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Those Who Deliver | Next Gen Executive | Highway Angels<br />

OFFICIAL PUBLICATION o f t h e Truckload Carriers Association<br />

MARCH/APRIL 2024<br />

Paved with<br />

Good<br />

Intentions | 8<br />

Guaranteeing Overtime<br />

for Truckers Act would<br />

bring unintended<br />

consequences to the<br />

industry<br />

Future<br />

Driven | 18<br />

Autonomous<br />

trucks are closer<br />

to reality but<br />

safety, economy<br />

still in question<br />


stereotypes<br />

Hillary Scholten is a driving force<br />

for trucking on Capitol Hill | 20

2 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024


See You in Nashville!<br />

As we set the stage for our annual convention in Nashville this March, we’re<br />

poised to delve into a series of impactful discussions, each designed to arm<br />

you with the essential insights and strategies necessary for steering through<br />

the challenges confronting our industry.<br />

This year, we’ll explore the nuanced strategies of carrier operations to the<br />

evolving landscape of cybersecurity and regulatory compliance. Our panels,<br />

which are comprised of esteemed leaders from both large and small carriers<br />

along with young executives and industry experts, will share insights on<br />

navigating today’s economic climate, optimizing performance, and embracing<br />

technological advancements for a sustainable future.<br />

The convention promises to be a rich source of actionable knowledge,<br />

highlighting how strategic decisions in technology, equipment, and<br />

management practices can significantly influence our environmental goals<br />

Jim Ward<br />

President<br />

Truckload Carriers Association<br />

jward@truckload.org<br />

and operational efficiency. Discussions will span the challenges of market adaptability, the importance of<br />

comprehensive policies in cell phone use and cybersecurity, and the crucial role of mentoring in leadership<br />

development. Furthermore, we’ll delve into the critical issues of driver misclassification and the broader<br />

impacts of regulatory changes on our operations, offering guidance on advocating for our industry interests.<br />

In the spirit of the insights and camaraderie we will share, I encourage all members to continue the<br />

dialogue and collaboration beyond the convention. Let’s use the momentum and knowledge gained in<br />

sessions to foster ongoing engagement within our community. The challenges and opportunities we<br />

discuss are not confined to the event; they are part of our continuous journey towards innovation<br />

and excellence in trucking.<br />

Jim Ward<br />


Lessons Learned<br />

TCA Chairman Dave Williams shares thoughts<br />

as he prepares to pass the reins to John Culp<br />

Page 22<br />

Those Who Deliver<br />

Nussbaum Transportation flourishes over the<br />

decades by always putting people first<br />

Page 28<br />

Next Gen Executives<br />

Building a cohesive team is key to success,<br />

says Northern Logistics’ Derek VanBlargan<br />

Page 30<br />


THE<br />

R<br />

O<br />

AD<br />

March/April 2024<br />


See You in Nashville! with Jim Ward | 3<br />


Political Debates | 6<br />

Paved with Good Intentions | 8<br />

Capitol Recap | 10<br />


Be Prepared | 14<br />

Pursuit of a Dream | 16<br />

Future Driven | 18<br />


Shattering Stereotypes | 20<br />


Lessons Learned with Dave Williams | 22<br />

555 E. Braddock Road<br />

Alexandria, VA 22314<br />

Phone: (703) 838-1950<br />

Fax: (703) 836-6610<br />

www.truckload.org<br />


David Williams, Senior Vice President of Equipment & Government<br />

Affairs, Knight-Swift Transportation<br />


Jim Ward<br />

jward@truckload.org<br />


Zander Gambill<br />

zgambill@truckload.org<br />


Eric Rivard<br />

erivard@truckload.org<br />


Sarah Hammons<br />

shammons@truckload.org<br />



Hunter Livesay<br />

hlivesay@truckload.org<br />


Karen Smerchek, President<br />

Veriha Trucking, Inc.<br />


Mark Seymour<br />

President/CEO<br />

Kriska Transportation Group<br />


Ed Nagle, President<br />

Nagle Toledo, Inc.<br />

Adam Blanchard, CEO<br />

Double Diamond Transport<br />

Amber Edmondson<br />

President/CEO<br />

Trailiner Corp.<br />



Dave Heller<br />

dheller@truckload.org<br />


Hailey Betham<br />

hbetham@truckload.org<br />



Amanda Pearson<br />

apearson@truckload.org<br />


Lilly Grossman<br />

lgrossman@truckload.org<br />


Amelia Rose<br />

arose@truckload.org<br />



Jon Coca<br />

President, Diamond<br />

Transportation System, Inc.<br />


John Culp, President<br />

Maverick USA, Inc.<br />


John Elliott, CEO<br />

Load One, LLC<br />

Pete Hill<br />

President<br />

Hill Brothers Transportation, Inc.<br />

Joey Hogan, Board Member<br />

Covenant Transport Services<br />

Trevor Kurtz, General Manager<br />

Brian Kurtz Trucking, LTD<br />

The viewpoints and opinions quoted in articles in this<br />

publication are not necessarily those of TCA.<br />

In exclusive partnership with:<br />

M<br />

A<br />

P<br />


Those Who Deliver<br />

with Nussbaum Transportation | 28<br />

Next Gen Executives with Derek VanBlargan | 30<br />

Your Voice Matters | 32<br />

Moving Memorial | 34<br />

The Wall That Heals | 36<br />

No Barriers | 38<br />

Everyday Heroes | 40<br />

Highway Angels | 42<br />

New Members | 46<br />

Looking Forward | 46<br />

1123 S. University, Ave., Suite 325, Little Rock, AR 72204<br />

Phone: (501) 666-0500 • www.TheTrucker.com<br />


Bobby Ralston<br />

bobbyr@thetruckermedia.com<br />


Lyndon Finney<br />

lyndonf@thetruckermedia.com<br />


Linda Garner-Bunch<br />

lindag@thetruckermedia.com<br />


John Worthen<br />

johnw@thetruckermedia.com<br />


Erica N. Guy<br />

ericag@thetruckermedia.com<br />


Cliff Abbott<br />

Dwain Hebda<br />

Kris Rutherford<br />


Christie McCluer<br />

christie.mccluer@<br />

thetruckermedia.com<br />


Meg Larcinese<br />

megl@thetruckermedia.com<br />


Megan Hicks<br />

meganh@thetruckermedia.com<br />

For advertising opportunities, contact Meg Larcinese at<br />

megl@thetruckermedia.com.<br />

© 2024 Wilshire Classifieds LLC, all rights reserved. Reproduction without written permission prohibited. The<br />

publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material. All advertisements and editorial materials are accepted<br />

and published by Truckload Authority and its exclusive partner, The Trucker Media Group, on the representation<br />

that the advertiser, its advertising company and/or the supplier of editorial materials are authorized to<br />

publish the entire contents and subject matter thereof. The publisher reserves the right to accept or reject any art<br />

from client. Such entities and/or their agents will defend, indemnify and hold Truckload Authority, Truckload Carriers<br />

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4 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024<br />


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TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 5

Government affairs<br />

Political Debates<br />

Trucking industry keeping<br />

an eye on key Congressional races<br />

By Kris Rutherford<br />

While this year’s battle for the U.S. presidency will<br />

undoubtedly claim bragging rights as the mostwatched<br />

political race, those in the trucking<br />

industry are keeping an eye on a handful of key<br />

Congressional races.<br />

Several issues are at the forefront of trucking executives’<br />

concerns. From economic uncertainties to shifting demand,<br />

labor regulations, a driver shortage, and increased fuel prices,<br />

the industry faces uncertainty as it attempts to keep supply<br />

chains flowing. In most political races this cycle, concerns<br />

of the trucking industry are not contentious issues,<br />

although many incumbents are highlighting the projects<br />

brought to their states and districts through the bipartisan<br />

Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (better known as<br />

the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, or BIL).<br />

Among the Senate races to watch, Montana tops the list,<br />

according to Missy Edwards of Missy Edwards Strategies<br />

and Richard Sullivan of State Federal Strategies. Edwards<br />

and Sullivan serve as political consultants for the Truckload<br />

Carriers Association (TCA).<br />

Montana’s three-time incumbent Sen. Jon Tester, a<br />

Democrat, faces challenges from political newcomer and<br />

former Navy Seal Tim Sheehy, a Republican, as well as a<br />

possible late run from Republican Congressman Mark<br />

Rosendale. Sheehy’s stance on transportation-related<br />

issues is unclear; however, he has stated he is committed to<br />

America’s independence when it comes to energy. Sheehy<br />

says he will seek to reverse Environmental Protection<br />

Agency (EPA) regulations that are driving up energy costs<br />

and hindering America’s energy independence.<br />

Tester, referred to by many as a champion for the trucking<br />

industry, touts his record in supporting trucker-related<br />

issues. Some of his early support for truckers included the<br />

Troops to Truckers Act in 2012, and he pressed for legislation<br />

to open the trucking industry to younger drivers. He was also<br />

among the leaders calling for the reopening of the border with<br />

Canada as the COVID-19 pandemic began to wane.<br />

More recently, he cosponsored the bipartisan Truck Parking<br />

Safety and Improvement Act, which designates $755 million<br />

over three years to develop safe parking areas for truckers.<br />

“Truckers spend long hours behind the wheel every day<br />

to make sure Montanans have the goods we need on our<br />

shelves,” Tester said. “It’s important we keep truckers safe<br />

and ensure supply chains are running smoothly to cut costs.<br />

I’m proud to have worked with folks on both sides of the<br />

aisle to improve truck parking infrastructure.”<br />

Among Tester’s major accomplishments in the Senate is<br />

his support for the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and<br />

Jobs Act, a law setting aside $1.2 trillion to improve America’s<br />

infrastructure including roads, bridges, and other transportation<br />

and communications facilities. The act also promised<br />

to create hundreds of thousands of jobs for Americans.<br />

“We’ve all seen the impact that supply chain disruptions<br />

have on consumer prices and small businesses, which is<br />

why we’ve got to make sure our truck drivers have the resources<br />

and infrastructure they need to get goods where<br />

they need to go safely and efficiently,” Tester said.<br />

Currently, Tester is the only Democrat in the Montana<br />

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6 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024

Sponsored by<br />

congressional delegation, but he is considered a moderate<br />

and has an agricultural background that resonates with<br />

many of his state’s voters. However, fellow Montana Sen.<br />

Steve Daines, a Republican, is working with Senate Leader<br />

Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to unseat Tester and claim his seat<br />

for the Republican party.<br />

In another contested Senate race, Ohio’s incumbent Sen.<br />

Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, faces opposition from two Republican<br />

candidates in a state that former President Trump<br />

won by a 53%-45% margin in 2020. Brown has supported<br />

legislation to improve roads and bridges, ensure street<br />

safety, and upgrade airports and public transit. He has been<br />

particularly involved in rail safety since Ohio’s New Palestine<br />

train derailment in February 2023 spilled toxic chemicals<br />

and caused fires that burned for days.<br />

Brown’s chief opponent is Republican Matt Dolan, a state<br />

congressman who has worked to earmark $170 million in<br />

state funding for transportation. He supported an $8 billion<br />

bill to fund construction and maintenance of Ohio’s transportation<br />

system and has pressed for legislation to protect<br />

Ohio’s natural gas and petroleum resources from taxation.<br />

Republican Bernie Moreno is also on the ballot to unseat<br />

Brown. While the 15 points noted on Moreno’s website have<br />

little to do with the transportation industry, he touts himself<br />

as “a conservative, an outsider, and an entrepreneur.”<br />

A loss by either Montana’s Tester or Ohio’s Brown could<br />

flip a seat that’s vital to control of the Senate.<br />

In the House of Representatives, pundits are calling for<br />

those in the trucking industry to keep a close eye on three<br />

races.<br />

In New York’s District 17, encompassing the southeastern<br />

area of the state just north of New York City, incumbent Rep.<br />

Mike Lawler, a Republican, is vying for a second term. Lawler<br />

quickly rose to fame in 2022 after defeating Sean Patrick<br />

Maloney, then chair of the Democratic Congressional<br />

Campaign Committee, marking the first time a congressman<br />

holding the chairmanship has lost an election in 40 years.<br />

Lawler’s opponent in District 17 is former Congressman<br />

Mondaire Jones. Jones, a Democrat, represented the Hudson<br />

Valley in 2020 and was elected by his colleagues as<br />

the youngest member of the House leadership. He also was<br />

named the most legislatively active freshman in Congress.<br />

In terms of transportation, Jones helped negotiate the Infrastructure<br />

and Jobs Act that has brought tens of millions of<br />

dollars to the district he seeks to represent. In 2022, however,<br />

Jones lost in the Democratic primary.<br />

In North Carolina’s First Congressional District, incumbent<br />

Democrat Donald Davis is running for a second term<br />

in this primarily rural district. Davis’ activity in the transportation<br />

sector included his support for the Truck Parking<br />

Safety Improvement Act. His challenger is anticipated to be<br />

Republican Sandy Smith, a self-described “unapologetically<br />

America first, pro-life, pro-gun, pro-military, freedom loving,<br />

pro-Trump fighter.” Smith, the GOP nominee the past<br />

two election cycles, supports America’s energy independence<br />

and is a staunch opponent of the “Green New Deal.”<br />

“Energy independence is critical to safeguarding our national<br />

security,” Smith said. “Closing the Keystone pipeline<br />

killed thousands of good paying jobs and weakened the<br />

United States of America’s energy standing in the world.”<br />

Finally, in America’s northwest, Oregon’s Fifth District<br />

Congressional seat is currently held by Republican Lori<br />

Chavez-DeRemer. She is seeking a second term in her district<br />

that was won by President Joe Biden by 9 points in<br />

2020. She is highlighting millions of dollars brought to her<br />

district by the Infrastructure and Jobs Act as part of her reelection<br />

campaign.<br />

The Democratic opponent expected to face off against<br />

Chavez-DeRemer is Janelle Bynum, a member of the Oregon<br />

House of Representatives. Bynum is a champion of legislation<br />

that made Oregon the “clean energy hub of America.”<br />

Many other races across America will have lasting repercussions<br />

for the transportation industry, and some of those<br />

will eventually impact supply chains, trucker safety, and the<br />

health of the industry.<br />

While TCA and the truckload industry, along with the rest<br />

of the nation, keep a close eye on numerous races, the end<br />

result remains a toss-up until the next Congress is seated.<br />

TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 7

Government affairs<br />

PAVED<br />

-With<br />

Good Intentions<br />

Guaranteeing Overtime for<br />

Truckers Act would bring<br />

unintended consequences<br />

to the industry<br />

By Cliff Abbott<br />

The November 9, 2023, introduction of simultaneous<br />

bills in the U.S. House and Senate that would repeal<br />

the section of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938<br />

excluding truck drivers from overtime pay generated<br />

considerable noise around the trucking industry.<br />

In the ensuing months, however, there hasn’t been much<br />

to make noise about.<br />

Senate Bill 3273, introduced by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA)<br />

and called the “Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers (GOT)<br />

Act, was referred to the Committee on Health, Education,<br />

Labor and Pensions, where it remains at the time of this<br />

writing. Its counterpart, House Bill 6359, was referred to the<br />

House Committee on Education and the Workforce and has<br />

seen no movement since.<br />

About the Senate bill, Padilla said, “I think it is pretty<br />

simple and straightforward, for the same reason that a lot of<br />

other workers and a lot of other industries get paid overtime<br />

for their time and their work. Truckers deserve the same,<br />

but for reasons I don’t understand, the Fair Labor Standards<br />

Act of 1938 exempted many truckers from overtime protections,<br />

including overtime compensation.”<br />

Those reasons are all too familiar to those familiar with<br />

the inner workings of the trucking industry.<br />

“The proposed overtime bill would force additional costs<br />

on the carrier and hope the carrier finds a way to pass on<br />

those costs to the shipper,” said Dave Williams, chairman<br />

of the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and senior vice<br />

president of equipment and government affairs for Knight-<br />

Swift Transportation. He calls the legislation, “a case of<br />

good intentions with unintended consequences.”<br />

Predictably, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters<br />

weighed in to support the bill. General President Sean O’Brien<br />

said, “Truck drivers have been denied overtime protections<br />

for nearly 100 years. The Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers<br />

Act rights this wrong and would end this inexcusable abuse to<br />

hundreds of thousands of drivers across the country.”<br />

While advocacy groups have made it clear where they<br />

stand, what isn’t clear is how such a law — if passed —<br />

would be implemented across the trucking industry.<br />

TCA Senior Vice President of Safety and Government Affairs<br />

David Heller expressed some thoughts on the issue. Like<br />

Williams, he is concerned about unintended consequences.<br />

“When you start looking at the unintended consequences<br />

of such a bill, the reality is going to be in today’s market,” he<br />

explained. “Does that put carriers into a situation where maybe<br />

they start monitoring those hours and keep them at 40 hours?”<br />

A reduction of driver hours would have an adverse impact<br />

on the supply chain, Heller said. “Where does the cost come<br />

from, especially in today’s freight market?” he asked.<br />

George O’Connor, director of communications and government<br />

affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association<br />

(OOIDA, says it’s a matter of fairness and safety.<br />

“In addition to basic fairness and decency, our roads are<br />

more dangerous because truckers aren’t guaranteed overtime,”<br />

he said. “The system allows shippers and receivers<br />

to excessively detain truckers at loading docks.”<br />

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8 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024

Changes in drivers’ working hours, driver pay structures,<br />

and shipping and receiving procedures would be<br />

only the beginning. The dispatch process would change<br />

as carrier operations adjust schedules from the Federal<br />

Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Hours-of-Service<br />

parameters to fit eight-hour days and 40-hour workweeks.<br />

Freight rates would have to be adjusted to reflect overtime<br />

pay, and contracts changed to alter transit times.<br />

O’Connor thinks safety would be improved if shippers<br />

and receivers paid more for detaining drivers. “The delays<br />

truckers face when waiting to be loaded or unloaded<br />

is proven to increase safety risks,” he explained. “If a<br />

truck spends just 15 minutes more than usual at a facility,<br />

it increases the accident rate by 6.2%. This results in<br />

over 6,500 more crashes per year.”<br />

But Heller, along with many in the industry, believes the<br />

unintended consequences of the GOT Act would impact<br />

safety in other ways. Limiting drivers to a 40-hour workweek<br />

would add traffic congestion to already crowded roads, increase<br />

the number of drivers looking for scarce parking<br />

spaces, and exacerbate the driver shortage, he explained.<br />

“More trucks, more drivers, and more parking,” he<br />

said. “We already don’t have enough parking spaces.”<br />

Unfortunately, the answers to these critical issues are<br />

not included in the GOT Act. When asked about the implementation<br />

of the legislation he introduced in the Senate,<br />

Padilla admitted, “This bill is not prescriptive onto<br />

how employers will be paying truckers.”<br />

The recent Department of Labor (DOL) announcement<br />

of its Final Rule on classification of independent<br />

contractors further complicates the matter. In the release<br />

announcing the ruling, Acting Secretary of Labor Julie<br />

Su said, “Misclassifying employees as independent contractors<br />

is a serious issue that deprives workers of basic<br />

rights and protections. This rule will help protect workers,<br />

especially those facing the greatest risk of exploitation,<br />

by making sure they are classified properly and that<br />

they receive the wages they’ve earned.”<br />

While the trucking industry wrestles with implementation<br />

of the new rule, it’s clear that independent contractors<br />

now classified as employees would also be subject<br />

to a change in overtime law.<br />

“The DOL ruling, or even AB5 in and of itself, is a threat<br />

to that business model that has been so rewarding, specifically<br />

in the truckload segment,” Heller explained. “The<br />

majority of our industry started because one person had<br />

a dream to own their own business, purchased a truck,<br />

and started hauling freight. It’s that American Dream that<br />

these misclassification-type rules threatens.”<br />

To be clear, those on both sides of the overtime issue<br />

want to make sure drivers are compensated fairly.<br />

“I think it’s worth noting that nobody wants to see drivers<br />

get paid more than the industry itself,” Heller said. “I<br />

think you can look at recent history and see that salaries<br />

have gone up.”<br />

As the GOT bill continues to languish in committee,<br />

its future is questionable, especially this year, with the<br />

presidential races taking the spotlight.<br />

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CAPITOL recap<br />



Stories by Cliff Abbott and John Worthen<br />

According to a January webinar presented by the Truckload Carriers Association, truck parking remains one of the top issues facing the industry.<br />

Trucking industry continues<br />

to face numerous issues in 2024<br />

It’s difficult enough to keep track of the myriad regulations<br />

that impact the trucking industry, but monitoring the status<br />

of proposed legislation and rulemakings further complicate<br />

the process.<br />

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) works to ensure<br />

its members are equipped with the knowledge needed to<br />

succeed in business while remaining in compliance with<br />

federal regulations.<br />

David Heller, TCA’s senior vice president of government<br />

affairs and safety, provides valuable information about<br />

what’s happening on Capitol Hill and explain the association’s<br />

position on each issue. To kick off 2024, Heller and the TCA<br />

team provided a January webinar outlining a few high-profile<br />

issues facing the trucking industry.<br />

The first topic covered was fatality crashes involving large<br />

trucks, which rose to 5,370 in 2021, the last year for which<br />

data is available. A total of 872 truck drivers were killed in<br />

those crashes.<br />

“It kind of gives us a walk-up call as to where we are and<br />

what we need to do when it comes to improving safety on<br />

our roadways,” Heller said, noting that the Federal Motor<br />

Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is reviewing crash<br />

data.<br />

“Five hundred fifty-five of those drivers were not wearing<br />

their seatbelt,” he added. “It’s one of those situations where<br />

certainly we need to reverse the trend and some of those<br />

talks are going on right now in D.C. as we speak.”<br />

Truck parking has been in the headlines for a while now<br />

and is widely considered one of the industry’s biggest<br />

headaches.<br />

“This is the No. 1 issue the professional truck driver has<br />

out there,” Heller said, displaying a heat map showing trucks<br />

parked in unauthorized locations, such as side streets and<br />

freeway ramps adjacent to truck stops.<br />

Another slide showed an average loss of $5,000 per driver<br />

per year due to time lost finding parking.<br />

“We’ve made some headway recently,” he said. “There is<br />

a bill on Capitol Hill, two bills actually — House Bill 2367<br />


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10 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024

CAPITOL recap<br />

New legislation would require retailers, warehouses, and other businesses to give truckers access to bathroom facilities when they are picking up<br />

cargo or making deliveries.<br />

Supporters speak out in favor<br />

of Trucker Bathroom Access Act<br />

Support for the Trucker Bathroom<br />

Access Act is growing. On February<br />

13, Reps. Brian Babin (R-TX) and<br />

Jefferson Van Drew (R-NJ) said they<br />

were on board with helping to ensure<br />

the measure passes through Congress<br />

and on to the president’s desk for final<br />

approval.<br />

The bipartisan bill, H.R.3869, would<br />

ensure truckers have access to restroom<br />

facilities when they are picking<br />

up or delivering cargo is receiving<br />

strong support from some members of<br />

the industry.<br />

The Owner-Operator Independent<br />

Drivers Association (OOIDA) said it<br />

“strongly supports” the proposal.<br />

“Over 70% of America’s freight<br />

is exclusively carried by trucks, yet<br />

every single day men and women<br />

truck drivers are forced to ‘hold it’<br />

because they aren’t allowed access<br />

to the restroom when picking up or<br />

delivering freight,” said Todd Spencer,<br />

president and CEO of OOIDA. “OOIDA<br />

and our 150,000 members thank<br />

Representatives Nehls and Houlahan<br />

for showing tremendous leadership<br />

on this issue and we look forward to<br />

working with them and our coalition<br />

partners to get this commonsense,<br />

bipartisan legislation signed into law.”<br />

Ellen Voie, founder of the Women In<br />

Trucking Association, is also lending<br />

support.<br />

“As more women enter the trucking<br />

industry, the need for restroom access<br />

increases while access to facilities has<br />

decreased,” she said. “We applaud<br />

Rep. Nehls’ support to require shippers<br />

and receivers to offer our drivers this<br />

very basic need.”<br />

Nehls said he is “proud to reintroduce<br />

legislation that supports our nation’s<br />

truckers.”<br />

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic,<br />

facilities across the country have<br />

shut down their bathrooms which<br />

have caused essential employees,<br />

like our truckers, not to have access<br />

to use the restroom at work,” Nehls<br />

added. “Truckers are this nation’s<br />

backbone, and we owe them for the<br />

tireless contributions they continue<br />

to make to keep our country moving.<br />

I am glad to once again partner with<br />

Congresswoman Houlahan on this<br />

commonsense legislation to allow our<br />

nation’s truckers access to bathrooms<br />

while they are transporting goods on<br />

the road.”<br />

The legislation would:<br />

• Require retailers, warehouses,<br />

and other businesses to give truckers<br />

access to bathroom facilities when<br />

they are picking up cargo or making<br />

deliveries.<br />

• Not require businesses to construct<br />

new restrooms. It only requires that if<br />

a business has a restroom available to<br />

their customers or employees, truckers<br />

should have the same access.<br />

• Require the operators of ports and<br />

terminals to provide bathroom access<br />

to drayage drivers.<br />

“Our economy depends on truck<br />


TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 11

CAPITOL recap<br />


and Senate Bill 1035 — that call for $755 million over three<br />

years to address the issue. Working with our lobbyists on<br />

Capitol Hill, we’re probably about five to six co-sponsors<br />

away from actually getting something moving on truck<br />

parking that would really make a difference.”<br />

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced<br />

more than $300 million to address the national truck parking<br />

crisis, so some headway is being made.<br />

Officials in Wisconsin announced in February that they<br />

are spending $8 million of those federal funds to revamp a<br />

rest stop in Sparta to add truck parking spots.<br />

This project increases truck parking capacity from 16 to<br />

approximately 70 spots, adds a staging area for oversizedoverweight<br />

vehicles and leverages technology to proactively<br />

communicate open truck parking spots to commercial<br />

drivers moving along Interstate 90 through Sparta.<br />

Other truck parking projects around the nation include:<br />

• $180 million for the Florida Department of Transportation<br />

to build more than 900 trucking parking spaces along<br />

Interstate 4 in Central Florida along four sites in Volusia,<br />

Seminole and Osceola counties.<br />

• $40 million for a project at Lehigh Valley International<br />

Airport in Pennsylvania, which will include the creation of<br />

a safe truck parking area as an alternative to the current<br />

practice of parking off-site in unauthorized locations nearby.<br />

• $12 million for the Washington State Department of<br />

Transportation to deploy a regional truck parking information<br />

management system at 54 truck parking facilities along the<br />

Interstate 5 corridor in Washington, Oregon, and California<br />

to connect truck drivers with available parking.<br />

• $92 million for the Missouri Department of Transportation<br />

to improve Interstate 70, which includes new truck parking<br />

facilities and truck parking information systems.<br />

Turning to infrastructure spending, the $110 billion<br />

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in 2021 has helped<br />

greatly, but there are still issues.<br />

“What happened between now and when the infrastructure<br />

bill passed is that there was a tremendous increase in the<br />

cost of construction and that increase rose dramatically,”<br />

Heller explained. “The funding that was passed in the<br />

infrastructure bill, doesn’t equate to 2023 prices that it cost<br />

to actually build roads and bridges.”<br />

Supply chain solutions and other trucking bills are still in<br />

the works, according to Heller.<br />

“There are several pieces of legislation that are currently<br />

being talked about on Capitol Hill,” he said. “The Highway<br />

Accident Fairness Act, which is lawsuit abuse, anything<br />

size and weight certainly has crept into the conversation,<br />

autonomous vehicle centric legislation, along with<br />

employee-driver-centered legislation like the license acts or<br />

veterans or truck driver incentive acts. There’s also an antispeed<br />

limiter bill we’re going to talk about.”<br />

Other current bills include a Motor Carrier Safety Selection<br />

Standard Act, a bathroom access bill, and the Workforce<br />

Improvement act.<br />

“The question is: Where does it go after they’re talking<br />

about it?” Heller asked.<br />

He also pointed out that the 2024 November presidential<br />

election could impact legislation as the parties maneuver for<br />

political points.<br />

The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is still an issue,<br />

as the numbers of drivers testing positive for alcohol or<br />

controlled substances and declining the return to duty<br />

process continues to grow, Heller said.<br />

“Marijuana, by far, at 57.2% is the No. 1 substance<br />

identified in these drug tests,” Heller noted. “You do have<br />

to look about where you are in the United States in terms of<br />

legalized recreational use states.”<br />

Oral fluid and hair follicle testing remain active topics. The<br />

U.S. Department of Transportation announced a rulemaking<br />

that allows oral fluid testing but as yet there are no certified<br />

laboratories to test samples. Hair testing has proven<br />

effective but has not been approved.<br />

“It’s one of those situations that we continue to talk about<br />

with the agency hoping that we get some movement in<br />

2024, getting the results of those hair tests and putting it<br />

into the Clearinghouse,” Heller said.<br />

A speed limiter rule has been in the works for some time<br />

now but has now been postponed until at least May.<br />

“A supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was<br />

supposed to come out Dec. 29, 2023,” Heller said. “It never<br />

came out.”<br />

The initial proposal received over 15,000 comments but,<br />

as yet no final ruling has been issued.<br />

Heller also covered the topics of changes to the<br />

compliance, safety and accountability program, the<br />

carrier fitness determination process, the young driver<br />

apprenticeship program, proposals for trailer side underride<br />

guards, automatic emergency braking, lawsuit abuse and<br />

electric vehicles.<br />


drivers, but we face perpetual challenges with recruitment<br />

and retention. One unique and unnecessary challenge these<br />

drivers face is lack of restroom access at delivery points<br />

while on the road. This is especially difficult for female<br />

drivers, which are a growing demographic of truckers who<br />

helped power our economic recovery from the pandemic,”<br />

said Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA). “I’m proud to<br />

reintroduce this bipartisan legislation to ensure every truck<br />

driver has the certainty that a restroom is accessible as they<br />

do their jobs. There’s no reason truckers shouldn’t have the<br />

same rights that other employees experience in their own<br />

workplaces.”<br />

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12 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024


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TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 13

Tracking the trends<br />

BE<br />


Is your fleet ready for<br />

International Roadcheck?<br />

By Cliff Abbott<br />

Even though the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s<br />

(CVSA) International Roadcheck inspection and enforcement<br />

initiative is still a couple of months away, it’s not too<br />

early to make sure your fleet is prepared to pass.<br />

The areas being highlighted for this year’s event are Driver Substance<br />

Abuse and Alcohol Possession and Vehicle Tractor Protection<br />

and Anti-Bleed Back Systems.<br />

During the CVSA’s 2023 Roadcheck, 59,429 commercial motor vehicles<br />

(CMVs) were inspected in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Vehicles<br />

included trucks of all sizes as well as motorcoaches. A total of 116,669<br />

driver or vehicle violations were identified during the 72-hour event.<br />

That’s an average of nearly two violations for each vehicle inspected.<br />

Inspectors discovered 17,479 out-of-service (OOS) violations in<br />

inspected vehicles, removing 11,270 from service until violations were<br />

corrected. Nineteen percent of the CMVs inspected had at least one<br />

OOS violation; many had multiple violations. Another 5,280 driver OOS<br />

violations were discovered, and 3,256 drivers (5.5%) were placed OOS.<br />

Hours-of-service violations accounted for 41.1% of driver OOS violations<br />

in the 2023 event. Now could be a good time for a refresher<br />

course to prevent drivers in your fleet being placed OOS this year.<br />

During this year’s Roadcheck, scheduled for May 14-16, drivers<br />

will be observed for signs of alcohol or controlled substance use and/<br />

or impairment, according to the CVSA. Vehicles will also be examined<br />

for evidence of alcohol or controlled substance possession. Additionally,<br />

for inspections conducted in the U.S., a query will be made of the<br />

driver’s record in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s<br />

Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.<br />

Carriers will want to make sure their driver records are accurate<br />

and up-to-date, and that current alcohol and controlled substance<br />

testing adheres to regulatory requirements. Since CDLs and medical<br />

certifications will also be checked, completion of the annual CDL<br />

certification process prior to the Roadcheck event might help identify<br />

issues that might be violations.<br />

14 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024

On the vehicle side, drivers will be asked to assist in the brake<br />

inspection process. One task they may be asked to perform is<br />

to remove the gladhands with the system charged to simulate<br />

an air pressure failure. Air must stop leaking from the supply<br />

line with at least 20 psi remaining. The driver will also assist in<br />

the cab by releasing the tractor and trailer protection valves and<br />

by applying service brakes as directed by the inspector.<br />

The inspector will be looking and listening for air leaks in<br />

tractor and trailer, both with brakes released and applied.<br />

Although not specified as a focus area, Level I inspections<br />

also include testing the air loss rate by requesting the driver<br />

hold down the brake pedal and measuring psi over time and<br />

testing of low-pressure warnings by pumping the brakes,<br />

bringing down air pressure until audio and visual warning<br />

devices activate. Brake adjustment is also checked.<br />

Driver communications in the two weeks prior to the<br />

Roadcheck might include a refresher on how to fully test<br />

brakes, or vehicles might be brought in for inspection by a<br />

maintenance technician. Since gladhand seals are a focus<br />

area, drivers might carry extra seals in for a quick repair if a<br />

leak is found prior to or during the inspection, especially if<br />

they frequently pick up dropped trailers.<br />

Brake systems were responsible for more than 25% of<br />

OOS vehicle violations during the 2023 event, with defective<br />

service brakes adding another 14%. Tires accounted<br />

for another 19.3% of vehicle OOS violations. An important<br />

During the CVSA’s 2023<br />

Roadcheck, 59,429 commercial<br />

motor vehicles (CMVs) were<br />

inspected in the U.S., Canada,<br />

and Mexico. Vehicles included<br />

trucks of all sizes as well as<br />

motorcoaches. A total of 116,669<br />

driver or vehicle violations were<br />

identified during the 72-hour<br />

event. That’s an average of<br />

nearly two violations for each<br />

vehicle inspected.<br />

During this year’s Roadcheck,<br />

scheduled for May 14-16, drivers<br />

will be observed for signs of<br />

alcohol or controlled substance<br />

use and/or impairment,<br />

according to the CVSA.<br />

note is that one incident of brakes that are out of adjustment<br />

can count for two violations, both of which can impact CSA<br />

scores. In addition to a brake being out of adjustment, a<br />

violation of an airbrake adjustment system that fails to compensate<br />

for wear can be assessed.<br />

During the 2023 Roadcheck, 60.6% of the inspections performed<br />

(36,021 of 59,429) were Level I, checking the driver’s<br />

operating credentials as well as the condition of the vehicle.<br />

Another 21.4% (12,741 of 59,429) were Level II inspections<br />

that included a walk-around vehicle inspection. Level III inspections,<br />

where driver credentials, HOS and DACH records<br />

are checked, comprised 15.7% of inspections performed.<br />

About 2.2% were vehicle-only Level V inspections.<br />

A goal for those who were inspected is receiving the CVSA<br />

decals indicating a passed inspection. Vehicles bearing such<br />

decals are generally overlooked for further inspections for a<br />

period of three months, unless a violation is detected or a<br />

special inspection is mandated. Last year, only 1,748 decals<br />

were awarded for tractors and another 1,133 for trailers.<br />

More information about Roadcheck 2024, including the<br />

North American Standard Roadside Inspection Vehicle Cheat<br />

Sheet, is available at cvsa.org/programs/internationalroadcheck.<br />

Also available is the North American Standard Inspection<br />

Program procedures that explains what is checked<br />

at each level of inspection, OOS requirements and more.<br />

Even though Roadcheck is an international program, each<br />

jurisdiction allocates its inspection resources to fit its own<br />

agenda. In some states, selection of vehicles might be completely<br />

random while other states might choose vehicles<br />

based on observation or a particular condition, such as<br />

Hazmat placards. Some jurisdictions might concentrate on<br />

specific geographic regions or a particular industry.<br />

Carriers that keep equipment clean and well maintained<br />

and that educate drivers on what to expect can increase their<br />

chances of coming through Roadcheck 2024 with fewer violations<br />

— and more CVSA decals.<br />

TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 15

Tracking the trends<br />

Pursuit of a<br />

Dream<br />

Fleet operators striving for<br />

lower costs, lower emissions<br />

now and in the future<br />

By Cliff Abbott<br />

The pursuit of a zero-emissions fleet of transport<br />

vehicles is relentless. Hardly a day goes by without<br />

another government push to further reduce greenhouse<br />

gas (GHG) and other pollutants from the exhaust of<br />

commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).<br />

The “solution” most commonly referenced is electric vehicles (EVs)<br />

— but, if truth be told, the technology is a long way from being viable<br />

for long-haul trucking operations. With that said, the Truckload Carriers<br />

Association (TCA) recognizes the nation’s need for zero-emissions<br />

vehicles in general but believes multiple solutions should be explored.<br />

“It’s not a question of IF we get to zero emissions, but more so<br />

WHEN we get to zero emissions,” explained David Heller, TCA’s senior<br />

vice president of safety and government affairs, during a January<br />

10 webinar.<br />

“I think our history demonstrates that we are more than willing to do<br />

our part in terms of zero-emission vehicles,” he said. “However, it can’t<br />

be rolled out tomorrow because of three magical words: Achievability<br />

in terms of the rules and technology; Affordability in terms of the equipment;<br />

and Reliability of the equipment and the infrastructure.”<br />

Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Engine Technology Forum,<br />

believes too little credit is given to the trucking industry for the<br />

progress it has made thus far in reducing emissions. What’s more,<br />

he thinks it’s possible to achieve even more reductions in harmful<br />

emissions through the industry’s current internal combustion engine<br />

(ICE) than through moving to an all-electric fleet.<br />

“When you look at the level of reduction (compared to pre-2010<br />

models), we’re talking over 98% reduction in allowable levels of<br />

particulate from heavy duty truck engines,” Schaeffer said. “And<br />

now, in 2010 and later model years, a similar amount of reduction<br />

from NOx emissions.” In fact, the forum refers to current models<br />

“near-zero emissions vehicles.”<br />

Today, the focus is more on reduction of GHG emissions than<br />

NOx or particulates.<br />

“There are tremendous opportunities for reducing carbon emissions<br />

from the existing fleet of internal combustion engines, diesel<br />

vehicles,” Schaeffer said. “One way you can do that is to start using<br />

biodiesel or renewable diesel fuel that has anywhere from 50% to<br />

85% less carbon emissions than traditional petroleum diesel. And<br />

that’s something that any diesel engine can start using today.”<br />

Another way carriers can quickly reduce GHG emissions is to accelerate<br />

the removal of pre-2007 trucks from their fleets.<br />

“The opportunity to accelerate the turnover of the existing fleet and<br />

get more new vehicles out there will go a long way,” Schaeffer said.<br />

“For owners of old equipment, (investing in newer equipment) is going<br />

to make their lives easier in terms of maintenance and safety features.”<br />

According to information on the Engine Technology Forum’s<br />

website, enginetechforum.org, it would take more than 60 of today’s<br />

modern diesel-powered heavy trucks to equal the emissions<br />

of one 1988 model. However, only 57% of registered CMVs today<br />

are 2010 model-year or newer.<br />

“There’s about 65% or so on the road today that have at least a particulate<br />

filter on them,” Schaeffer explained. “That means that there’s<br />

probably 30% of the commercial trucks out there that are pre-2007.”<br />

The Engine Technology Forum performed a study encompassing<br />

trucking in the U.S.’s 10 Northeastern states comparing the benefits<br />

of changing to an all-electric fleet of trucks to the benefits of<br />

removing pre-2007 diesel powered trucks and changing the fleet<br />

to biodiesel over a 10-year period. Schaeffer explained the results.<br />

“The highlight simply is that (this) study showed we could reduce<br />

three times more carbon emissions at 25% of the cost by accelerating<br />

the turnover of the fleet and using the low carbon renewable<br />

biodiesel fuels as compared to electrification,” he said.<br />

Ann Rundle, vice president of electrification and autonomy for<br />

ACT Research, isn’t convinced that diesel engines can be viewed as<br />

a long-term solution.<br />

“There is more renewable diesel sourcing coming into play but<br />

16 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024

the question is, where are all these sources<br />

for ‘renewable’ diesel?” she asked.<br />

Rundle pointed to the 2027 round of<br />

EPA mandated emissions standards that<br />

will add additional technology, and cost,<br />

to commercial vehicles<br />

“It’s in the neighborhood of $25,000<br />

to $30,000, especially on a Class 8 truck,<br />

to add after treatment,” she explained.<br />

“And, by the way, it will still happen if<br />

you’re burning biodiesel.”<br />

Rundle thinks ICEs may still be part of<br />

the solution — but not diesel.<br />

“If you look at renewable natural<br />

gas, you’ve even got a better story, because<br />

with renewable natural gas you’re<br />

eliminating emissions of methane and it<br />

doesn’t have to have the same extensive<br />

after treatment that biodiesel or diesel or<br />

even a hydrogen internal combustion engine<br />

would require,” she said. “So, you<br />

start to eliminate those costs.”<br />

Improved emissions from ICEs, however,<br />

may only be a temporary solution.<br />

“You’ve got technology for batteries<br />

still improving, and energy density is<br />

getting better,” she said. “Battery prices<br />

are dropping.”<br />

There may come a point when battery<br />

power is cleaner, cheaper and more reliable<br />

than ICEs, but it isn’t here yet. OEMs, however,<br />

aren’t betting on diesel for the future.<br />

“OEMs have basically said, ‘This is<br />

the last diesel engine we’re developing,’”<br />

Rundle said. “Traton has the universal, I<br />

think, 13-liter, and said that they are not<br />

going to do another ground up engine<br />

development. Daimler came out last year<br />

and said, ‘We’re not doing this either.’”<br />

Regardless of equipment age, improving<br />

a vehicle’s fuel efficiency still reduces<br />

emissions of all types while lowering fuels<br />

costs. There are also products on the market<br />

that can be used to reduce the aerodynamic<br />

drag forces against a tractor-trailer.<br />

Jeff Hunter, executive vice president<br />

of sales and marketing for FlowBelow,<br />

explained how these products can help a<br />

fleet’s bottom line.<br />

“Paramount would be the improved<br />

fuel economy. We do a really good job<br />

of controlling costs, so the ROI is pretty<br />

rapid,” he said, adding that FlowBelow<br />

products are standard on OEM tractor<br />

builds, and the company is looking to do<br />

the same for trailers.<br />

While there are many alternatives in<br />

the works for achieving zero emissions<br />

in the trucking industry, the final solution<br />

remains to be seen.<br />

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Truckload Authority 17

Tracking the trends<br />

Future Driven<br />

Autonomous trucks are closer to reality<br />

but safety, economy still in question<br />

By Cliff Abbott<br />

There is little doubt that the implementation of<br />

autonomous trucks will increase the efficiency of<br />

freight operations once the technology is widely<br />

available and legal to operate in enough areas.<br />

According to proponents, autonomous vehicles address<br />

too many issues in the trucking industry to be ignored.<br />

“I think that the supply chain crisis and the progress<br />

on the technology have convinced a lot of the key voices<br />

in the trucking industry that this technology is here and<br />

more to the point, this technology is really necessary,” said<br />

Dan Goff, director of external affairs at Kodiak Robotics.<br />

“There’s really nothing else coming down the pike that can<br />

solve some of the issues that the trucking industry faces,<br />

particularly around driver recruiting and retention.”<br />

Ann Rundle, vice president of electrification and autonomy<br />

for ACT Research, points to the overall industry<br />

efficiency that can be afforded by automation.<br />

“You would never have a factory designed to run one<br />

shift, right? A Class A tractor is just that,” she explained. “It<br />

is a factory, and it’s running one shift. But what if you could<br />

have that factory, i.e., that truck, running three shifts?”<br />

Carriers and truck makers have partnered with autonomous<br />

truck developers to bring the technology to<br />

real-world applications, hauling freight in several Southern<br />

states under the watchful eye of drivers who, while capable<br />

of taking control as needed, also provide valuable feedback<br />

about vehicle performance to developers.<br />

The past year, however, has seen the falling away of<br />

some key players in the race to integrate autonomy in the<br />

trucking industry. Pittsburgh-based Locomation laid off its<br />

workforce and shuttered operations. San Francisco-based<br />

Embark Trucks was acquired by Applied Intuition. Google’s<br />

WAYMO ceased its autonomous truck program in July.<br />

Also last year, TuSimple announced it was ceasing its<br />

U.S. based operations to focus on its China structure. The<br />

company is currently under investigation by the FBI and<br />

the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for its failure<br />

to disclose ties with Hydron, a Chinese tech company.<br />

However, there are other autonomous truck developers<br />

still going strong — Kodiak Robotics, Aurora and its<br />

partnership with Continental and Torc Robotics, along with<br />

Volvo Autonomous Solutions.<br />

“I think 2024 is really gonna be the key year,” Goff said.<br />

“I think this year is the first year where we’re going to see<br />

some kind of real driverless trucking happening on the<br />

road. It’s going to be limited, but I think this is the year<br />

that we really show that this is going to happen.”<br />

As the technology gets closer to widespread use, legislators<br />

are weighing in on the operation of autonomous<br />

vehicles, particularly commercial trucks, within the boundaries<br />

of their jurisdictions.<br />

“People are worried about a heavy truck without a driver,<br />

run by a computer,” Rundle said. “They’re more worried<br />

about that than about the driver who is distracted or<br />

drowsy or whatever. They’re more worried about no driver<br />

than a driver that shouldn’t be driving.”<br />

In Indiana, Senate Bill 57 would require that a human operator<br />

licensed to operate an autonomous vehicle be physically<br />

present and able to take control, if necessary. In New<br />

York, Senate Bill S.7758 would require a “natural person<br />

holding a valid license” be present inside an automated commercial<br />

vehicle. The California legislature passed Assembly<br />

Bill 316, requiring human operators in commercial vehicles,<br />

only to see it vetoed at the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom.<br />

18 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024

While safety is often cited as a reason for demanding the<br />

presence of qualified drivers in autonomous trucks, other<br />

motives are often in play. The International Brotherhood of<br />

Teamsters, for example, has a vested interest in legal mandates<br />

for employees they can organize. Some legislators<br />

have talked of preserving jobs and saving communities.<br />

But, just as safety is currently an argument used against<br />

driverless trucks, safety will also be an argument used to<br />

make them mainstream.<br />

“(The autonomous system is) looking 360, and it’s looking<br />

forward,” Rundle explained. “It’s actually able to see better<br />

than any good truck driver would and then also, there is<br />

no such thing as a blind spot anymore, right?”<br />

Even the best of drivers can’t concentrate on the view<br />

ahead, behind and along both sides plus gauges all at the<br />

same time, she noted. “But a computer CAN do that, because<br />

the computer is five different sets of eyes,” she said.<br />

The drawback to autonomous technology, according to<br />

Goff, has been redundancy.<br />

“You basically have a set of computers talking to a set of<br />

actuators,” he explained. “Those actuators are pretty reliable<br />

— but nothing in life is 100% reliable, and it’s a lot of risk to<br />

put responsibility for an 80,000-pound truck on say, a single<br />

steering actuator.”<br />

Without a driver present to override the system, redundancy<br />

provides autonomous equipment with a failsafe that<br />

prevents accidents.<br />

“Last week, we actually were the first company to unveil a<br />

fully redundant driverless ready hardware,” Goff told Truckload<br />

Authority in late January. “That’s going to be the platform that<br />

we use for our first driverless runs later this year, and that’s<br />

really one of the prerequisites to driverless operations at scale.”<br />

At ACT Research, Rundle’s team monitors the progress<br />

of autonomous trucking technology and has forecasted its<br />

acceptance in the trucking industry.<br />

“In our forecast, we looked primarily at Class A tractors,<br />

we looked a little bit medium duty,” she said. “We see it<br />

coming as a very measured deployment, starting in Texas<br />

and then moving out where regulations allow.”<br />

The ACT team predicts that 10% to 14% of the tractor<br />

population will be driverless by the year 2040. Forecasts will<br />

change, of course, with further technology development and<br />

new regulations put in place, and forecasters will be revising<br />

predictions accordingly. Rundle pointed out that some<br />

segments of trucking that require driver attendance, such as<br />

flatbed and livestock, may never be automated.<br />

Goff remains committed to progress.<br />

“We need this technology. We do not have enough people<br />

to keep our supply chains moving,” he said. “Your readers<br />

are well aware that the driver shortage is real — it’s growing.<br />

It’s a massive economic threat.”<br />

While many newer tractors are equipped with autonomous<br />

features, such as lane-departure alerts, automatic<br />

emergency braking, and more, the widespread use of completely<br />

autonomous rigs remains on the horizon.<br />

TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 19


Shattering Stereotypes<br />

Hillary Scholten is a driving force<br />

for trucking on Capitol Hill<br />

By Dwain Hebda<br />

In some ways, U.S. Rep. Hillary J. Scholten (D-MI) is the<br />

exact opposite of a legislator you’d expect to champion<br />

the trucking industry. Her peerage as a Department of<br />

Justice attorney and first-term Democrat don’t exactly<br />

align with the blue-collar, working-class, and generally<br />

conservative trucking industry.<br />

In all the ways that count, however, Scholten is exactly the<br />

type of ally the industry needs most on Capitol Hill.<br />

Describing herself as an advocate for her constituents —<br />

many of whom make their living behind the wheel and under<br />

the hood — the plain-spoken representative told Truckload<br />

Authority that she’s translated her affinity for trucking in her<br />

home state to a wider national agenda.<br />

“Michigan put the world on wheels, and we are continuing<br />

to move it forward,” she said. “A large part of that is<br />

not only the invention and manufacturing of the automobile<br />

itself, but the trucking industry.<br />

“We have a lot of trucking in my district,” she continued.<br />

“We’ve got trucking across the state that not only moves<br />

those great auto parts across the country, but so many other<br />

goods as well. You can’t grow up in a place like Michigan<br />

and not be exposed to the trucking industry.”<br />

Scholten says her understanding of the importance of<br />

transportation and infrastructure issues is what led her to<br />

seek a seat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure<br />

Committee. That role led to an appearance as a speaker during<br />

the Truckload Carriers Association’s Call on Washington<br />

last fall, where she brought down the house.<br />

“There are major issues facing the trucking industry right<br />

now, from lack of available parking spaces to driver-aided<br />

technology, autonomous vehicle technology, that is developing<br />

without the appropriate oversight from Congress,”<br />

she said. “These are nonpartisan issues that require bipartisan<br />

solutions — for people to work together. From my perspective,<br />

even though I’m a Democrat, these are not issues<br />

that only face Democrats.<br />

“We don’t have people coming together to talk about the<br />

issues as much as we should in this country,” she said. “Far<br />

too often, we see people retreat to their various corners instead<br />

of coming together to just make government work for<br />

people and industries.”<br />

In short, what’s needed is the ability to see past party lines<br />

for the betterment of the industry.<br />

“That is what we need more of in Washington,” she said.<br />

20 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024

“Our truckers are counting on it, people are counting on it,<br />

and the future and safety of the trucking industry is dependent<br />

on it.”<br />

A look at Scholten’s background suggests she’s not unfamiliar<br />

with standing apart from the norm. The first woman<br />

and mother ever to represent Michigan’s Third District in<br />

Congress, she says one of the toughest debates she ever<br />

faced was in her own household over her party affiliation.<br />

“I was not born and raised in a Democratic household. I think<br />

one of the things that really resonated with people is my ability<br />

to connect with people on both sides of the aisle,” she said.<br />

“It’s not just a talking point or something that I feel like I<br />

have to do for political reasons. It’s personal,” she continued.<br />

“I had to have a very real come-to-Jesus talk with my<br />

father when I chose to run as a Democrat.”<br />

Since arriving on Capitol Hill, Scholten has pushed legislation<br />

on behalf of the trucking industry — only to discover, like<br />

many before her, how leaden the wheels of lawmaking can be.<br />

“We passed HR 2367, the Truck Parking Improvement<br />

Act, out of the T&I Committee, (which is) overwhelmingly<br />

bipartisan,” she said. “But when it comes to the larger<br />

House, the House has refused to take it up for a vote.”<br />

She believes that if the bill could be put on suspension<br />

— a mechanism where a bill doesn’t go through for amendments<br />

that can often politicize a bipartisan bill and requires<br />

a two-thirds vote to pass — it would pass.<br />

“But they’re not bringing it to the floor,” she said. “Instead,<br />

we’re having impeachment hearings and voting on<br />

whether to impeach or censure a political rival. Both sides<br />

are doing that — Democrats and Republicans.”<br />

Asked if such situations come as a result of ignorance on<br />

the part of fellow lawmakers about the importance of the<br />

trucking industry, Scholten didn’t go that far.<br />

“One of the things that gives me a lot of hope is that the<br />

issues around the trucking industry — issues around transportation,<br />

more generally — are incredibly bipartisan,” she<br />

said. “I think a lot of that comes from recognizing that this is<br />

an essential issue that impacts every area of our lives.<br />

“But what I don’t think they understand is the urgency,”<br />

she continued. “When a restaurant is waiting for their fresh<br />

vegetables every day, they don’t care how many censure<br />

resolutions Congress has brought; they care about whether<br />

the trucks can park where they need to park.”<br />

Scholten says that while she continues to work to bring<br />

the parking bill to the light of day, she’s also delved into the<br />

problem of workforce shortages.<br />

“One of the very first bills that I cosponsored, a bipartisan<br />

bill with one of my fellow Republicans on T&I, Marc Molinaro,<br />

is the Honoring Vocational Education Act,” she said.<br />

“The bill changes the way the United States Census tracks<br />

higher education. Currently, you can only check that box if<br />

you are getting a four-year college degree.”<br />

Currently, she says, the Census Bureau has no category<br />

under educational attainment for apprenticeships, technical<br />

certifications, and other skilled trades. Scholten wants to<br />

change that.<br />

“The more we continue to track and understand the wonderful<br />

benefits of this type of education in our community,<br />

I think we start to change the culture around that and get<br />

folks to consider all of the benefits of a career in industry,<br />

like trucking,” she said.<br />

Above all else, Scholten said, she wants bipartisan cooperation<br />

to help move such solutions through the legislative<br />

process as quickly as possible.<br />

“I think the way we push past a lot of the dysfunction is by<br />

being a part of the solution ourselves,” she explained. “It’s<br />

far too easy to throw your hands up and just do an angry<br />

Tweet. It’s much harder, but much more essential that we<br />

have people willing to put all that aside and just get down to<br />

work to solve problems.”<br />

TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 21


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22 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024

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Lessons Learned<br />

Foreword and Interview by Linda Garner-Bunch<br />

When Dave Williams stepped into the role of chairman of the<br />

Truckload Carriers Association last year, he immediately set to<br />

work addressing issues faced by the industry and amplifying<br />

the voice of truckload on Capitol Hill. Over the past 12 months,<br />

he has worked to increase TCA members’ involvement in the<br />

creation of policies impacting the industry at both the federal<br />

and state levels. He is now preparing to pass the reins to TCA’s<br />

next chairman during Truckload 2024: Nashville in March.<br />

Recently, we had a chance visit with Williams about his tenure as<br />

chairman. During the conversation, he was quick say he believes<br />

it’s more important to look back at lessons learned than to point<br />

out achievements. Read on as Williams shares words of wisdom,<br />

along with his hopes and goals for the future of trucking.<br />

u Mr. Chairman, thank you for joining us for the<br />

last of your Chat with the Chairman interviews. As<br />

usual, it has been an eventful year for the trucking<br />

industry. What stands out most in your mind?<br />

There have been a considerable number of good and<br />

positive things that stand out in my mind over the past<br />

year. It has truly been an honor to represent the TCA and<br />

its members. I am really excited about the direction we are<br />

headed as an association.<br />

Maybe it’s a flaw of mine, but when I reflect on the<br />

past, I tend to gravitate toward lessons learned rather than<br />

celebrating accomplishments. One of the things that stands<br />

out in my mind this past year is how difficult an industry<br />

that this can be. Over the past year, we have endured — and<br />

are still enduring — one of the most challenging truckload<br />

cycles that we have ever experienced. We went from the<br />

highest of highs to some very tough trucking. We saw<br />

general rates drop to pre-pandemic levels while costs in<br />

just about every area went through the roof. Some fleets<br />

prepared for this difficult cycle by building a strong balance<br />

sheet while others found ways to insulate and differentiate<br />

their service offerings to survive the storm. I am hopeful we<br />

will see some daylight at the end of this tunnel sometime<br />

soon.<br />

I think this just highlights how important it is for<br />

companies to be actively engaged members of the TCA.<br />

This is the place to learn and implement best practices<br />

by interacting with other fleets and experts. This is also<br />

the place to understand and take action on what needs to<br />

be done to ensure the long-term financial viability of our<br />

industry.<br />

SEE CHAT, PAGE 24<br />

TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 23


From left: TCA President Jim Ward, Chairman Dave Williams, and immediate Past Chairman John Elliott enjoy a game of golf.<br />

We are working toward<br />

improving the driving<br />

job, improving highway safety,<br />

helping fleets become more<br />

financially sustainable, charting<br />

an appropriate environmental<br />

course, and improving the<br />

image of this industry.”<br />

— Dave Williams<br />

TCA Chairman<br />

CHAT, FROM PAGE 23<br />

u It’s also been a busy 12 months for TCA. What growth have<br />

you noticed in the association during your chairmanship?<br />

There is a statement I’ve heard from one of my mentors on many<br />

occasions: “I am not here to make you happy; I am here to help you<br />

succeed.” Associations can sometimes get caught up in chasing a lot of<br />

the activities they think members might enjoy. While there’s nothing wrong<br />

with having a good time, I don’t think that’s why our members join TCA. At<br />

the end of the day, we have an obligation to help our members survive —<br />

and then thrive. That is where we create value. This doesn’t mean we won’t<br />

continue to provide many of the fun things that associations can provide,<br />

including important networking opportunities. It means that our focus<br />

has shifted toward elevating activities that bring genuine business value,<br />

such as timely information sharing, real-world education that results in<br />

better business decisions, industry-leading benchmarking opportunities,<br />

effective government advocacy, and access to a variety of industry experts,<br />

to name a few. We have always provided these things at some level, but we<br />

are really stepping up our game in strengthening each of these important<br />

areas. We are focusing our energy on activities that pay valuable dividends<br />

and show up in the actual results for our members. I really believe we are<br />

making significant progress here. We have a tremendous opportunity to<br />

really do some good, and it’s starting to show. Very exciting!<br />

u TCA has a mission to give the truckload segment a clear voice<br />

on Capitol Hill. What topics have been the main focus of that<br />

voice during the past year, and what progress have you seen?<br />

Giving the truckload industry a voice on Capitol Hill is a process that<br />

started several years ago and has been building every year. For many of<br />

our larger fleets, the function of government advocacy is the most valuable<br />

benefit of being part of an association, whether it’s at the state level or<br />

the national level. During the first few years of Capitol Hill visits with the<br />

TCA, we had to spend a good amount of time familiarizing members of<br />

Congress and the Federal Regulatory Agencies with the TCA. There was<br />

not a general knowledge about TCA because we had not actively lobbied<br />

for several decades. Now they know who we are. They are asking for our<br />

input on issues. They are listening to our concerns. I am really grateful for<br />

the TCA members and staff who have invested time and resources to put<br />

us in this position. We will continue to build on this and create more value<br />

for the industry.<br />

We have also been consciously moving away from having to play<br />

defense all the time. For much of my career, every year felt like a superhero<br />

movie. Most of our efforts went into getting the industry all worked up<br />

about bad ideas coming out of Washington that might lead to the “end of<br />

the world” for our industry. If we defeated a bad idea, it was considered a<br />

great success. However, that was only half of the equation. We needed to<br />

develop a different approach, and we did. This past year, we furthered that<br />

effort by articulating a focused understanding of what we’re actually trying<br />

to accomplish. Specifically, we are working toward improving the driving<br />

job, improving highway safety, helping fleets become more financially<br />

sustainable, charting an appropriate environmental course, and improving<br />

the image of this industry. This has given us a foundation to start playing<br />

more offense and push for ideas and legislation that will help us to become<br />

a stronger industry. It is a different mindset that I believe will continue to<br />

change the way we operate from an advocacy perspective.<br />

u During our first conversation last March, when you assumed<br />

chairmanship of TCA, you were asked to share your thoughts<br />

on the most important issue facing trucking. At that time, you<br />

expressed a desire for the industry to move from “survival mode”<br />

into a pattern of growth and success, with leaders looking ahead<br />

to address and overcome challenges. How has the industry<br />

progressed since then?<br />

In short, we still have a lot of work to do. If anything, we have fallen into<br />

a deeper downcycle over the past 12 months. The inevitable result of that<br />

will be many fleet bankruptcies. It’s a cruel market.<br />

But this also highlights the need to really understand how various<br />

policies impact our industry. One of the most basic principles our industry<br />

has a really hard time grasping is the economic law of supply and demand.<br />

Even if demand remains constant, when supply increases then prices fall.<br />

When supply decreases then prices rise. It’s very simple. We saw that play<br />

out through the pandemic and after the pandemic. We’ve seen this play out<br />

every couple of years for the last three-plus decades.<br />

Supply in this case is a form of tractor capacity. That capacity can be<br />

impacted by a number of factors, including the availability of tractors, the<br />

availability of drivers, the availability of hours of service, and equipment<br />

size and weight, to name a few. Ideally, cycles would be caused by demand<br />

— meaning how much freight needs to be moved in a time period based<br />

on consumer buying, manufacturing output, business investment, etc. But<br />

through time, it seems the majority of truckload cycles (especially this<br />

SEE CHAT, PAGE 26<br />

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TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 25


Trucking is not a Republican<br />

or a Democrat priority; it is<br />

an American priority. Trucking is<br />

critical to the continued economic<br />

success of this country.”<br />

— Dave Williams<br />

TCA Chairman<br />

CHAT, FROM PAGE 24<br />

one) are primarily driven on the supply side — the side we have the most<br />

impact on. When things get really good, the industry’s “eyes” tend to get<br />

bigger than those of a football player at an all-you-can-eat buffet line, and<br />

it organically grows, leading to an overbuy of tractors.<br />

On top of that, there are groups within the industry that often push for<br />

policies that compound the issue. Examples of this might include:<br />

• More hours-of-service or hours-of-service flexibility. This is a doubled<br />

edged sword. We want to help our drivers out, but are we exchanging<br />

more work for less pay?<br />

• Lowering the barriers to entry. Programs like the younger driver<br />

program can actually hurt the pay of a veteran driver by not allowing the<br />

full impact of supply and demand to run its course.<br />

• Higher weight or length limits. More often than not, the efficiencies<br />

gained through size and weight are not fully compensated through the<br />

truckload market, especially when that efficiency becomes the norm.<br />

So, while many of these things feel good in the short term — especially<br />

when things are tough — they can actually be quite harmful in the long<br />

term. As long as the greater portion of the industry remains in survival<br />

mode, we will continue to think short-term and struggle to make longterm<br />

progress. When you look at the LTL industry, it’s an industry that<br />

has generally figured this out. Among the public LTL companies and their<br />

truckload counterparts, the LTL companies have substantially higher priceto-earnings<br />

ratios (meaning that they are worth more even if they are the<br />

same size). The LTL rate environment is also much more stable and less<br />

susceptible to volatile cycles. It’s as clear as day, but we keep making<br />

the same mistakes. Hopefully, at some point, our industry will begin to<br />

understand the correlations.<br />

u As political parties and candidates move into high gear during<br />

this presidential election year, how do you see political agendas<br />

impacting the trucking industry?<br />

Despite all the bipartisan battles and all the bickering that occurs, the<br />

structure of the government in this country is really a beautiful thing.<br />

Checks and balances are a beautiful thing. Sometimes those checks and<br />

balances work for you and sometimes they work against you, but in the<br />

end everything should even out.<br />

What has really changed in my opinion over the past decade or so is<br />

the increasing role of presidential executive orders and activist regulatory<br />

agencies. These shifts have placed a greater emphasis on the influence<br />

of the White House. In the grand scheme of things, I strongly believe<br />

TCA supports numerous outreach efforts in North America, including Wreaths Across America.<br />

Chairman Dave Williams’ company, Knight-Swift Transportation, is one of many member carriers<br />

that helps deliver wreaths to veterans’ cemetery each year.<br />

Congress should make the rules and the agencies should enforce the rules.<br />

A balanced government usually results in a better government. We are<br />

seeing the impact from these executive orders and agency moves more<br />

and more in the areas of environmental and labor law. This is where nearterm<br />

elections will likely play the biggest role. Outside of environment and<br />

labor, the other significant area to watch is tax policy.<br />

I don’t think it is our place as an association to align ourselves with a<br />

certain party — but we can align with candidates who will help preserve<br />

our ability to operate our businesses successfully. The most direct<br />

impact an individual can make is through their vote. But there are also<br />

opportunities to educate and advocate. Trucking is not a Republican or<br />

a Democrat priority; it is an American priority. Trucking is critical to the<br />

continued economic success of this country. We need to keep reminding<br />

our elected officials of that.<br />

u The race to achieve zero emissions in every sector, including<br />

trucking, is always a topic of hot debate. In a sea of changing<br />

legislation, regulations, and deadlines, what would you point to<br />

as the most important piece of information for motor carriers?<br />

This has been a very confusing journey for fleets. Regional rules, state<br />

rules, and national rules with different requirements and timelines have<br />

created a jumbled mess. To make things even more challenging, some of<br />

the regional and state rules in California have not followed the requirements<br />

of the Clean Air Act, which gives the industry adequate time to prepare for<br />

compliance. In the case of California, changes and tweaks to the rules are<br />

being made right up until the deadline for compliance. This has been a<br />

source of great frustration for the industry.<br />

The most important thing a motor carrier can do is stay informed. This<br />

is a difficult task, especially for smaller carriers that don’t have the extra<br />

resources. But you cannot claim you didn’t know — that is not a good<br />

strategy. The federal rules are generally easier to follow and typically only<br />

apply to new equipment going forward.<br />

Many of the California rules are much more complex and have some<br />

element that applies to existing fleets. In California, there are several rules<br />

that were implemented on January 1, 2024 (i.e., the Advanced Clean Fleet<br />

Rule, the Drayage registry changes, the Transport Refrigeration Unit Rule,<br />

and the new warehouse rule to name a few) that require some sort of<br />

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26 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024

eporting requirement fleets must file with the state. If you are unsure<br />

whether you need to report, I would err on the side of caution. In some<br />

cases, the California rules then progress towards prohibiting certain types<br />

or age bands of equipment from operating in the state. As other states<br />

consider implementing various portions of the California rules, it creates<br />

nothing but confusion.<br />

As an association we have called upon the EPA to stand up and lead.<br />

We do not need a new rule every time you cross a state line. We need a<br />

national standard that allows for the efficient flow of interstate commerce.<br />

Whether the federal government has the means or the will to accomplish<br />

that will remain to be seen.<br />

u As work continues on the accuracy and safety of autonomous<br />

systems, from basic driver-assistance software to self-driving<br />

trucks, how do you see this technology impacting motor carriers?<br />

There have been some really interesting advancements in the world of<br />

equipment technology taking place over the past eight or 10 years. While<br />

progress has not materialized for autonomous truck developers as many<br />

had thought, we have learned some valuable lessons and insights. To truly<br />

implement autonomous technology, I believe a few things need to happen:<br />

• Developers need to create greater technical stability — creating more<br />

durable sensors that can survive harsh environments, making the software<br />

systems more robust, etc.<br />

• Developers need to expand the functional capabilities of the<br />

technology. Ramp-to-ramp or hub-to-hub technology in the truckload<br />

sector leaves a lot to be desired. The drayage moves required at both ends<br />

of the move make it very difficult operationally. Door-to-door functionality<br />

is really what needs to happen in order to create value for our industry.<br />

• Developers need to achieve some sort of regulatory and societal<br />

acceptance of autonomous tech in large trucks. Legislation proposed<br />

in California, New York, and Indiana to ban this technology is an early<br />

indication this is not going to be easy.<br />

• Developers need to create an economic model that is sustainable for<br />

themselves and for fleets. That is an entire conversation in and of itself.<br />

In the meantime, what I see the biggest benefit from this whole<br />

experience is the potential of implementing various portions of the<br />

technology in today’s trucks to help our drivers. We can use lane-centering<br />

technology today to improve safety and reduce fatigue. We can use the<br />

learnings from the additional sensors and computer logic to improve the<br />

accident mitigation or active braking systems. Part of this will require<br />

developers to invest some time in scaling down their vision of driverless<br />

trucks and focusing on what we can do today for our drivers. Overcoming<br />

the four issues I listed above is not insurmountable, but it will take time —<br />

and a lot more financial investment. With many of the developers running<br />

out of funding, we hope to salvage the lessons learned so far and put a<br />

portion of that technology to work.<br />

u Of course, a shortage of safe, available truck parking remains<br />

a concern for both drivers and carriers. During last fall’s annual<br />

Call on Washington, TCA members and staff gained additional<br />

sponsors in the House and Senate for the Truck Parking<br />

Improvement Act bills. Currently, TCA is helping legislators<br />

identify closed rest areas across the U.S. (turn to Page 32 for<br />

details). What are other steps motor carriers can take to help<br />

effect change?<br />

Recently the U.S. Department of Transportation announced $292<br />

million in grants to go toward truck parking. This is a win for the industry,<br />

and confirmation that our efforts are making a difference. We have much<br />

more to accomplish though, as these grants are concentrated in only a half<br />

dozen states, with some of the money going towards information systems<br />

rather than additional capacity.<br />

Dave Williams addresses attendees during the Truckload Carriers Association’s 2023 annual<br />

convention, held in Orlando last March.<br />

We also need to recognize that this issue is more complex than just<br />

getting federal funds. We need to convince state, regional, and local<br />

planners to take truck parking into consideration when planning the future.<br />

We will never catch up if we’re constantly building new projects without<br />

consideration of truck parking.<br />

As an example, one of the big challenges comes in the building of new<br />

warehouse space. Most of these projects are built on a plot of land that<br />

maximizes the footprint of the warehouse. Then, many of these builders will<br />

post “No Truck Parking” signs on the streets surrounding the warehouse.<br />

This shifts the burden of the impact of that building onto the truck driver<br />

and the surrounding community as the driver tries to find a place to park<br />

until the delivery appointment. It’s not right. Every warehouse should have<br />

an obligation to accommodate the impact of its existence by providing some<br />

amount of on-site truck parking. That can be done locally or regionally<br />

through zoning laws. That is going to require us to engage local lawmakers<br />

— which will require our members to build support in their communities.<br />

TCA has also been working to gather information on shuttered rest<br />

stops across the country. As an industry, we can put pressure on the<br />

states and counties that operate these rest stops to open them and provide<br />

immediate relief. This is an issue with many layers. There is a lot to be<br />

done, and this will require all of our best efforts.<br />

u Traditionally, we ask the outgoing chairman to give advice to<br />

the incoming chairman each year. What would be your advice to<br />

John Culp of Maverick Transportation, who will soon be stepping<br />

into your shoes?<br />

I am really excited for our incoming chairman. John Culp is an extremely<br />

capable leader and has my full support. I consider John a friend and am<br />

looking forward to seeing him continue to influence the direction of the<br />

TCA. If anything, I would seek advice from him rather than the other way<br />

around. If he ever needs my help, I will always be there for him.<br />

u Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It has truly been a pleasure<br />

working with you over the past 12 months.<br />

TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 27


Those Who Deliver<br />

with Nussbaum Transportation<br />

By Dwain Hebda<br />

It’s not a particularly novel thing for a company executive to<br />

say investing in people is their company’s primary strategy<br />

for success — but relatively few back up those platitudes<br />

with real action.<br />

That’s not the case at Illinois-based Nussbaum Transportation.<br />

This company has earned a reputation for putting serving<br />

people at the top of the company’s priorities both internally and<br />

externally.<br />

“I don’t want to sound cliché when I say this, but our focus<br />

is really on people, and it shows,” said Brent Nussbaum, second-generation<br />

CEO. “I think if you focus your attention on your<br />

people, your people take care of your customers — and your<br />

customers recognize that, and they bring you more business.”<br />

Nussbaum, who took over as CEO in 2000, says keeping people<br />

foremost in the running of the business has paid off on several important<br />

metrics, not all of which show up directly on a balance sheet.<br />

The company’s turnover rate is low, and morale is high, in part<br />

due to the lengths management goes to communicate regularly<br />

and effectively with the front lines. That behavior is in turn modeled<br />

by employees to the outside world.<br />

“Constant communication with your customer sounds fairly normal,<br />

but you have to evolve your driver into that role,” Nussbaum<br />

said. “You can’t just say, ‘Our people in operations take care of that.’<br />

“Our drivers need to feel like they’re a part of that process,” he explained.<br />

“One of the ways that we keep our people informed — and<br />

this drives everything else — is presence. Every quarter, we’re sharing<br />

our finances with all of our employees, including our drivers.”<br />

Nussbaum encourages employees at all levels to ask questions<br />

and provide valuable feedback.<br />

“We do what we call ‘Dashboard Radio,’” he said. “Every two<br />

weeks, we’ve got a Dashboard Radio program. It might involve<br />

somebody in operations, somebody in maintenance, somebody<br />

in human resources or safety, somebody in recruiting.”<br />

These programs do more than just provide information.<br />

“Drivers are allowed to call in, if they’re sitting still, and be<br />

a part of the conversation and ask questions,” Nussbaum explained.<br />

“That keeps them informed. I’m convinced that an informed<br />

driver wants to do better for their employer.”<br />

This kind of all-for-one buy-in has helped the 79-year-old company<br />

remain nimble in changing times, one of the most existential<br />

examples of which happened when Nussbaum took the reins.<br />

“We grew up in LTL. Up until 2001, LTL was two-thirds of our<br />

business, and the other third was full truckload,” he said. “We<br />

recognized the market was shifting away from LTL toward full<br />

truckload as big-box stores were coming into play back in the late<br />

’90s. When they ordered, they ordered in truckload quantities.<br />

“The one thing that we were always really good at was servicing<br />

our customers on the LTL side — but we realized we couldn’t<br />

survive long-term as a niche LTL carrier,” he continued. “So, we<br />

exited LTL in 2001, downsized the fleet, started over again with a<br />

small truckload fleet, and grew it. Along the way, instead of just<br />

hauling irregular route loads, we began dedicated operations. Today,<br />

about a third of our business is dedicated and a third of our<br />

business is irregular route.”<br />

During the strategy’s build-back phase, company leadership<br />

spotted opportunities that fell between LTL and truckload categories.<br />

They capitalized on those opportunities using logistical<br />

innovation and creative strategy.<br />

“Our focus is going to be on manufacturers that need dedicated<br />

service between their plants,” Nussbaum said. “Sometimes<br />

we found manufacturers or distributors that don’t have<br />

dedicated operations and combined them into what I would call a<br />

semi-dedicated-type operation, where you’re using two one-way<br />

moves (and combining them) into a dedicated-type operation<br />

from two different customers.”<br />

The carrier also hasn’t shied away from adopting new technologies<br />

to help boost efficiencies and streamline operations.<br />

Nussbaum describes these new advancements as one of the biggest<br />

secret weapons in the company’s toolbox.<br />

“I would say the biggest change in transportation today has<br />

been in the growth in information technology,” he said. “Business<br />

analytics have transformed our business to drive more informed,<br />

quicker decisions, which drives greater productivity and efficiency.<br />

“We’ve got a huge IT department, and we build a lot of our own<br />

solutions. We are constantly using the data to help us to drill down<br />

into our costs and that’s another big piece,” he continued. “The<br />

28 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024

setup of a data warehouse has put very detailed<br />

information into the hands of everyone<br />

from managers to frontline people and<br />

this helps push decisions to the frontline<br />

who can make decisions for the business<br />

rather than having to wait for a manager.”<br />

Nussbaum says the company’s experiences<br />

of the past two decades have illustrated<br />

the absolute necessity for technological<br />

know-how as a critical component<br />

of future success.<br />

“I would say that this industry is going<br />

to become more data-driven than ever before<br />

and I think the carriers that are able<br />

to do that will not only survive, but they’re<br />

going to thrive,” he said. “The people that<br />

are trying to run their companies by the<br />

seat of their pants, which is typically the<br />

way things have always been, are not.”<br />

These strategic and operational elements<br />

have combined to deliver great success.<br />

The company’s head count is up to<br />

715,515 of whom are drivers moving 550<br />

trucks and more than 1,500 trailers, the<br />

vast majority of it dry van.<br />

The spot market represents 10% of<br />

business volume at most, which helped insulate<br />

the firm from the recent slowdown<br />

in that sector, volatility that Nussbaum<br />

leadership rightly predicted.<br />

“We stayed in full truckload and just focused<br />

on manufacturers that were in the<br />

Midwest — and we’ve got a large number<br />

of them that allow us to keep our lanes<br />

static and allow us to build density,” Nussbaum<br />

said. “We actually had a pretty good<br />

year last year.”<br />

Nussbaum Transportation was founded<br />

by Brent Nussbaum’s father, the late Alden<br />

Nussbaum, in 1945. The younger Nussbaum<br />

grew up working for the family business, taking<br />

on miscellaneous tasks at age 13.<br />

“I started at the bottom — literally at the<br />

bottom — cleaning bathrooms and whatnot,”<br />

he said with a laugh. “I’m not embarrassed<br />

to say that.”<br />

In the years to come, Brent Nussbaum<br />

would serve in a variety of roles, graduating<br />

to be a driver after high school. After<br />

that, he spent 15 years in operations before<br />

stepping away from the company for<br />

a while. During this time, he earned undergraduate<br />

degrees in international management<br />

and business management, as well<br />

as a master’s in international management,<br />

before coming home to resume his career<br />

at the head of the family business.<br />

Nussbaum gives the lion’s share of credit<br />

for the positive momentum Nussbaum<br />

Transportation enjoys today to his leadership<br />

team and the company’s employees.<br />

Asked what separates consistency from<br />

complacency, Nussbaum, predictably,<br />

circled back to the importance of people.<br />

“(It) really comes down to, ‘Are your people<br />

really engaged in your business?” he<br />

said. “We literally just finished an employee<br />

engagement survey here, and for the second<br />

year in a row we have succeeded. This<br />

year we got 93% of all of our people to be<br />

a part of that survey. When we saw the results,<br />

88% showed as completely engaged.<br />

When you’ve got that kind of engagement,<br />

that’s just absolutely best in class.<br />

“I think you’ve got to figure out a way<br />

to engage your people — and it isn’t just<br />

how well you execute externally,” he continued.<br />

“We are a faith-based organization.<br />

We call ourselves a ministry that happens<br />

to be in trucking. Our goal is to positively<br />

impact those we come into contact with.<br />

We do that not only with the way we treat<br />

our people but also through the programs<br />

we use to help a driver be not just a driver,<br />

but to give him a prayer path. I would say I<br />

think we do a pretty good job at it.”<br />

Leadership Team<br />

Brent Nussbaum<br />

Chief Executive Officer<br />

Bill Wettstein<br />

President &<br />

Chief Financial Officer<br />

Douglas Knepp<br />

Chief Information Officer<br />

Doug Bradle<br />

Chief Operations Officer<br />

Jeremy Stickling<br />

Chief Administrative Officer<br />

Chris Aranda<br />

Vice President of Sales &<br />

Business Analytics<br />

By the Numbers<br />


515<br />

TRUCKS<br />

550<br />


1,500+<br />


715<br />

TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 29


Next Gen Executives<br />

TCA’s young leaders take the spotlight, drive the future of trucking<br />

Derek VanBlargan<br />

Building a cohesive<br />

team is key to<br />

success, says<br />

Northern Logistics<br />

president Derek<br />

VanBlargan<br />

By Kris Rutherford<br />

When a teenage Derek VanBlargan took a job<br />

delivering furniture following high school, he<br />

probably had no idea he was taking a big step<br />

toward a career firmly rooted in trucking.<br />

Today, as president of Michigan-based<br />

Northern Logistics, however, he can look back and see how<br />

his route steadily progressed beginning even earlier in life.<br />

“I grew up around heavy equipment through my<br />

grandfather’s logging business,” said VanBlargan, who<br />

holds a bachelor’s in marketing and logistics degree from<br />

Central Michigan University.<br />

“I had plans of working on the marketing side of my<br />

degree, until I realized I would have to move to a larger city<br />

to make that happen,” he continued. “I have always enjoyed<br />

Northern Michigan, so staying around the area weighed<br />

heavily in my decisions.”<br />

The road to Northern Logistics was a direct one.<br />

“I met the owner of Northern Logistics at a networking<br />

night in 2007 and worked out an internship opportunity in<br />

2008. I was hired full-time in the fall of 2008 to do sales,” he<br />

said. “I am still heavily involved in and enjoy the sales side<br />

of our business, but I’ve worked in operations for most of<br />

the last 10 years.”<br />

VanBlargan says he enjoys the fast pace of operations, the<br />

internal and external relationships he has built, and Northern<br />

Logistics company culture.<br />

“They have kept me interested to this day,” he said.<br />

In his role as president of the carrier, VanBlargan works<br />

in all facets of the trucking industry, including safety, sales,<br />

and operations. Northern Logistics currently has 300 trucks<br />

dispersed at eight locations in Michigan. But it wasn’t always<br />

that way.<br />

The company started in the early 1980s as an air expedite<br />

company, VanBlargan says. In the 1990s and early 2000s,<br />

it moved into cargo expediting, operating 15 tractors, four<br />

box trucks, and two vans. At that point, the company was<br />

moving into less than truckload (LTL) and dedicated hauling.<br />

A 3PL division followed in 2010, and in 2013, Northern<br />

Logistics purchased a flatbed division.<br />

“Through the next 10 years, we acquired and opened<br />

additional terminals throughout Michigan, helping grow to<br />

where we are today,” he said.<br />

As for VanBlargan, he’s grown with the company, helping<br />

train, hire, and build a cohesive team of employees to<br />

complement management. In 2023, he moved into his<br />

current role of company president.<br />

30 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024

“Before (becoming president), I worked in nearly all levels<br />

of our business, outside of driving and working on the<br />

trucks,” he said. “Here at Northern, we do not necessarily<br />

practice the traditional ‘corporate ladder’ or common<br />

infrastructure. We operate more laterally and in peer groups.<br />

“We truly do have some of the best in the business on<br />

our team throughout every level,” he continued. “I say it a<br />

lot, but the level of accountability and ownership from top to<br />

bottom is something to be jealous of, even in my role. I give<br />

a lot of credit to our great leadership, hard work ethic, and a<br />

never give up attitude to my success.”<br />

According to VanBlargan, Northern Logistics operates<br />

with the attitude that they’ll haul “anything that fits in their<br />

trucks,” but being in Michigan, auto parts make up a sizable<br />

portion of their business. The company’s 300 trucks log<br />

a total of 25 million miles annually delivering throughout<br />

the U.S. and Canada. The Midwest is the carrier’s primary<br />

business area, and 15 million of those 25 million miles are<br />

traversed within Michigan’s state lines.<br />

“We have a strong presence in Michigan and a passion for<br />

the state,” VanBlargan said.<br />

When asked what advice he’d offer other young executives,<br />

he points to a few character traits that are needed to succeed<br />

in the trucking industry.<br />

“Communication is always going to be the first, the<br />

foremost, and the hardest,” he said. He also lists patience,<br />

self-motivation, and ownership of issues as important for<br />

someone in his (or any) position.<br />

“You can’t play the blame game in this industry,” he said.<br />

“You have to work through the problems as they come<br />

and learn from them for the next time around.<br />

As it relates to his company’s success, VanBlargan<br />

places the most emphasis on customer service and<br />

driver relations.<br />

“Building a solid network of drivers, an operations<br />

team, and customers is the key. You can lean on each<br />

other through the good times and the bad,” he said.<br />

“I have been able to be a part of and watch our<br />

growth,” he continued. “When I started in 2008, we<br />

had an operations team of five, with 25 trucks in two<br />

locations running 1.75 million miles. We now have<br />

an operations team of nearly 50, 300 trucks, and 8<br />

locations.”<br />

VanBlargan is quick to point out that his success is<br />

directly related to members of the Northern Logistics<br />

team.<br />

“Having an engaged operations team that takes<br />

ownership in the business every day is definitely our<br />

driving factor,” he said. “We also have an owner who<br />

is fully supportive and engaged. Every day is a new<br />

day. The fast-paced environment keeps you on your<br />

toes.”<br />

While VanBlargan enjoys his job, it does come with<br />

its challenges.<br />

“The growing market fluctuations are what I like<br />

least about the industry,” he said. “It seems like the<br />

separation between the shipper and the trucking<br />

company continues to grow. Continuing to build<br />

relationships directly with the shippers and having good<br />

partners will be something I think will separate companies<br />

in the foreseeable future for growth and success.”<br />

Assuming that the goal of a logistics business is delivering<br />

product to its final destination, VanBlargan says the front<br />

office staff plays a major role.<br />

“Support your drivers,” he advises. “Give them as<br />

much shipment information, good equipment, and good<br />

communication as possible. We are continually investing<br />

in technology and time/operations to help make sure our<br />

drivers have as much clear and clean direction as possible<br />

to succeed.”<br />

In addition, he says, it’s vital that a company — from the<br />

leadership down every last employee — should treat its<br />

customers, co-workers, and community with respect.<br />

“It will help you survive almost any situation,” he said.<br />

While VanBlargan is dedicated to his work at Northern<br />

Logistics, he says that spending time with his wife, Kelli,<br />

and their children, 11-year-old daughter Jordan and 7-yearold<br />

son Jarett, is what truly motivates him.<br />

He and the family enjoy upper Michigan and spend<br />

a lot of summers and winters there at one of their two<br />

cabins. As might be expected for the area, he does a lot<br />

of snowmobiling, but the summers are kept busy by his<br />

daughter’s traveling softball team.<br />

Derek VanBlargan is a highly successful businessman<br />

who has learned to strike a work-family balance – something<br />

a successful carrier like Northern Logistics encourages for<br />

all its employees.<br />

TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 31


Your Voice Matters<br />

TCA members can Help<br />

ensure safe parking for<br />

America’s truck drivers<br />

As a result of the Truckload Carriers Association’s Call on<br />

Washington last fall, the industry gained three co-sponsors<br />

of S.1034 and two co-sponsors of H.R. 2367, both known as<br />

The Truck Parking Improvement Act. However, there is still<br />

more to do to help ensure the nation’s drivers have access to<br />

safe, affordable parking. Our legislators have asked TCA and<br />

its membership to identify closed rest areas across the U.S.<br />

By doing so, we are helping to ensure these rest stops can be<br />

reopened, making truck parking more accessible. To complete<br />

the brief survey, visit https://fs19.formsite.com/CfZ-<br />

BRO/k0p9fdsdnv/index or simply scan the QR code at right.<br />


32 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024

2024 Upcoming TCA Events<br />

March<br />

23 - 26<br />

TCA’s Annual Convention - Truckload 2024<br />

Nashville, TN<br />

Truckload 2024: Nashville is the premier event for truckload<br />

professionals looking to make new connections and<br />

educate themselves on the latest trends in the industry.<br />

June<br />

2 -4<br />

Safety & Security Meeting<br />

Indianapolis, IN<br />

TCA’s annual Safety & Security Meeting has consistently<br />

brought truckload carrier safety professionals together to<br />

discuss problems, share ideas, and seek solutions to make<br />

their businesses and our roads safer.<br />

July<br />

15 -17<br />

Refrigerated Meeting<br />

Stowe, VT<br />

The premier event for truckload professionals operating<br />

temperature-controlled equipment.<br />

Sept.<br />

11 - 12<br />

Nov.<br />

20<br />

Fall Business Meetings & Call on Washington<br />

Washington, D.C.<br />

Participate in TCA’s committee and board of directors’<br />

meetings and join us for the annual Call on Washington to<br />

meet with regulators and legislaters to tell truckload’s story.<br />

Bridging Border Barriers<br />

Mississauga, ON<br />

Join us in Mississauga as we spend a day discussing<br />

cros-border issues with the experts.<br />

Learn more at www.truckload.org/events<br />

TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 33


Moving<br />

Memorial<br />

Maverick takes pride in<br />

transporting The Wall<br />

That Heals<br />

By Linda Garner-Bunch<br />

Since the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated November 13,<br />

1982, it has become the most-visited site on the National Mall in<br />

Washington, drawing more than 5 million people per year. Even<br />

so, the vast majority of Americans, including many veterans of<br />

the infamous war, will never have the opportunity to view the<br />

memorial in person.<br />

To help honor and preserve the legacy of those who served in Vietnam,<br />

and educate current and future generations about the impact of<br />

the war, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) constructed The<br />

Wall That Heals — a three-quarter scale replica, complete with engravings<br />

of the more than 58,000 names recorded on the original structure.<br />

Each year, this replica travels thousands of miles, making stops in communities<br />

throughout the U.S. In 2024, for the first time, The Wall traveled<br />

to Hawaii, making stops in Hilo in January and Wailuku in February.<br />

The 375-foot-long, 7.5-foot tall, chevron-shaped replica is transported<br />

in a 53-foot trailer that transforms into a mobile education center.<br />

The exterior of the trailer features a timeline of “The War and The Wall,”<br />

drawing the eyes of passersby on the highway.<br />

Transporting The Wall along its annual tour is no small feat, and members<br />

of the trucking industry have stepped up to help. Since 2015, the<br />

Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has sponsored The Wall’s mission.<br />

“TCA is proud to continue our partnership with VVMF to help bring The<br />

Wall That Heals to communities across our nation and support the mission<br />

of honoring veterans and educating all generations about the impact<br />

34 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024

of the Vietnam War,” said TCA President Jim Ward. “This is a great<br />

opportunity for our members and their drivers to get involved and<br />

bring this special memorial to their communities.”<br />

For TCA’s member carriers, hauling The Wall is an honor and<br />

privilege, and there is no shortage of drivers, many of them military<br />

veterans themselves, waiting in line for a chance to take part.<br />

North Little Rock, Arkansas-based Maverick Transportation has<br />

been moving the memorial since 2021.<br />

Supporting the nation’s military has always been a vital part of<br />

the company’s culture, according to John Coppens, vice president<br />

of operations for Maverick. In the early 2010s, when the carrier was<br />

approved for the GI Bill on-the-job Training program, Maverick’s investment<br />

in hiring military veterans accelerated.<br />

“We first started talking about the idea of getting involved in<br />

2018, and then with the emergence of our Military Veteran wrapped<br />

trucks — nicknamed ‘Salute’ — in 2019, we really wanted to be part<br />

of the program,” Coppens said. “We were scheduled for an event in<br />

2020, but COVID-19 canceled it, so our first move was in 2021.”<br />

Of course, many motor carriers participate each year in transporting<br />

The Wall along each leg of its journey. Coppens told Truckload<br />

Authority that Maverick is responsible for at least one move each<br />

year, occasionally more as the need arises.<br />

“We have a total of five Salute veteran tribute trucks, and we’re<br />

always open to doing more with The Wall That Heals,” he said. “It’s<br />

a popular program and a great one for those carriers that wish to<br />

recognize their veterans and the programs thy have built to support<br />

them and their families.<br />

“It’s a big honor and many drivers with military roots, specifically<br />

those with connections to veterans of the Vietnam War, find<br />

the privilege of transporting the wall more emotional and personally<br />

gratifying than they ever expected” he continued.<br />

The process of selecting drivers to haul The Wall varies from<br />

carrier to carrier. At Maverick, Coppens said, drivers who are interested<br />

in piloting the memorial rig undergo an interview process<br />

that helps leadership better understand each one’s military experience<br />

and interest in the program.<br />

Once selected for the honor, the drivers face more challenges.<br />

“One of the main hurdles is overcoming the attention driving a<br />

Salute truck brings, specifically when hauling The Wall or being<br />

part of a parade or other charitable events,” Coppens explained.<br />

“The extra attention is great, but it can also be exhausting.”<br />

For the company’s inaugural tour in 2021, Eric Curlett, a<br />

20-year Marine Corps veteran who’s driven for Maverick for nearly<br />

a decade, piloted the Salute tractor-trailer containing The Wall and<br />

mobile education unit.<br />

“I was very proud to haul The Wall,” Curlett said. “It was an<br />

honor. I am a veteran of a foreign war, and to see something like<br />

this that honors the people who fought — it was a top honor of<br />

my life.”<br />

The following year, in 2022, Curlett helped with the setup of The<br />

Wall during its visit to Cabot, Arkansas. He says that experience<br />

allowed him to meet many visitors and hear their stories.<br />

“I met and witnessed a Vietnam veteran who was able to receive<br />

an award for serving while The Wall was set up in Cabot. That was<br />

such an honor,” he shared, adding that he was also touched by<br />

one of the volunteers who was helping set up the exhibit.<br />

“Toward the end of the setup, she carried a piece of The Wall<br />

that had her father’s name listed on it,” he said. “That really stood<br />

out to me.”<br />

The Maverick team is proud to support The Wall That Heals, the<br />

nation’s military veterans, and the company’s drivers.<br />

“We love and respect our Salute drivers for all they have done<br />

and continue to do to represent their service men and women as<br />

well as Maverick,” Coppens said.<br />

TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 35



Since 2015, the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA)<br />

has partnered with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund<br />

to transport The Wall That Heals to tour stops across<br />

the United States. This gallery showcases a few drivers<br />

from TCA-member companies who had the privilege of<br />

transporting the wall during the 2023 national tour.<br />

36 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024

2024 Tour Dates<br />

January 24-28: Hilo, Hawaii<br />

February 9-13: Wailuku, Hawaii<br />

March 14-17: Baldwin Park, California<br />

March 21-24: El Cajon, California<br />

March 28-31: Merced, California<br />

April 4-7: Gardena, California<br />

April 11-14: Peoria, Arizona<br />

May 2-5: Frisco, Texas<br />

May 9-12: Robertsdale, Alabama<br />

May 16-19: Waynesville, Missouri<br />

May 24-27: West Dundee, Illinois<br />

May 30-June 2: Hartland, Wisconsin<br />

June 6-9: Russellville, Kentucky<br />

June 20-23: Asheboro, North Carolina<br />

July 4-7: Scotia, New York<br />

July 11-14: Quincy, Massachusetts<br />

July 18-21: Biddeford, Maine<br />

July 25-28: Devens, Massachusetts<br />

August 8-11: Penn Yan, New York<br />

August 15-18: Martinsville, Indiana<br />

August 22-25: Hutchinson, Minnesota<br />

August 29-September 1: Butte, Montana<br />

September 12-15: Delaware, Ohio<br />

September 19-22: Manchester, Connecticut<br />

September 26-29: Bridgeport, Connecticut<br />

October 3-6: Covington, Virginia<br />

October 17-20: Ridgeville, South Carolina<br />

October 24-27: Hinesville, Georgia<br />

October 31-November 3: Dahlonega, Georgia<br />

November 8-11: Liberty, South Carolina<br />

November 14-17: Panama City, Florida<br />

TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 37


No Barriers<br />

Knight-Swift driver Richard Boehrer soars<br />

above challenges to drive big rig<br />

By Kris Rutherford<br />

When Richard Boehrer, one of the Truckload<br />

Carriers Association’s (TCA) five 2023 Drivers<br />

of the Year, was a youngster, he dreamed of<br />

someday becoming a truck driver.<br />

For many years, however, it seemed that dream would remain<br />

unfulfilled. Even Boehrer’s uncle, who was a professional<br />

driver, couldn’t offer encouragement to the aspiring driver.<br />

“Impossible,” he told his nephew when asked about the<br />

possibility of driving a truck for a living.<br />

You see, Boehrer is deaf, and in those days, Federal Motor<br />

Carrier Safety Administration regulations required that all drivers<br />

be able to hear. Eventually, those restrictions were loosened,<br />

requiring the hearing impaired to pass a “whisper test.”<br />

Even this concession did Boehrer no good, because he is<br />

completely deaf.<br />

So, one might ask: How did Richard Boehrer become a<br />

TCA Driver of the Year?<br />

In 2011, Deaf Truckers United was formed, and the organization<br />

went to bat for people like Boehrer. Its argument<br />

was that the technology involved in trucking made concerns<br />

about deaf drivers immaterial. Their argument did not fall on<br />

deaf ears, so to speak.<br />

Two years later, the FMCSA created exemptions to the<br />

hearing portion of the CDL test, paving the way for Boehrer<br />

and others to prove their skills and become commercial<br />

drivers.<br />

Today, Deaf Truckers United has grown to an organization<br />

of over 1,000 drivers.<br />

Communication on the job requires a small adjustment,<br />

according to Boehrer, who says his carrier, Knight-Swift<br />

Transportation, has been quick to offer assistance.<br />

“My terminal manager and I communicate through a video<br />

relay service,” he said. “Another way we communicate is<br />

by texting.”<br />

But what about the nuances of driving a truck that one<br />

would think would require hearing?<br />

“I can’t hear air leaks,” Boehrer said. “I use a spray bottle<br />

to see if there’s any bubbles. If there’s a blowout, I can feel<br />

the vibration on the road.”<br />

Boehrer explained that when there is a problem, something<br />

just feels different in the truck. That “feeling” is something<br />

many people who are deaf describe. It’s a way the<br />

body compensates for lacking the sense of hearing.<br />

“My body can feel in a way I don’t think hearing people<br />

38 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024

can,” Boehrer said. “Deaf people can feel things and know<br />

that something is wrong.”<br />

One area the FMSCA doesn’t give deaf drivers a pass<br />

on is safety. Deaf drivers must be just as safe as any<br />

other driver on the road. Boehrer says that he, like any<br />

other driver, is expected to follow regulations and conduct<br />

thorough pre-trip checks.<br />

“We have a lot of responsibility to take care of our<br />

trucks and to check everything and make sure everything<br />

is safe,” he said. “Safety is the most important<br />

thing.”<br />

In addition to support from his carrier, Boehrer says<br />

he is appreciative of the community provided by other<br />

drivers, as well as the support of Deaf Truckers United.<br />

“There are a lot of truckers with the Deaf Truckers<br />

United organization,” he said. “We’re focused on teamwork<br />

and communication and helping each other learn.<br />

Deaf Truckers United has a deaf truck show where we<br />

get together twice a year.”<br />

Unlike his uncle, Boehrer is able to encourage deaf<br />

people to reach for their goals.<br />

“I would like to let deaf people know that they can get<br />

involved,” he said. “They can become truck drivers. It<br />

just depends on people. You can’t discriminate against<br />

people. You have to let people do what they can do. The<br />

most important thing we need to do is work together,<br />

the deaf and the hearing. Communication is what it takes<br />

to have successful teamwork.”<br />

Boehrer adds that everyone faces different challenges.<br />

“There’s different kinds of challenges that hearing and<br />

deaf people who work this job have,” he said. “They can’t<br />

make any mistakes. I used to drive dry vans, but now<br />

that I drive reefers, I have more responsibility. There’s<br />

food, frozen goods, and meats. It’s a bigger responsibility<br />

to take care of the product for the customer.”<br />

Boehrer also said that driving reefers carries him<br />

across the country.<br />

“It keeps me going to different states,” he said. “I’ve<br />

been to 48 states and Canada. I’ve been working with<br />

Knight Transportation for 10 years.”<br />

As for the accolades he receives for a job well done,<br />

Boehrer is especially proud of achieving one goal in particular.<br />

“I was really happy to become a million miler,” he<br />

said. “And I’m just gonna keep going. I’m not gonna<br />

stop. I’m gonna keep going until I retire.”<br />

Boehrer is also glad to have added TCA Driver of the<br />

Year to his resume.<br />

“I feel really inspired to be a TCA professional driver<br />

of the year,” he said. “I’m real happy about that.”<br />

During the 2023 TCA Driver of the Year awards ceremony,<br />

held in Orlando, Florida, last March, Boehrer<br />

drew a standing ovation from the audience, complete<br />

with thunderous applause that he undoubtedly could<br />

feel through the planks of the banquet hall stage.<br />

“What I really enjoy is I get to go everywhere,” he<br />

said. That’s quite an accomplishment for someone who<br />

overcame the “impossible.”<br />

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Everyday Heroes<br />

2023 TCA Highway Angels of the Year<br />

Since 1997, the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has recognized<br />

professional truck drivers who demonstrate exemplary courtesy and courage<br />

as they travel the highways of North America. Each year, dozens of deserving<br />

drivers are showcased as TCA Highway Angels. From those drivers, one is<br />

selected for top honors as the TCA Highway Angel of the Year.<br />

This year, for the first time, TCA, along with presenting sponsor EpicVue and<br />

supporting sponsors DriverFacts and Northland Insurance, will honor not just<br />

one, but three TCA Highway Angels during the association’s annual convention,<br />

March 23-26, 2024, in Nashville, Tennessee.<br />

Here are the six finalists for this year’s awards, along with their stories.<br />


Knight Transportation — Phoenix<br />

Anthony Blunnie, a driver and trainer for Phoenix-based Knight<br />

Transportation rescued a woman following a fiery crash. On<br />

February 15, Blunnie was training a driver on Interstate 20 in<br />

Jackson, Mississippi, when he saw a vehicle blow a tire, veer off<br />

the road, flip and catch fire. Blunnie instructed the driver trainee<br />

to safely pull over; then he grabbed the truck’s fire extinguisher<br />

and rushed to rescue the driver. By the time he reached the<br />

vehicle’s driver’s-side door, the flames were inside the vehicle<br />

and frighteningly close to the injured driver, a woman. Blunnie,<br />

with the help of another passerby, had to break the vehicle’s<br />

windows to pull the woman to safety. Ten seconds later, Blunnie<br />

said, the woman’s vehicle was completely engulfed in flames.<br />

Ebern Wiley<br />

Melton Truck Lines — Tulsa<br />

Ebern Wiley, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S.<br />

Army who drives for Tulsa-based Melton Truck Lines, rescued a<br />

driver after his SUV crashed. On February 2, Ebern was driving<br />

along a Wyoming highway when an SUV ahead of him, which<br />

was hauling a trailer, lost control on black ice and flipped. Ebern<br />

pulled over and, realizing that the other driver could be trapped,<br />

grabbed a crowbar before going to help. The driver of the SUV<br />

was trying unsuccessfully to break out the windshield from the<br />

inside. Ebern warned the driver to stay clear and then used the<br />

crowbar to smash the glass. He then helped the driver out of<br />

the SUV and sheltered him in his truck while they waited for<br />

emergency personnel to arrive.<br />

40 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024

Mariusz “Mario” Tyszuk<br />

Bison Transport — Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada<br />

Mario Tyszuk, a driver for Winnipeg, Manitoba-based Bison<br />

Transport who is originally from Poland, stopped to help a couple<br />

following an interstate crash in Texas. On July 19, Tyszuk<br />

was driving south on Interstate 35 near Denton, Texas, when<br />

the driver of an SUV in the northbound lanes lost control. The<br />

vehicle became airborne and rolled, coming to a stop on the<br />

passenger’s side. Tyszuk stopped to help, and discovered the<br />

occupants were trapped in the vehicle. He was able to punch<br />

through a corner of the windshield, remove it, and help the male<br />

driver out. He then extricated the female passenger, who had a<br />

deep cut in one leg. Tyszuk applied a tourniquet and kept pressure<br />

on the wound until emergency personnel arrived.<br />

Dawna Jacobsen<br />

Erb Transport — New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada<br />

Dawna Jacobsen, a driver for Erb Transport in New Hamburg,<br />

Ontario, was instrumental in rescuing a 12-year-old boy who<br />

was hit by a car. On December 22, she was driving along Highway<br />

11 in Northern Ontario, just west of Kapuskasing, when<br />

she saw something in the road ahead. She slowed as she approached<br />

the object, which turned out to be a snowmobile, and<br />

saw a boy lying in the road, his legs mangled. Jacobsen was<br />

the first person at the scene; she called 911; then angled her rig<br />

to prevent other vehicles from hitting the boy. Other passersby<br />

stopped to help, tending to the boy while Jacobsen relayed information<br />

to emergency personnel. She later discovered the boy<br />

had attempted to cross the highway and was struck by a car.<br />

Jesse Felton<br />

Buchheit Logistics — Jackson, Missouri<br />

Jesse Felton, a driver for Missouri-based Buchheit Logistics,<br />

rescued a seriously injured trucker after a horrific crash. On<br />

February 22, Felton was driving south on Interstate 55 in Cape<br />

Girardeau County, Missouri, when a crash occurred. A northbound<br />

red CMV lost control and crossed the median, striking<br />

a southbound white CMV. Both vehicles sustained extensive<br />

damage. Felton was the first on the scene. He safely stopped;<br />

then raced through the wreckage and diesel fuel littering the<br />

highway to help. One driver was OK, but the other was severely<br />

injured. Felton applied a tourniquet to what appeared to be the<br />

most serious wound, and applied pressure to control the bleeding<br />

until first responders arrived.<br />

Terry Reavis<br />

Maverick Transportation — North Little Rock, Arkansas<br />

Terry Reavis, who drives for Arkansas-based Maverick Transportation,<br />

came to the aid of a crash victim who was ejected through the<br />

windshield of her vehicle. On February 19, Reavis was on Interstate<br />

95 in Brunswick, Georgia, when he saw a pickup truck traveling<br />

backwards along the shoulder; the truck then angled to cross three<br />

lanes of traffic and was T-boned by an SUV. The car behind the<br />

SUV struck it hard enough to wedge itself beneath the SUV, and<br />

the woman driving the SUV was ejected through the windshield.<br />

Reavis, who is a trained first responder, hit the record button on<br />

his dashboard camera and pulled over to help. He removed three<br />

children from the SUV and then worked to control the woman’s<br />

bleeding and keep her calm until emergency personnel arrived.<br />

TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 41


TCA Highway Angels<br />

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has recognized<br />

professional truck drivers Paul Lamoureux , Keith Rahn, Tim<br />

Olden, and Jason Corino as TCA Highway Angels because of<br />

their acts of heroism while on the road.<br />

In recognition of these drivers’ willingness to help fellow drivers and<br />

motorists, TCA has presented each Highway Angel with a certificate, a<br />

lapel pin, patches, and truck decals. Their employers have also received<br />

a certificate highlighting their driver as a recipient.<br />

Since TCA’s Highway Angels program began in 1997, nearly 1,300<br />

professional truck drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels<br />

because of the exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage they have<br />

displayed while on the job. TCA extends special thanks to the<br />

program’s presenting sponsor, EpicVue, and supporting<br />

sponsors DriverFacts and Northland Insurance. To nominate<br />

a driver or read more about these and other Highway Angel<br />

award recipients, visit highwayangel.org.<br />


Presenting Sponsor<br />

AND<br />

Supporting Sponsors<br />

42 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024

Paul Lamoureux<br />

Bison Freight — Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada<br />

Paul Lamoureux of Sherwood Park,<br />

Alberta, Canada, is recognized as a TCA<br />

Highway Angel for stopping to help a<br />

woman and her son following after<br />

their car crashed in the wee hours of<br />

the morning.<br />

At about 2:15 a.m. on August 25,<br />

2023, Lamoureux was traveling along<br />

Highway 200 near Circle, Montana.<br />

A car pulled past him and continued<br />

along the highway. When the car was<br />

Paul Lamoureux<br />

the crest of the hill, they nailed him.”<br />

The driver of the car, Jamie Price,<br />

said she and her 18-year-old son were<br />

returning home from vacation to Fairchild,<br />

Wisconsin. When the car struck<br />

the cow, she said, it flew over the vehicle.<br />

“You don’t think livestock is gonna be<br />

in the middle of the road,” said Price. “I<br />

can’t believe my son and I are alive.”<br />

While she and her son sustained extensive<br />

about a mile ahead of him, he saw the lights of the<br />

car suddenly swerve and then disappear over a hill.<br />

As Lamoureux crested the hill, he saw a cow<br />

in the road and realized the car had gone into the<br />

ditch. He pulled over to help.<br />

“I passed the animal that they hit, and I knew it<br />

was gonna be bad,” said Lamoureux, who has driven<br />

for Bison Freight since 2015.<br />

“They hit a large cow that had somehow got out<br />

of its fenced off area, he said. “As they came over<br />

cuts and abrasions, they suffered no major<br />

injuries in the crash.<br />

At the scene, Lamoureux invited the crash victims<br />

into his truck while they waited for state troopers<br />

to arrive. He also provided them with wipes and<br />

bandages to help clean the cuts and remove the<br />

glass from their wounds.<br />

“I’m so blessed and thankful that he was there,”<br />

said Price. “I don’t know what we would’ve done.<br />

He kept me safe.”<br />

Keith Rahn<br />

WEL Companies — De Pere, Wisconsin<br />

Keith Rahn of Radford, Virginia, has<br />

form that was submitted by Jessica<br />

been honored as a TCA Highway Angel<br />

Lynn Daniels, the woman in the car, she<br />

after coming to the aid of a woman and<br />

was traveling with her two infants and<br />

her three children who were stranded<br />

7-year-old child in the car when she<br />

on the highway. This is Rahn’s second<br />

lost power. She did not have a phone<br />

set of angel wings; he was previously<br />

with her, and she was frantically trying<br />

recognized for preventing a drunk<br />

to catch the attention of other passing<br />

driver from leaving the scene following<br />

motorists for help.<br />

an accident in August 2023.<br />

“Thankfully he was observant in the<br />

On September 29, 2023, at about Keith Rahn heavy fog and was able to stop and<br />

9:20 p.m., Rahn was driving in dense<br />

help push my car off the roadway and<br />

fog on eastbound Interstate 80 in Ohio when he onto the shoulder before I was struck by another<br />

came upon a car stopped in the lane ahead of him. car,” Daniels wrote. “Nobody was stopping until<br />

“Thankfully I saw her,” Rahn said. “She was this driver came and helped. He gave me all of his<br />

actually in traffic. She had lost power, and she didn’t information, called the Ohio State Troopers, and<br />

have power even for the lights on her car. She was stayed with me until they arrived to assist. I really<br />

dead stopped.”<br />

am grateful for this driver, and I am sure that he<br />

According to the TCA Highway Angel nomination saved our lives. God bless him!”<br />


TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 43



Timothy Olden<br />

Decker Truck Line — Fort Dodge, Iowa<br />

Timothy Olden of North Chesterfield,<br />

Virginia, earned a set of TCA Highway<br />

Angel wings after helping a fellow truck<br />

driver who fell asleep at the wheel and<br />

crashed.<br />

The incident occurred on December<br />

22, 2023, at about 2:30 a.m. Olden<br />

was driving on Interstate 40 through<br />

Crossville, Tennessee, when he saw an<br />

accident. A driver ahead of him, who<br />

was pulling a flatbed trailer, veered off<br />

Timothy Olden<br />

have only minor cuts and bruises.<br />

“He rolled his truck,” said Olden,<br />

who drives for Decker Truck Line. “He<br />

admitted to me and to the cops that he<br />

fell asleep.”<br />

Olden remained with the other driver<br />

until law enforcement arrived.<br />

He says he also shared a bit of advice<br />

with the other driver — the “threeyawn<br />

rule” when it comes to drowsing<br />

driving.<br />

the off ramp and crashed.<br />

Olden immediately pulled over safely, called 911<br />

and went to help the other driver, who appeared to<br />

“If you yawn three times in a row, get to a truck<br />

stop and rest,” Olden said. “Go stretch out in the<br />

back of the truck.”<br />

Jason Corino<br />

Melton Truck Lines — Tulsa<br />

Jason Corino of Deltona, Florida,<br />

is honored as a TCA Highway Angel<br />

because of his actions during a<br />

roadside shooting that prevented other<br />

motorists from being injured.<br />

On November 29, 2023, at about<br />

11:30 a.m., Corino was traveling on<br />

US 491 in Cortez, Colorado, when he<br />

noticed a car being driven abnormally,<br />

preventing him from merging.<br />

The car passed Corino, along with<br />

Name<br />

brakes right there to stop traffic behind<br />

me.”<br />

Within seconds, Jason witnessed<br />

a deadly shoot-out erupt between<br />

the suspect, Jason Campbell, and the<br />

law enforcement officer, Cortez Police<br />

Department Sergeant Michael Moran.<br />

Fortunately, Corino was able to turn on<br />

his truck’s dash camera and capture<br />

the entire incident in a recording, which<br />

was later submitted to police.<br />

three pickup trucks; then a police car passed,<br />

evidently in pursuit of the car. Corino later<br />

discovered the vehicle was involved in a “road rage”<br />

incident with the three trucks, and that police had<br />

been called for assistance.<br />

A few miles down the road, law enforcement<br />

pulled the car over right in front of Corino. There<br />

was not a proper shoulder on which to park, so the<br />

stopped cars partially blocked the right line. Corino<br />

slowed and attempted to pass in the left lane.<br />

“It’s just me, and the officer’s car in front of me<br />

and the suspect’s car in front of him, and I’ve got<br />

traffic behind me,” Corino said.“I got about 100 feet<br />

away and the kid got out of the car; then I heard<br />

the first two rounds (of gunfire). I slammed on my<br />

“I could see the bullets bouncing off the ground,”<br />

Corino said. “I stopped right there to protect the<br />

people behind me.”<br />

Reports show that Moran died as a result of<br />

injuries sustained during the incident. According<br />

to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Campbell,<br />

along with a passenger in the vehicle, were later<br />

contacted on private property at 7500 US Highway<br />

160, where a member of the Montezuma County<br />

Sheriff’s Office and a member of the Cortez Police<br />

Department engaged him, resulting in an officerinvolved<br />

fatal shooting of the fugitive.<br />

Corino was a key witness regarding the roadside<br />

incident, and his camera footage was used in law<br />

enforcement’s investigation.<br />

44 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024

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TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 45

Looking forward<br />

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA)<br />

calendar is filled with exciting opportunities for<br />

member growth and involvement. Here are just<br />

a few upcoming events. Mark your calendar,<br />

and visit truckload.org/events for updates.<br />

March 23-36<br />

2024 Annual Convention<br />

Nashville, Tennessee<br />

Truckload 2024: Nashville will be held at the Gaylord Opryland<br />

Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee.<br />

June 2-4<br />

The Truckload Carriers Association welcomes<br />

companies that joined the association in<br />

December 2023 and January 2024.<br />

Boon<br />

DataDis<br />

Doran Logistics Services LLC<br />

Emerge Diagnostics<br />

Galloway Johnson Tompkins Burr & Smith<br />

Haul<br />

Link Labs<br />

Magnolia Logistics, Inc.<br />

Ocean State Job Lot<br />

Priority Messenger Service<br />

Recruit-Hire-Retain<br />

RoadFlex<br />

Ryan Turner Specialty Transportation<br />

Smart Eye AB<br />

Storyboard<br />

TKO Transportation, Inc.<br />

Upland Specialty Insurance Co.<br />

2024 Safety & Security Meeting<br />

Indianapolis<br />

This annual meeting, which brings truckload carrier safety<br />

professionals together to discuss problems, share ideas, and<br />

seek solutions to make their businesses and our roads safer,<br />

will be held at the Westin Indianapolis.<br />

July 15-17<br />

2024 Refrigerated Meeting<br />

Stowe, Vermont<br />

Designed for truckload professionals operating temperaturecontrolled<br />

equipment, this annual event offers workshops,<br />

networking opportunities, insightful speakers, and more.<br />

Cover Photo<br />

U.S. Rep. Hillary Scholten<br />

Additional photography/Graphics<br />

Derek VanBlargan: 3, 30, 31<br />

iStock: 4, 6-7, 8-9, 10, 11, 14-15, 16,<br />

32, 37-37, 40-41, 42-43, 44, 46<br />

Kodiak Robotics: 18-19<br />

Maverick Transportation: 34, 35<br />

Nussbaum Transportation: 3, 28, 29<br />

Truckload Carriers Association: 3, 22-23,<br />

24, 26, 27, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41, 43<br />

U.S. Rep. Hillary Van Scholten: 20, 21<br />

46 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024

Join 1,400+ attendees at Truckload 2024 Nashville for:<br />

• educational content made by truckload professionals for truckload professionals<br />

• collaboration through topic-focused discussion forums<br />

• panel discussions with some of the industry’s most well-respected executives<br />

• networking with industry leaders<br />

• thought-provoking keynote addresses<br />

• help steer association policy at committee meetings<br />

• celebrate with industry awards presentations<br />

• 120 exhibitors showcasing the latest technology and services<br />

www.TCAConvention.com<br />

March 23 - 26, 2024<br />

Gaylord Opryland Resort<br />

TCA MARCH/APRIL 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 47

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