In his annual State of the Industry and Association Address, American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear praised the industry’s efforts to keep the country moving through the Covid-19 pandemic and continued work to address issues critical to trucking.
“Throughout this pandemic, truckers proved how we make a difference. There was no playbook. Yet our drivers are once again this industry’s most valuable players. You’re among an elite list of professionals that include scientists, first responders and healthcare providers,” Spear said. “When many in this nation sheltered in place, you maintained composure and answered the call.”
Spear said ATA’s ability to remain aligned on key issues was critical to being at the table as key decisions are being made in Washington and around the country.
“Despite playground politics, there’s reason to be optimistic. In the wake of it all, America responded… thanking truckers in every state, Congressional district and community in the country, he said. “Our image is what we make of it… it’s who we are and how we want to be perceived. We need to ride the crest of this wave, steering each challenge toward a favorable outcome.”
A singular favorable outcome Spear called out as imminent was passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill in the House.
“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is an example of what’s possible when we tell our story,” he said, calling the bill a “historic” investment not just in our roads and bridges, but in developing the industry’s future workforce.
Victories like the infrastructure bill are key to establishing ATA’s value to the industry, Spear said, but said the next step was growing the association and its influence.
“ATA is not, nor ever will be, the association of ‘No.’ We’re not complacent obstructionists. When confronting an issue, an opinion different from our own… we double down our effort to improve that outcome,” he said. “We don’t complain. And we don’t quit. And our persistence and dedication to any challenge, no matter how hard, is why we win.”
For excerpts of Spear’s speech as delivered at the ATA Management Conference and Exhibition, click here.