It is a traditional rite of passage at the Truckload Carriers Association’s annual convention:
The outgoing chairman stands before the audience of some 1,200 members, commending them for a job well done during the year that just ended.
Shortly thereafter, the incoming chairman stands before the same audience, thanks them for the privilege of serving as chair, and talks about how much TCA has to offer and how the association has impacted him.
This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, that traditional rite took on a different look as outgoing Chairman Dennis Dellinger and incoming Chairman Jim Ward delivered their remarks via video to participants at TCA’s virtual Spring Business Meetings.
OUTGOING CHAIRMAN DENNIS DELLINGER
“Everything turned upside down,” said Cargo Transporters, Inc.’s President and CEO Dellinger. “Little did we know that the association calendar would be altered in such a dramatic way, allowing no in-person meetings.”
But, despite the drastic changes, TCA had a good year.
“This past year, TCA, much like the industry we are a part of, called on us to unite, to stand proud, and to succeed as an association,” said Dellinger. “Though I can’t boast improved numbers at in-person meetings this past year, I can tell you the business of this association continued in a manner that has made me proud to serve as your chairman during these unprecedented times.”
Dellinger said it would have been quite simple for TCA to fold the tent and go home … to have packed it in for a year and just write it off to a global pandemic.
“Yet because of the strength of our membership and the determination of our staff, the exact opposite has happened,” he shared. “The TCA staff went into response mode. Like clockwork, each morning at 10:30, the daily COVID-19 briefing was sent, reaching beyond our membership, delivering fact-based information in a time of uncertainty. It was well received by an industry that was deemed essential, and one that answered the call of duty, when many other industries found themselves closing up shop.”
Dellinger cited multiple TCA success stories from his tenure as chairman.
As with most meetings in 2020, TCA had to shutter its in-person Safety & Security Meeting last June, which typically garners 200 safety professionals. The virtual event was wildly successful, attracting more than 1,200 individuals.
Additionally, office closures on Capitol Hill derailed the annual Call on Washington last September, as well as and on-site Fall Business Meetings, but TCA pivoted to host a successful virtual meeting featuring Rep. David Price (D-NC-4) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MISS) discussing truckload issues with attendees, as well as answering questions as follow up.
“After being thrust into an environment best described as virtual-centric, demand for educational and recognition programs saw exponential participation growth,” shared Dellinger. “Webinar registrations continued to generate in excess of 600 participants, affirmation that the topics are relevant and that sponsorships justify dollars spent.”
Dellinger asked virtual attendees, “How do we keep up the current momentum?”
“Prior to my chairmanship, we had individuals with the foresight to understand the importance of a transition that recognizes success and prior accomplishments while maintaining continuity and completing objectives and goals that define the association,” commented Dellinger. “This unpredictable year, COVID-19 and all the other obstacles have tried to place hurdles, but our membership, with ardent resolve and steadfast direction, has not lost stride, clearing the way for an even smoother transition and a stronger TCA tomorrow.”
Dellinger said this will be a year that he will always remember.
“I have witnessed the determination of an industry destined to serve its country, the passion of our membership anxious to support its association, and finally, the dedication of a staff devoted to moving the association forward,” he said. “We have been blessed with an industry that breeds a willingness to succeed and a desire to prosper. While my time as chairman has reached its end, my time as a member of TCA has not. I look forward to tomorrow and what it holds for this association I love dearly. Thank each of you for allowing me the opportunity to serve as your chairman. It has been an absolute honor.”
INCOMING CHAIRMAN JIM WARD
“I had hoped to address the convention audience in person, but obviously the environment surrounding this pandemic has prevented that from happening,” said D.M. Bowman Inc.’s President Ward.
Ward said his 43 years in the transportation industry, 30 of those in trucking, have led to a lifetime of transportation experiences — and the rewards and challenges associated with them.
That includes time spent as a member and officer of TCA.
“I have experienced the platform that membership in this great organization offers,” shared Ward. “In my time as a member, an officer, and now, your incoming chair, justifying the dues to TCA was a simple endeavor. There is tremendous value in being associated with like-minded people who are dealing with similar situations.”
Ward noted that over the years TCA has put a price tag on something each member treasures, more so now than ever before.
Ward said TCA members have been able to surround themselves with people that live the same lives, deal with the same problems, and celebrate the solutions that may not always come easily. “TCA has provided the very foundation for my wife, Starla, and me to build a network of professionals and dear friends through the years,” commented Ward.
Ward’s trucking career began at Western Maryland Railroad. In 1986, he transitioned to D.M. Bowman which was founded 62 years ago when Don Bowman climbed into his B model Mack to haul coal. In 1966, the company obtained ICC authority and joined TCA at the same time.
“Yes, you heard that right, and maybe even did the math. D.M. Bowman has been a member of this organization for 55 years and is a better company today because of our participation,” said Ward, who expressed excitement about the opportunity to see the membership in person at Truckload 2021: Las Vegas.
“This revamped schedule demonstrates the time in which we live, and also shows the flexibility of the association to pivot so that our membership wants and needs remain at the forefront when it pertains to steering this organization,” Ward concluded.
Lyndon Finney’s publishing career spans over 55 years beginning with a reporter position with the Southwest Times Record in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in 1965. Since then he’s been a newspaper editor at the Southwest Times Record, served five years as assistant managing editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock and from November 2004 through December 2019 served as editor of The Trucker. Between newspaper jobs he spent 14 years as director of communications at Baptist Health, Arkansas’ largest healthcare system. In addition to his publishing career he served for 46 years as organist at Little Rock’s largest Baptist church.