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Incoming TCA chair Shepard Dunn speaks of respect for drivers

TCA Chairman Shepard Dunn holds up a copy of Truckload Authority, TCA's official magazine. "It's the best thing going," he told delegates Wednesday at the closing session of the organization's annual convention. (The Trucker: CLIFF ABBOTT)

By CLIFF ABBOTT
The Trucker Staff

3/26/2014

GRAPEVINE, Texas — A few in the assembled crowd were still sleepy after the late-night reception for outgoing chairman Tom Kretsinger, but eagerly awaited the inaugural missive from new Truckload Carriers Association Chairman Shepard Dunn. The incoming began his message with a copy of Truckload Authority magazine with Kretsinger’s photo on the cover held high. “You need to read this magazine,” he said. “It’s the best thing going.”

After describing how humbled he was at his selection as chairman, he spoke about attending his first conference of the organization 19 years ago, when it was called the Interstate Truckload Carriers Conference (ITCC). Dunn joked about his lack of trucking knowledge back in those days, quipping, “I knew trucks had eighteen wheels, but I had to learn that ten were on the tractor and eight on the trailer, and I was confused about which one was the fifth wheel!”

He credited Bestway Express founder C.J. “Mac” McCormick for providing the mentoring he needed to succeed, following with a list of trucking industry and TCA leaders who helped along the way.

“But,” he continued, “2014 is not about me, it’s about you, the TCA members. Get involved,” he told them, “I promise you will benefit.”

Dunn explained that he feels his responsibility is to “bridge the gap” between past and future TCA leaders, carrying on the efforts of his predecessors to ensure continued progress towards TCA goals. The goals he plans to focus on, he said, are to help with the industry image movement currently in place, to support and enhance the “Trucking moves America Forward” campaign, to restore respect to drivers, and to promote driver health and wellness.

To the last point, Dunn explained that the company he heads, Bestway Express, is opening a driver health and wellness clinic. Dunn then challenged others to do the same. “If a company our size can do that,” he said, “larger companies with more resources can certainly do it.”

He mentioned the Association’s role to “educate carriers on how they can improve efficiency, and then spoke about the sometimes contentious relationship between the TCA and the American Trucking Associations, saying “ATA and TCA have common ground that needs fertilizing.”

Dunn’s most passionate comments came when he spoke about drivers. “We have to find new ways to support drivers,” he said, noting that the industry’s work can’t be done without them. He challenged company executives to ask themselves, “What can I do to improve the lives of our drivers?”

The chairman then outlined five areas that members should address to benefit drivers; image, respect, health and wellness, lifestyle and driver pay.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.
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