ATA hosts annual trucking conference this week in Rogers

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 322 views 

Nearly 300 trucking industry leaders are expected to attend the annual Arkansas Trucking Association (ATA) Conference & Vendor Showcase this week in Rogers.

The ATA will host the conference from Wednesday (May 8) to Friday (May 10). The conference events will largely take place at Rogers Convention Center and include speakers who will discuss economics, politics, autonomous vehicles and litigation.

Andrew Boyle, chairman of the American Trucking Associations and co-president of Boyle Transportation, will be the keynote speaker and provide the state of the industry address at 1:30 p.m. Thursday (May 9). Boyle will discuss the most pressing industry challenges, such as electric vehicle mandates and threats to the independent contractor model.

At noon Friday, Hunter Yurachek, vice chancellor and director of athletics for the University of Arkansas, will be the featured speaker during the awards luncheon when ATA recognizes the state’s top driver, maintenance professional and safety professional. Fleet safety awards will also be announced.

The noon Thursday luncheon will feature Jonathan Martin, Politico’s politics bureau chief. He will share his observations on trends shaping national politics, the presidential race and the role of the national media.

On Friday, Rich Pianka, general counsel and executive vice president of American Trucking Associations, will explain how litigation has emerged as an important advocacy tool. Policy debates and burdensome regulations are more commonly being challenged in court. Pianka will talk about the role litigation plays in advocating for a safe, efficient and successful trucking industry.

A panel discussion on autonomous technology will take place Thursday afternoon. Longtime executive Craig Harper, who recently retired from J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., will moderate the discussion that will include Rich Steiner of Gatik, Michael Wiesinger of Kodiak and Sam Loesche of Waabi.

Shannon Newton, president of the Arkansas Trucking Association

Other speakers include Brent Williams, dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the UA, and Jamie Bishop and Jill Lange, both of Cottingham & Butler. Williams will discuss how economic changes affect local, national and global supply chains. Bishop and Lange will discuss driver and non-driver pay and benefits and remaining competitive in a tough economy.

The three-day event kicks off Wednesday afternoon with two networking opportunities ­— a fundraiser golf tournament at Shadow Valley Country Club to support the Arkansas Trucking Association Political Action Committee and a welcome reception at Rogers Convention Center. The event’s 26 vendors will have exhibits throughout the week.

“The regulatory, political, legal and economic climates will always present challenges for the trucking industry to navigate,” said ATA President Shannon Newton. “Our carriers have experienced a tough few years while continuing to serve Arkansas communities and deliver America’s freight. The annual conference serves as a communal gathering for industry leaders to celebrate our achievements and imagine innovative solutions to shared concerns.”