Nomination period open for ATA award honoring individuals, companies that ‘go the extra mile’

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Silhouette of man on mountain
The Mike Russell Trucking Image Awards are named in honor of the late Mike Russell, a trucking industry supporter and former ATA vice president of public affairs. Shown here is the 2018 awards ceremony. (Courtesy: American Trucking Associations)

ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Trucking Associations (ATA) has opened nominations for the 2020 Mike Russell Trucking Image Award, which recognizes individuals and organizations that have gone the extra mile to promote the image and reputation of the industry. The award is named in honor of former ATA Vice President of Public Affairs Mike Russell, who was a lifelong supporter and advocate for the trucking industry.

“As the country faced unprecedented obstacles due to the spread of COVID-19, Americans witnessed firsthand the steadfast efforts and importance of the trucking industry,” said Chris Spear, ATA president and CEO. “As an industry, we collectively came together and told our story. When the world needed us, we proudly reassured families that ‘a truck is on the way’ and that the industry is fully committed to doing its part in the national effort to ensure America makes it through the coronavirus pandemic.”

First awarded in 2007, the Mike Russell Trucking Image awards are given in four categories — individual, motor carrier, trucking organization, industry supplier — to nominees who each demonstrate excellence in illustrating the industry’s essentiality, professionalism and commitment to safety both on and off the highways. The award has been sponsored by HireRight since 2014.

The following winners were recognized in 2019:

  • Covenant Transport, for developing the Tomorrow’s Truckers program;
  • Minnesota Trucking Association, for being one of the leading trucking image supporters at the state level;
  • Fleet executive Kevin Burch of Jet Express Inc., for developing some of the industry’s high-profile image efforts; and
  • America’s Road Team Captain and YRC Freight professional truck driver Steve Fields, for being the epitome of an American truck driver in his actions, professionalism and words.

“By promoting the industry’s image and educating the public about our important role in the community, we increase opportunities to recruit new talent, share our collective industry achievements, and ensure a continued seat at the table while advocating for trucking’s policy priorities,” said Todd Simo, managing director of transportation and chief medical officer at HireRight. “The Mike Russell Trucking Image Awards align with HireRight’s mission to promote a safety-first perspective within trucking and support the continued professional success of organizations and individuals in the industry.”

Image and education efforts help the trucking industry and its stakeholders tell the story of the industry, put faces on the nation’s 3.6 million professional drivers, and strengthen the industry’s many partnerships with communities and policymakers across the country, according to ATA.

“Over the last six years we have seen a drastic improvement in the way the American public perceives the trucking industry. This change is due to our industry making incredible efforts to deliver our message and show people the positive impact we have,” said Elisabeth Barna, ATA executive vice president of industry affairs.

“National polling has found that the more an individual knows someone in trucking, the better perception they have of the whole industry,” Barna continued. “These positive views lead to tangible grassroots and advocacy victories and the advancement of trucking’s priorities, while improving our ability to recruit and attract new talent who want to begin a career our industry.”

Applications must be submitted to ATA’s Industry Affairs Department by Oct. 5; click here for information about the awards and the nomination process. Winners will be announced Oct. 26 during ATA’s virtual Management Conference & Exhibition.

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