Chris Spear, a 20-year beltway insider and lobbyist, will serve as the next president and CEO of the American Trucking Assns., the federation of state trucking organizations said in a statement Friday afternoon. A former ATA senior vice president of legislative affairs, Spear will take the helm July 9. He succeeds Bill Graves, who is retiring after more than 13 years with ATA.
Spear has been vice president of government affairs at Hyundai Motor Company since October, and has had a long career on Capitol Hill in federal agencies as well as in the private sector. Previously, Spear successfully led ATA’s efforts on the Hill for 20 months, and “was instrumental in developing and advancing the association’s strategic advocacy agenda,” according to ATA.
“Chris’ enthusiasm for the trucking industry and the mission of ATA—to effectively advocate and communicate efforts that improve safety and profitability for our members—is second to none,” said ATA Chairman Pat Thomas, senior vice president of state government affairs at UPS. “We had many excellent candidates for the position, but Spear is the right fit for the organization. We are extremely pleased that he will be joining us.”
Spear is recognized as a “passionate advocate, effective communicator and relationship builder,” the news release says. Spear was vice president of global government relations at Honeywell International, and he held U.S. administration positions including Assistant Secretary of Labor. Spear also served as professional staff for several Republican members of Congress. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Wyoming.
"I'm honored to have the opportunity to lead this great association and serve this vital industry,” said Spear. “Trucking is the backbone of our economy and a catalyst for American job growth, delivering critical goods to businesses and homes coast-to-coast. I am excited to work alongside ATA’s members and federation partners to ensure the industry continues to prosper and safely move our nation forward.”
Spear was selected by a search committee headed by former ATA Chairman Phil Byrd, president of Bulldog Hiway Express.
“ATA is lucky to be able to bring Chris in as our next leader. This is an important time of transition for our industry and we are confident that Chris has the strategic vision and leadership to maintain ATA’s position as the strongest voice on behalf of the trucking industry in Washington and beyond,” Byrd said. “We are also lucky to have had the services of Bill Graves for the past 13 years and we would be remiss if we did not thank him for his work on our industry’s behalf.”
Outgoing ATA President and CEO Graves will serve as an advisor to ATA for the remainder of 2016, the group says.