Before I start, I have to make a disclaimer … I’m not ‘woke,’ and I’m not PC.”
These words, spoken by keynote speaker Dr. Benjamin S. Carson Monday, March 21, during the first general session of Truckload 2022: Las Vegas, drew chuckles and applause from the audience. The presentation was made possible by International Trucks.
“That doesn’t mean that I’m not nice,” he continued in a quiet but compelling voice. “I never like to offend people, but at the same time, I don’t believe in twisting yourself into a pretzel so that you don’t offend anybody.”
As Carson shared his story of growing up in poverty and overcoming obstacles — both personal and those imposed by society — to become a groundbreaking neurosurgeon, the audience grew quiet and attentive.
Carson, who has earned numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, was Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for nearly three decades, served as the 17th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and is the founder and chairman of the American Cornerstone Institute.
He also has close ties to the trucking industry: He serves on the Board of Directors for Chattanooga-based Covenant Transport.
During his address, Carson spoke passionately about the danger “cancel culture” poses to humanity, noting that differences of opinion can be a good thing and that it is possible to disagree with a person yet still remain friends or maintain a beneficial business relationship.
A love for America and its people, a strong spiritual faith, and a desire to help others are at the root of Carson’s philosophy and purpose.
He pointed to the trucking community as a strong example of what it means to help others, regardless of their race, social status, or other factors.
“One of the things that really impressed me about a lot of our professional truck drivers is they really do look around and try to help people,” he shared. “They frequently will help a stranded driver, someone that they don’t even know. It’s something that we all need to strive to emulate.”
He also encouraged those at all levels of business to “think outside the box” when seeking solutions, and to inspire employees to succeed.
“Can you imagine what it’s like to be a first-year long-haul truck driver? Or a supervisor of such a driver, or even a C-suite person?” he said. “Sometimes they don’t do everything perfectly, and then to (have) people just come down on them rather than have people make helpful suggestions. What an incredible difference this could make.”
During Tuesday’s general session, featured speakers Hector Monsegur, a former black hat hacker, and former FBI agent Christopher Tarbell, regaled the group with the story of an unlikely friendship, as well as the importance of cybersecurity. The presentation was made possible by Pilot Flying J.
After being turned in to authorities by a fellow hacker, arrested by Tarbell, and facing a prison sentence of more than 100 years, Monsegur spent the better part of a year helping the FBI identify and stop other hackers.
Today the duo travels to share their intertwined stories, evoking laughter while impressing upon listeners just how easily hackers can access online information and offering tips for preventing security breaches.
Following the presentation, Monsegur and Tarbell fielded questions from the audience about securing sensitive or proprietary information, how cyberattacks can impact automated logistics systems and vehicles, and how to secure personal data.
To view photos from the presentations, visit TCA’s Flickr album at truckload.org/Flickr.
The Truckload Authority News Staff, comprised of award winning journalists and graphic artists, produces content for Truckload Authority, working in cooperation with the Truckload Carriers Association staff. Truckload Authority aims to keep TCA members abreast on the latest trends in the trucking industry as well as articles that feature TCA member executives and drivers. The Truckload Authority staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.