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COVER STORY


member as Curt Laingen Trucking.” Soon Laingen was a dedicated, active,


forward-thinking member. “I made the mistake of asking at a council meeting if we had a state driving championship. They said ‘no, but we should’ then sent me out to start it,” Laingen laughed. Laingen became such an integral force in


the association that he was offered a full-time position. In July 1989, Laingen made another career change and leaving his teaching position, he moved to Helena to become the safety director for MMCA. His career at MMCA was focused on


creating a Department of Transportation (DOT) safety sand compliance program as well as a worker’s compensation safety and purchasing group. At the time he was hired, MMCA had hit a plateau; membership was stagnant. Initiating these programs and expanding the roles of the councils helped make the association more marketable to new members. “I wish I could explain to everyone how far


we’ve come,” Laingen said. During his seven years with MMCA, membership grew by 25 percent to more than 400 members. It was as much a learning experience for Laingen as it was for the association.


“Members only came


to the association with problems,” Laingen said. “By helping them solve their problems, you learn more about the industry. I didn’t know half as much about trucking when I started as what I learned from the members.” After MMCA, Laingen went on to work


safety, sales and operations jobs at a handful of trucking companies in Montana and Wyoming before finally returning to Curt Laingen Trucking full-time. As a member, Laingen has continued to be involved in the Motor Carriers of Montana (MCM). On Aug. 20, 2010, he once again took a leadership position with MCM when became president. Now he is approaching CSA 2010,


hours-of-service (HOS), electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) and the like with both an association manager’s and association member’s perspective. “The association can contact regulators and politicians in a way that we as individuals can’t do,” Laingen said. “We’re so busy with our business that we have to rely on MCM to maintain those relationships for us.” As a CSA 2010 pilot state, Montana has


the benefit of looking into the crystal ball. Laingen says he has not seen the driver shortages and “hysterical fear” predicted by so


12


THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT CURT LAINGEN…


• His uncle, Bruce Laingen, was the Ambassador toMalta; the senior U.S. official held during the Iran hostage crisis from Nov. 4, 1979 to Jan. 20, 1981.


• Attended Golden Valley Lutheran College inMinneapolis on football and music scholarships


• Quit college to join a traveling choir • Received his first cow from his grandfather at age 6 • Curt and his sister are adopted.


• Key to a successful business: “As my grandpa and dad taught me, don’t buy it unless you can pay for it.”


• Best friend: Kippy the “cow dog,” a 4-year-old Australian Sheppard


many in the industry. “MCM has done a good job of educating its membership on how to check their scores and what is means overall.” With new HOS rules expected from the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) in November and a federal mandate requiring EOBRs already before Congress, the need for MCM to keep members updated and informed isn’t likely to diminish. Continuing to keep membership


compliant with new safety regulations, providing networking opportunities and lobbying on their behalf all remain priorities for Laingen as MCM president. Additionally, and like most association chairs, he hopes to increase membership as well as participation by current members. “We think everyone knows about us


because we talk to members,” Laingen said. “Montana has a ton of small one to two driver operations where trucking is the ancillary business to their larger company. Those are the people we need to recruit.” Now, at 57 years old with experience in


every facet of the trucking industry, Laingen says there is still something he hopes to gain from his position as chairman: knowledge. “When you’re in your 30s, you think you’ve learned as much as there is to learn. But I’m still learning, everyday, from the people around me.” RW


“I THINK THE


ONLY MISTAKE MY PARENTS MADE IN RAISING MEWAS NOT TELLING ME THERE ARE SOME


THINGS I CAN’T DO.”


ROADWISE |


ISSUE 5, 2010 | www.mttrucking.org


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