LAS VEGAS — Surrounded by collateral material that repeatedly proclaimed the theme of the 81st Annual Truckload Carriers Association Convention, TCA President John Lyboldt told convention delegates that to understand the meaning of “Truckload Strong,” one must fully digest the notion of where the association has been and where it is today.
“I truly believe we should respect the past, embrace today and shape the future, knowing that where we have been helps dictate where we are going,” he said.
And it’s going forward, full speed ahead, Lyboldt said, noting that the past year has been a “difference-maker” for the association, thanks to TCA members.
“Our association has chosen a direction that has been defined by you, the collective you, not merely described as an officer or member, but by everyone who lives or breathes truckload, in other words, those of you that are in the room now,” Lyboldt said. “That is what Truckload Strong is, an epiphany that we should not just be in the line, but rather be at the front of it, to not let others decide what we do, but rather determine that for ourselves. That very notion is one in which has always been self-evident, that we and we alone are responsible for the path that we travel.”
He cited two areas where the organization had changed the path of its course — advocacy and education.
In the past, Lyboldt said the organization had let others across the trucking industry dictate that it shouldn’t advocate and should not take the lead on what happens in Washington.
“However, as issues became more and more truckload-centric, our membership became more and more vocal as to their needs and the direction in which our association needed to travel. The desire to tell our story became prevalent and the opportunity was upon us,” Lyboldt said. “We stopped stating that we were the elephant in the room and started acting like it.”
Today, TCA’s advocacy efforts are not defined by following someone else’s lead but rather leading itself, Lyboldt said.
“Truckload issues such as ELDs, sleeper berth flexibility, F4A, and now infrastructure are the topics of discussion on which we must not only listen-in, but lead by example,” he said. “The opportunities to tell our story and the effects that these issues have on our segment are far and wide, and our association is not just a part of the discussions, but rather we are steering them. You, the membership, have decided that. You have elected to become difference makers and have directed us down a strategic path in which success is defined as the crossroads where opportunity and preparation meet. We not only tell our story, but we live it every day. Truckload is not easy. You truly have to be driven to make it work, and our advocacy efforts define that very approach.”
Lyboldt told delegates that at one point in its history, TCA had been defined as the education arm of the trucking industry.
“[That was] a definition bestowed upon us that doesn’t truly solicit a Truckload Strong response, and in fact that definition was hardly embraced by those who owned it, our members,” he said. “Today, I stand before you presenting an education aspect of this association that has not been declared for us, but rather defined by us. We have energized our once stagnant benchmarking program that continues to grow and be the envy of all in the transportation sector.”
TCA has created an environment that strives to make the association, its members and the industry stronger, more knowledgeable and capable of preparing itself for the next generation of leaders, he said.
“We have aligned ourselves with partners that have created the data-driven ability to truly outline the course of our actions,” Lyboldt said. “Our Truckload Indexes microsite was wholeheartedly embraced by TCA’s membership. This incredible platform not only aids in the decision-making capabilities of our members, but provides them with nearly real-time evidence to support those very decisions. We have created an industry-wide education essential that will only get better over time.”
In the next year, the instructional development arm of TCA will roll out an instructor-led educational environment to enable its members to gain comprehensive and profitable approaches across all carrier operational entities that effectively keeps the wheels rolling, and essentially provides themselves with a new and innate ability to tell our story, Lyboldt said.
“That, my friends, is Truckload Strong,” he said. “The aptitude to tell our story and do it well.
If we continually look back at where we have been to find out where we are going, it truly depicts a historical aspect to where our association stands now. They said we couldn’t advocate, yet here we are, advocating. They said our educational programs have grown stale, yet we have developed programs that continue to be coveted by all who experience it. In other words, if those on the outside challenge us, we are dedicated to proving them wrong. My objective in all of this has been that TCA, as whole, had merely survived before but now we thrive. The difference between then and now is that we, the collective we, have just decided to try.”
None of what the association has accomplished the past year could have been done without the engagement of membership, Lyboldt said.
“Gather a common set of business practitioners, provide them with a concept that they will rally around, and build upon the success that arises from it,” he said. “It will not just end there. The spirit of Truckload Strong will grow, and the prevalence of our shield will be more than a pin that adorns your lapel. It will represent a common notion that motor carriers involved specifically in the truckload segment will want to do more, representative of the fact that they can make this industry better, operate more safely, and lead by example.
“The business imperative of being Truckload Strong is shown in the promise to create a membership that is more engaged than ever before, dedicated to telling our story, improving upon our industry safety record, and providing sound, data-driven information that leads to support for sensible regulations,” he concluded.
The convention ends Tuesday night with the annual awards banquet.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.