Small carriers and TCA

TCA president Brad Bentley talks about organizational goals, how smaller carriers can benefit

In October 2014, the Truckload Carriers Assn. named Brad Bentley president, succeeding Chris Burruss, who resigned on June 26, 2014. Bentley previously served as co-chair of the Image and Communication Policy Committee. He is also a member of the board of directors as well as the Recruitment and Retention Human Resources Committee. Bentley helped formalize TCA’s partnership with Wreaths Across America and promoted the Highway Angel program. He is active in the Commercial Vehicle Training Assns.’ Marketing Committee and the American Trucking Assns.’ Communications and Image Policy Committee.

Bentley has 26 years of experience in trucking-related publishing, writing, and sales. American Trucker had the opportunity to sit down with Bentley and discuss TCA’s plans moving forward into 2015 and how the organization will be available to help small trucking companies. 

What is the mission of the Truckload Carriers Assn.? 
Our mission is to address education, best practices, networking, image, safety awareness, regulatory education, and advocacy as well as promote an environment that creates healthy and satisfied drivers in the truckload industry.
 
As the president of TCA, what will be the major focus of the organization in 2015? 
We are in the midst of a three-year strategic plan that follows our mission statement. Creating a plan is only half of the process, however, and it is my job to make sure it is successfully implemented. Despite having a lot of ideas for things I would like to implement at TCA in the future, I realize it is important for me to focus on our core competencies right now. Specifically, I would like to increase the participation in our educational programs and networking opportunities, and [improve] the frequency of positive media messages about the trucking industry. 

I also want to help TCA develop a more grassroots approach to industry advocacy and see us become a true resource for drivers and fleet members regarding healthy lifestyle options.

Where will TCA concentrate its educational efforts? 
Driver recruitment and retention, regulatory compliance, and professional development of carriers’ internal staff [are focus areas].

What plans do you have to engage the association’s members in joining this push for educating truckers? 
We are partnering with a TCA member to provide online driver training programs that carriers can use to train their drivers on a number of topics such as defensive driving, HOS and logbooks, CSA, cargo securement, vehicle inspection, drug and alcohol awareness, and wellness.
 
What is TCA’s goal in providing greater knowledge on the business of trucking to truckers? 
TCA’s goal is to provide leadership that will increase members’ productivity, profitability and ability to provide superior service; to advocate on behalf of its members; and to enhance the truckload industry’s ability to provide safe, high-quality, reliable truckload transportation services to the shipping public.
 
What is the Truckload Academy? 
TCA recognizes that trucking industry professionals are on the go and that their responsibilities change as the needs of their organization change. Also, these busy professionals need training that not only keeps up with them, but provides the training they need when they need it. Truckload Academy is TCA’s education, training and professional development program that offers convenient and affordable courses through its Truckload Academy On-demand (TAO), its online learning platform; through Truckload Academy Live Learning, its webinar programs; and through Truckload Academy Certifications. 
 
Why should a carrier with fewer than 10 trucks join TCA? 
The micro-trucking group is a difficult group to reach because the executives are so darn busy running the company and usually don’t have the benefit of many employees to help with their operations. Often, under-10 truck fleets are still a husband-and-wife operation. When we do get their participation, these executives benefit from the vast networking opportunities with other trucking executives. 

I think the best opportunities are within our meetings and conventions, since that ability to network is invaluable. Many of our member trucking companies are very family-centric and have always been willing to share information—even with their competitors. You don’t find that in many industries. 
 
What types of programs and help are there at TCA for the small and micro-trucking companies to help them improve their business and safety performance? 
Our Truckload Academy On-demand is a great resource for small to micro-trucking companies to obtain information on many trucking-related issues. These include employment law, improving your CSA score, and creating a winning safety program, to name a few. The best thing is that the Truckload Academy On-demand is available 24/7, so members can access these educational webinars any time that is convenient for them.
 
What would the annual TCA dues be for a small trucking company with five trucks grossing around $900,000 per year? 
If someone is interested in calculating their annual TCA dues, they can log onto www.duescalculator.com, enter their total truckload revenue from last year, and hit “Tab.” Using your example, the annual dues would only be $448. 
 
As TCA president, what are the three most exciting projects you’re looking forward to working on throughout the next year? 
I am looking forward to working on our health and wellness initiative because it potentially impacts lives. I am equally excited about our “Best Fleets To Drive For” program because it identifies who the innovators are and it is driven by the drivers. TCA will also be rolling out some certification programs for fleet managers, risk management, recruiting and retention, and so forth.
 
What do you see as the greatest strengths you bring to TCA, coming from the truck publishing world? 
If there is one word that best describes the media world in the past few years, it is ‘change.’ Technology evolved for customers and readers to consume their content differently, and I think the trucking industry is similar. From my experience, TCA needs to connect with and engage our members in new ways. I plan to lead us in that direction in 2015.

Contact Tim Brady at [email protected]­uptheroad.com or call 731-749-8567. Join Brady in the Trucking Business Community at www.truckersu.com. 

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