TMAF Meets First-Year Fundraising Goal, Plans to Expand Message During 2015

By Eugene Mulero Staff Reporter –LOUISVILLE, Ky.

After reaching its $1 million fundraising mark for 2014, a coalition that promotes the trucking industry’s image and safety record plans to raise more this year, an industry executive said here March 25 at the Mid-America Trucking Show. Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express Inc. and second vice chairman of American Trucking Associations, said the “Trucking Moves America Forward” coalition is determined to continue to raise awareness about the industry’s contributions to the nation’s economy through social media campaigns and traditional advertising. “We’re trying to get all of the professional drivers involved; trying to get the legislative people and the motoring public to understand what we do,” Burch told Transport Topics. “We got momentum going. The state associations, I’ve noticed, have really embraced TMAF. The associations, I think, are saying, ‘You know what? This is something that people want to use to promote our industry.’ So I really look forward to the second year.” Burch also touted the coalition’s efforts since the launch. Thus far, 140 more donors have signed up, and there are prominent sponsorships on the Love’s Travel Stops and Pilot Flying J NASCAR race cars. The coalition has an active presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Coalition-sponsored messages have accounted for more than 25,000 YouTube views, more than 2,300 Facebook “likes” and nearly 900 Twitter followers. Dick Pingel, from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, echoed Burch’s enthusiasm. “From the professional truck drivers, to the technicians, travel-plaza attendants, dispatchers, and others, all who have joined together . . .,” the coalition is making a difference, Pingel said. “We must continue to tell the story that today’s drivers are skilled professionals and devoted family men and women, trained to focus on safety, efficiency and reliability, while operating the safest and most sustainable trucks,” added Keith Tuttle, president of Motor Carrier Service and chairman of the Truckload Carriers Association.

A significant number of drivers have been responding to the campaign as well. “As a driver, we are the public image of the trucking industry. We know that safety and respect is critical to our image, and TMAF, through its resources, will help us showcase our safe-driving records and a greater image overall,” trucker Don Logan said. During 2015, the coalition plans to launch a national campaign to press federal lawmakers to pass long-term highway legislation, according to ATA. The public education effort also will look to educate policymakers about the industry’s regulatory concerns and to encourage employees and other groups to tell people how they promote roadway safety. The coalition currently consists of ATA, OOIDA, TCA and companies including Allison Transmission, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, Bridgestone Commercial Solutions, Bulldog Hiway Express, Castrol Heavy Duty Lubricants, Combined Transport Inc., Cummins Inc., Daimler Trucks North America and Dana Holding Corp. This year, the coalition has expanded its online multimedia presence by adding new videos, images and literature detailing the industry’s safety aspects. The group’s website also includes a health and fitness advice section featuring author and motivational speaker Pete Thomas, a former contestant on NBC’s “Biggest Loser.” There also is an easy-to-use page that people may access for making donations for promotional efforts. The coalition also is making available banners along with full-trailer wraps for anyone interested in promoting the campaign. The cost of the trailer wraps, with installation, is estimated at $3,000.

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© Transport Topics, American Trucking Associations Inc.
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