John Lyboldt’s story as president of the Truckload Carriers Association may have begun four years ago with the fabled phrase “once upon a time” but that story will be unending as long as he leads the Association.
“Much like any good story, you almost always start with ‘Once upon a time,’ a phrase that is as good as any to reflect the very fact that we are a far cry from where we were when I first took the helm of this proud organization a mere four years ago, still faced with the knowledge that there will always be a lot of hard work that needs to be done,” Lyboldt told delegates in his State of the Association address delivered at the organization’s annual convention.
Like any story, there are highlights and lowlights, good parts and bad ones too, and lessons to be learned from what experience tells us, he said, noting that 2019 brought about a different aspect to the trucking industry the Association, its members, and their operations, too.
“Trucking is a mature industry and strongly correlates, sometimes painfully, to the rising and receding tides of the economy,” said Lyboldt. “We experienced dramatic changes to capacity, assaults on many carriers’ business, and persistent regulatory and legislative pressures that continued to change the landscape of what our industry was. The low barriers to enter this field have created a system reflective of grasping for the lowest common denominator rather than reaching for the stars.”
The organization’s message — building better businesses, creating skilled workforces, driving profitability, and becoming the Voice of Truckload — has not changed, shared Lyboldt.
In fact, it has grown.
“The portrait of our membership has been painted and has come to represent the best this industry has to offer,” he said. “We lead by example, we practice what we preach and must leave no stone unturned in our endless effort to create an industry no longer reflective of the bad apples who bring us down, but rather highlighted by the very best examples of what we have to offer.
“The Association has restructured its education platform, one that is truly beginning to deliver the results that were predicted or, quite frankly, expected,” he said.
“The very premise of emphasizing the mature business models that our members have experienced based upon a strong foundation has shown us that there are opportunities for carriers of all sizes and modes to achieve significant financial and personal rewards as participants in this great industry,” said Lyboldt, who noted that the organization’s growing membership has become involved in telling a story that more and more key decision maker are listening.
“We have been fact-based, data-driven truth tellers, using our knowledge of the industry to bestow that wisdom on Capitol Hill,” he said. “Our shield has become a resource, our message has been deliberate, and unlike most stories, the ending has not, nor ever will, been written.”
The establishing of the Voice of Truckload brand has been beneficial to the Association, its president said.
“Contrary to popular belief, a recent survey of 1,000 business decision makers showed that they value a strong ‘brand’ over any other factor, including price, and that very essence is reflected in our shield,” added Lyboldt. “It is important to recognize the value that we deliver to our membership and the promise we make to each of you that this association is more than just a dues check, but a gathering of ideas, coupled with an opportunity for action, that might just might prove itself to be worthwhile in the very end.”
In closing, Lyboldt issued a challenge to delegates, saying the days of letting others tell the story of truckload is long over and the call to act is now here.
“Our ‘once upon of time’ may have started it all, but the end shall never be written,” he said.
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.