TMAF leaders summarize 2016 accomplishments in call

WASHINGTON — The leaders of Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF), the trucking industry’s effort at education and image, today held a telephone press conference to discuss TMAF’s latest results  for 2016.

“It’s hard to believe that we’re in year three, when many people thought we’d never get this off the ground,” said Kevin Burch, co-chairman of TMAF, president of Jet Express Inc. and chairman of the American Trucking Associations (ATA). “Since our last public update this past spring, we’ve hit new, positive milestones on so many fronts – from expanding our reach with a member database topping three thousand, building our donor base, and further engaging with lawmakers, the industry, the media and the public,” “Our progress is a testament to all that our donors and supporters have done throughout the year, signaling a bright future ahead for TMAF.”

TMAF kicked off at the 2014 Mid-America Trucking Show, he said.

Burch also highlighted the success of the TMAF trailer wrap program.

“Trailer wraps educate millions of people,” he said. “We’ve done about 140 trailer wraps and we need to keep our goal of 200 within reach.” Burch added that each wrap, according to industry research, is seen by about 16 million people.

“We have a story to tell about what we do and why we do it,” he said.

Elisabeth Barna, chief operating officer and executive vice president of Industry Affairs at ATA, said the industry sees TMAF as a major tool for telling a story and changing perceptions and pointed to the efforts to lobby for infrastructure improvements.

“We are very excited that President-elect Trump has announced that he will make infrastructure a priority” for the new administration, she said. “To keep our efforts moving forward, TMAF needs support from organizations throughout the industry. We are building a true grassroots movement one step at a time. We are seeing examples of our efforts working, and we are thrilled.”

Wendy Hamilton, senior manager of sales marketing at Pilot Flying J, spoke about how TMAF has successfully bolstered its online community and engagement through digital and social media, adding that TMAF surpassed 10,000 Facebook likes this past summer and increased its Twitter following by 25 percent.

Steve Ponder, executive vice president of Great West Casualty and TMAF co-chair, reminded listeners of the industry’s image campaign during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (NTDAW) in September.

During NTDAW, TMAF communicated the economic value of trucking and a positive image of drivers through its “amateur/professional” campaign, portraying truck drivers in family situations. The ad buy yielded more than 8 million impressions and included billboards and newspaper print and digital ads in major trucking corridors, such as Missoula; Dallas; Kansas City, Missouri; Knoxville; Dayton and Indianapolis, Ponder said.

“We’ve received national recognition,” he said. “In August, PR News named TMAF a finalist for its platinum award in the branding category. We also achieved success through earned media. In addition to Kevin Burch, we enlisted some drivers to write op-eds.

“Part of our efforts are to demonstrate not just the economic value of trucking, but to improve the image of drivers – proving that drivers are family members, neighbors, and community members just like anyone else,” said Ponder. “This theme was highlighted again throughout 2016 and shone through in a big way with our robust earned and paid media campaigns.”

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