OTA Dispatch Issue 3, 2022

25 www.ortrucking.org Issue 3 | 2022 Having spent nearly 20 years working in the political realm, an industry that can be marked by its share of cynicism, Evan cites the people as one of his favorite things about the trucking industry. Referring to those in the industry as “salt of the earth,” Evan finds trucking a much easier industry to defend than others. “Trucking is an easy industry to be proud of,” Evan offered, “Being hardworking, family-oriented, and patriotic are all part of trucking’s culture.” Evan welcomes the opportunity to educate others on how trucking functions as the backbone of the country and defend the reputation of trucking, pointing out truck drivers as unsung heroes of the country. Trucking’s Biggest Hurdles Evan’s unique perspective again comes into play when evaluating some of the industry’s biggest challenges and how they can create somewhat of a “chicken or the egg” environment. He points out that trucking is under-resourced as compared to other industries, creating a low-margin, time-intensive business. This, in turn, makes it a struggle to have adequate representation and participation from the industry. “The nature of the trucking business is that our folks are busy working and cannot always show up. The country depends on trucks to keep making deliveries, no matter the heavy regulatory burden and increasing operational costs. That’s why it is so important to get involved with state trucking associations, so there is a united front.” Respecting the Bigger Picture Trucking is a diverse industry, with diverse priorities and problems. Those expand even more outside of the industry. Evan has witnessed the tunnel vision that can afflict those busy working in their individual sectors of the industry, thus missing the larger trend that can impact all of trucking. Whether it is talking to fellow truckers from other sectors, skeptical policymakers, or even trucking critics, Evan offered some words of wisdom, namely: “Don’t be afraid to stick your hand out and meet people. Have a conversation and keep an open mind about things.” Evan gained expertise by participating in associations and other groups. He was able to obtain a better understanding of the various sectors in trucking, as well as perspectives from outside the industry. “Interacting with your like-minded peers is a valuable practice, but it’s also insightful to engage with those coming at issues differently,” Evan advises, “You may not agree with their position. You may question the basis of their argument. Their opinions may sway you or just reinforce your original stance. In the end, you’ll be better at representing the trucking industry by seeing the bigger picture.” Of course, conversations, like with the best freight routes, need to be freeflowing in both directions with a limited number of hidden pot holes. Does Size Really Matter? When it comes to trucking, that’s a yes and no answer. Issues including equipment availability, customer expectations, and workforce challenges unite carriers of any size. But the paths can diverge, according to Evan. “Global carriers, by default, often have more resources to address issues; however, getting answers can be more difficult because of the levels of management involved and additional restrictions.” In addition to getting answers more quickly, Evan points to the nimbleness of smaller carriers. “Smaller carriers can react and adapt faster. Larger carriers tend to be more cumbersome, and it takes longer to implement change.”