Arkansas Trucking Association

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Up Front- Rays of Light

SHANNON NEWTON 2Shannon Newton
President, ATA

Last week, around 1:18 pm, people gathered on the sidewalk outside the office, passing around pairs of funny cardboard glasses, to crane their necks back and look skyward for the solar eclipse.

Because Arkansas didn’t lie in the path of totality, only 90% of the sun was covered. Ninety percent sounds like a lot, but unless you had the right lenses, the day wasn’t that much different than any other day. Crescent shadows fell on the pavement, and the light was a little dimmer than any other sunny afternoon, like a storm was rolling in but without a cloud in the sky.

Even just ten percent of the sun’s light still made for a mostly bright, hot, summer day.

For our cover story this issue, I got to spend an inspiring morning with Laura Lane, the president of global public affairs at UPS.  She talked about her life and her stance on policies important to the industry, but what I walked away from that meeting with was a sense of hopefulness, that every challenge has a silver lining if you are wearing the right lenses.

Laura’s impressive experience at negotiating tables around the world revealed an unwavering commitment to finding respect for and common ground with anyone in order to achieve solutions that benefit everyone.

This month, UPS’s CEO David Abney and FedEx’s chairman Fred Smith set the example when they penned a letter in the Wall Street Journal recognizing that the same policies that help our competitors to succeed are also the cornerstone of our own success. We all will help more customers and make greater contributions to our communities if we stand together on tax reform, rebuilding our infrastructure and healthy trade policies.

The tendency to resist change or to keep your competitors at a distance is normal. But success isn’t a result of normal thinking. It’s abnormal optimism.

On Laura’s desk was a quote, "Sometimes in great darkness, all you need is a single ray of light." Like the tiny 10 percent sliver of the sun. She told us that positivity is what makes things happen, “You've got to find a way, and the way is possible if you just think and partner and ally with others.”

Technology. The environment. The changing face of the workforce. The economy. There’s very little certainty and a whole lot of change on the horizon for our industry. What we need to endure those changes is dogged optimism and a reminder that we are all in this together.

Pass me a pair of those glasses, if we unite when it matters, the future is bright.

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
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