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ON THE HORIZON Trucking Moves America—

And Its Own Image—Forward National campaign brings trucking industry together


Public misperceptions about the trucking

industry and truck drivers have been a growing problem for decades.Now, for the first time, organizations from all segments of the industry — including the Maryland Motor Truck Association — are coming together to do something about it. The Trucking Moves America Forward

campaign officially kicked off in March at the Mid-America Trucking Show. It’s a cooperative effort involving the American Trucking Associations, the Allied Committee for the Trucking Industry (ACT 1), the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), the Owner Operator IndependentDrivers Association (OOIDA), state trucking associations, carriers, and other national and local organizations related to the trucking industry. The group has been working together for close to two years to develop a public relations push with the ultimate goal of educating citizens and policy makers about the importance of the trucking industry to the economy, and about the industry’s progress in the areas of safety and environmental sustainability. “It truly is an industry-wide program,” said

Elisabeth Barna, ATA’s liaison to the Trucking Moves America Forward coordinating group. “We had a group of allied members, ACT 1, TCA and ATA involved in the development and foundation of the program, and then we’ve gotten a number of other segments of the industry involved. They’re supporting the effort financially or through in-kind donations, or just joining the movement and using the logo.” The origins of the TMAF movement

go back to the fall of 2012, when ACT 1 approached Mike Card, then chairman of ATA. ATA hosted a meeting of initial stakeholders in January 2013 to kick off work on the idea, and in May 2013, the group used seed money provided by ACT 1 to hire a public affairs




agency called Story Partners to implement the campaign. The agency conducted focus groups and other research into ways the trucking industry could improve its image, said Jeff Mason, ATA’s executive vice president for communications and public affairs. Different groups within the trucking

industry are usually cooperative, but the TMAF campaign takes that cooperation to a new level, “For the first time, OOIDA has been working very closely with industry groups like ATA,” Mason said. “We shared a stage with them for the first time to announce the campaign. That really showed our unity.We’re trying to keep from branding the campaign as one group — anyone can use the campaign and add it to their signatures online, or attach

their logo to it and use it for their website.” TMAF has three primary target audiences,

Barna said: policy makers such as legislators and government officials; the general public; and, just as importantly, the trucking industry itself. “How can we sell something if we don’t

believe in it?” Barna said. “You’ll hear a driver say ‘I’m just a truck driver,’ or a CEO will say ‘I’m in transportation’, instead of using the word trucking. We need to build pride within our own channels too.” One of the main strategies of the

movement is to put a human face on the trucking industry by finding and telling the stories of individual drivers, technicians and others. TMAF will be traveling the

ROADWISE | ISSUE 4, 2014 |

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