OTA Dispatch Issue 1, 2022

Oregon Trucking Associations, Inc. Oregon Truck Dispatch FOR MOST OF us, trucking has never been just a job. We understand the key role that trucking plays in keeping our country’s economy moving and appreciate our impact on each and every community we serve. We are proud to know and work with the men and women—colleague or competitor—who make up our increasingly diverse workforce. The past few years have placed a spotlight on our everyday dedication to delivering the goods people depend on, but it’s also made clear that advocacy doesn’t only happen in the halls of government (or via official Zoom meetings, as the case may be). Advocacy also happens on the streets. You can see that in action with what’s currently happening in Canada. Trucking is in the unique position of having entire fleets of traveling “brand ambassadors” and mobile billboards. All of this should build awareness, so why does it seem like trucking fades into the background more often than not? We know a lot of people think items magically appear on their store shelves or that cargo is moved by an army of freight fairies—if they think of it at all. While recent news coverage of the supply chain issues and ongoing labor shortage may seem like justification for what our industry has been saying for years, it doesn’t solve the problems at hand. It’s still up to us to advocate for our industry. To explain why trucking is important. To make clear that the industry is full of career-building, well-paying jobs behind the wheel or behind a desk. To change the narrative into one that correctly portrays our workforce as knowledgeable, highly-trained, and motivated by safety. It’s time to build our brand. Recruitment and retention have come to define our labor challenges, especially in reference to drivers. But what exactly does that mean? I admit there’s no easy answer. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for every fleet. One thing is clear when it comes to recruitment, we must seek out new pools of workers to pull from and, as we do, be more vocal about the benefits the trucking industry offers. I personally have explored a number of different avenues over the years. It takes time and effort to not only think outside the box, but to actually work beyond what has been standard practice. Not too long ago, I sat down with an industry media outlet to talk about how the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Workforce Programs can boost trucking industry awareness and employment opportunities. While I’ve served on the Southwestern Oregon Workforce Investment Board since 2015, there’s still a severe lack of industry representation on boards like it. This is the type of advocacy that anyone can get involved in and it’s something that we will directly benefit from. It’s also an area that OTA plans to engage with more fully—stay tuned for more details on that in 2022. When it comes to retention, that can be even harder to quantify. Work priorities have shifted in the past few years and not everyone is swayed by monetary compensation. So, what’s the hook that you can use to retain employees and continue to build your team? I’ll leave that answer up to you. Just know that knowledge is power. You can’t act if you don’t ask. Find out what’s important to employees and then determine what you have to offer. Think of it as advocating for your own company. What’s your pitch? Some of trucking’s best attributes—hard work and dedication—can lead us to keep our heads down and focus on what’s directly in front of us. As the great 1980s philosopher Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” I urge you to look up and get out there. You are the best advocate for your business and our industry. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at what OTA has on the agenda. Consider serving on a committee. Become a Key Contact and build relationships with decisionmakers. Explore local opportunities. Find ways for your voice to be heard and elevate our industry. 2 Andy Owens OTA Chair Some of trucking’s best attributes— hard work and dedication—can lead us to keep our heads down and focus on what’s directly in front of us. Building our “Brand”