The 2020 pandemic brought forth plenty of changes in the trucking industry, but they weren’t all negative. One of the incredible opportunities to come out of 2020 was the well-deserved spotlight placed on truck drivers and the trucking industry as essential workers delivering critical goods and services to the American people.
In a recent episode of DriverReach Chats, DriverReach’s Jeremy Reymer spoke with Kevin Burch, Co-Chairman of Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF) about the mission and vision of TMAF, the image of the trucking industry in America, and more. A true industry veteran, Kevin has spent more than 47 years in the trucking world, has served as chairman of both the ATA and TCA, and received multiple industry awards. His true passion, however, is building up the trucking industry’s image and putting drivers on a path to success.
You can watch Jeremy and Kevin’s entire conversation here.
Trucking Moves America Forward
A few years back, Kevin and his colleagues were discussing the fact that all of the industry conversations and presentations and content focused on one main topic: the ongoing driver shortage. The idea for TMAF was born as a grassroots effort to address this challenge by focusing on the industry as a whole. TMAF was able to raise a million dollars in just one year from carrier associations, which gave them the opportunity to tell the story of the trucking industry that needed to be told.
More than 8 million people currently work in trucking, with more than 3 million drivers, and as an industry that represents around 5% of the country’s total GDP it is remarkably misunderstood to the general public. The mission of TMAF is to leverage every single resource, channel, and person in the industry to help spread the word about what being part of the trucking industry actually means. Truck drivers aren’t just drivers anymore, they are professionals delivering America’s goods.
Kevin and the TMAF team are dedicating themselves to spreading this new image of the industry through things like media opportunities, government meetings, online content, trailer wraps, and even in-person efforts like school career days and presentations.
Understanding the current image of the industry
This past year has been a huge boon for the trucking industry. Driver pay is up across the board, the industry is getting the respect and recognition it deserves, and people are interested in what drivers and carriers are doing. Truckers themselves are the people who travel when others don’t want to. They are the first responders to any crisis, delivering food, water, generators, supplies, and resources to people who need it. This shift in industry image has affected everyone from small to medium to large carriers. Whether you have 500 trucks or 5,000 trucks, it’s all about the administration and relationships.
Leveraging this new industry image to attract new drivers
Yes, the driver shortage is still there, but now is the perfect time to find the right, qualified drivers to fill open spots. More and more carriers are taking innovative approaches that have resulted in shorter routes, higher pay, bonuses, and more. These are all great steps, but the people need to know that this is happening in the industry.
The work TMAF is doing to spread the word about the industry is directly related to the ongoing promotion to new, younger drivers. So often, carriers and industry professionals get stuck in the trucking bubble and aren’t open or vocal about the benefits of the industry. TMAF is taking a frontline approach to promotional efforts, content, and more to attract new drivers to the booming industry.
For more information, you can visit www.truckingmovesamerica.com or send a note to TMAF@trucking.org. You can watch the entire conversation with Kevin, as well as all of our past DriverReach chats here.
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Listen to Taking the Hire Road podcast, hosted by Jeremy Reymer and in collaboration with FreightWaves, for timely conversations with industry experts. For more information, or to join a live group demo, visit www.driverreach.com/livedemo