advocacy, sharing the trials and tribulations of being a truckload carrier and relating that environment to the prospective rules and regulations that are in the process of being promulgated here in D.C.

It’s been a whirlwind few months at TCA, with a steady stream of events, meetings, and actions on Capitol Hill as well as the continued development of our educational programs.
On October 10, TCA members from around the country came together in Washington, D.C., for our inaugural Call on Washington. The Voice of Truckload was heard loud and clear at the TCA event, with nearly 35 members taking part in over 75 meetings with their congressional representatives and federal regulators. TCA’s staff and leadership worked hard to provide a voice on Capitol Hill, and having members in town to share their personal experiences amplified that voice.

Convening inside the Beltway does not necessarily come easy, since this was not a loosely organized event. This was a project that had finally reached its apex, focusing on such truckload issues as ELDs, productivity, sleeper berth flexibility, and much more. Our members in attendance took the opportunity to share their real life experiences and told their stories to crowds of regulators and legislators in an effort to speak as one—and they were heard. Not only has our membership embraced the decision to tell their story, they have taken the ball and run with it.
It might be easy to construe this as an everyday run-of-the-mill happening that is par for the course when, in fact, quite the opposite is true. As much as I extol the virtues of our members and their ability to speak on matters that are important to them, there is always truth to the phrase that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

While we can expound on the benefits of ELDs and the improvements that the data they generate can provide for our industry (see my September column, page 26), there is always a group that will have the other side, i.e., the competition in the advocacy world—and that’s the hard part. Telling your story is the right thing to do, but there may be others explaining the exact opposite of what you may be doing. The “he says, she says” environment certainly raises the awe factor of the very industry we work in.

When our members get involved in an effort—whether it be F4A, younger driver, or the benefits of installing truck technology—they speak in a manner that is fervent and impassioned. The drive of association membership knows no bounds, and the ability of our members to tell their story is quite an inspiring attribute.

Needless to say, it’s a very exciting time at TCA. We will continue to provide the membership experience you have come to expect from us, and we will continue to grow to meet the needs of our members on the roadway to success.

Congratulations to the members of TCA for a remarkable visit to Washington and not only telling our story, but doing so in such an impactful way.

November 2017