Arkansas Trucking Association

Four USA Truck Veteran Drivers Receive Military-Themed Tractors

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USA Truck presented personalized, military-themed tractors to four of its outstanding veteran driving team members during a celebration at the company’s corporate headquarters on Sept. 11.

David Bell (U.S. Navy), Robert Decker (U.S. Air Force), Michael Powell (U.S. Marines) and Jodie Yoder (U.S. Army) each received a 2016 International ProStar with patriotic highlights, along with a personalized dog tag decal bearing their name and branch of service. The recipients were selected based on tenure and safety record. 

In addition, USA Truck reaffirmed its ongoing support of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund with a donation on behalf of the company’s entire driving fleet. The event was a prelude to National Driver Appreciation Week. 

“USA Truck has a deep appreciation for those who have served and who continue to serve our nation,” said Tom Glaser, President & CEO of USA Truck. “It dates back to the vision of one of our company’s founders, Mr. Robert Powell, a former Navy aviator who built USA Truck in a military image. Our bar and star logo is inspired by the insignia on the plane he piloted while serving aboard the USS Intrepid. We are honored to continue the tradition of recognizing our outstanding USA Truck veteran team members, who make up more than a quarter of our workforce. Their excellence sets them apart, so it’s only fitting that their tractors stand out as well.”

Con-way bought by XPO Logistics for $3 billion, will be rebranded as XPO

XPO Logistics announced its plans to acquire Con-way Inc., one of the country’s largest trucking companies.

The $3 billion deal is expected to close in October, and Con-way will then be merged with another XPO subsidiary. 

All of the divisions under Con-way, which include Con-way Freight, Menlo Logistics, Con-way Truckload and Con-way Multimodal, will be rebranded as XPO Logistics. 

The acquisition will make XPO the second largest less-than-truckload carrier in North America, the company says. 

““Con-way is a premier platform that we will run with a fresh set of eyes as part of our broader offering,” said Bradley Jacobs, chairman and CEO of XPO Logistics.

Douglas Stotlar, president and CEO of Con-way, said shareholders, customers, drivers and employees will benefit from the acquisition.

“The combination will mean more services for our customers, more miles for our drivers and more career opportunities for our employees as part of XPO’s global organization. We look forward to working with the XPO team to complete the transaction and ensure a smooth transition,” Stotlar said.

Drones Restricted over Arkansas State Capitol

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Drones and other unmanned aircraft have been restricted from flying over the Arkansas State Capitol. 

The ban includes airspace over the Capitol Building and any area immediately surrounding Capitol grounds. It refers to both recreational and professional drone usage, Arkansas State Capitol Police said. 

“We have been discussing this issue for over a year and have determined these restrictions are necessary for the safety and security of the Capitol, its visitors and employees,” said State Capitol Police Chief Darrell Hedden.

Anyone caught violating this policy will be subject to criminal and civil penalties under Arkansas and federal law, police said.

ATA's Chris Spear to Join Hyundai

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Chris Spear, senior vice president at American Trucking Associations, will leave the federation in October for a position at the Hyundai Motor Co.

“In his time with ATA, Chris has done a terrific job advancing our diverse legislative agenda and has been a valuable asset to the entire trucking industry,” President Bill Graves said. “We are very sorry to see him go, but wish him nothing but continued success in this new opportunity.”

Before leaving ATA, Spear will continue to lead the federation’s legislative efforts at a markup of a highway bill by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“I have greatly enjoyed my time at ATA and feel good about the legislative successes we’ve achieved and what we are about to accomplish this fall,” Spear said. “I want to thank Gov. Graves, ATA's leadership and members as well as my great staff and colleagues for their support and the opportunity to serve this great industry.”

TCA President Steps Down


Brad Bentley resigned from his position as president of the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), citing family obligations in his native Alabama.

“It has been my distinct honor to serve as president of the Truckload Carriers Association for the past ten months,” he said, “but the time has come for a new direction.”

Bentley plans to take time off before pursuing other opportunities in the trucking industry.

Under the guidance of Chairman Keith Tuttle, TCA’s officers are in the process of assembling a search task force to find a replacement. The staff, under the leadership of executive vice president Bill Giroux and vice president Debbie Sparks, are committed to moving TCA’s mission forward.

CVSA Appoints New President for 2015-2016

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The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) transitioned to its new leadership team for the 2015-2016 term on Sept. 18, 2015, at the Alliance’s 2015 Annual Conference & Exhibition in Boise, Idaho.

Maj. Jay Thompson of the Arkansas Highway Police was named the new president of the Alliance. “I am honored to represent CVSA as the president. I will work diligently to continue the Alliance’s mission of improving commercial vehicle safety across North America,” said CVSA President Maj. Jay Thompson. “My goals for my term as president are to provide more diversified, flexible and cost effective tools to help roadside inspectors and commercial motor vehicle drivers maintain and improve their skills. I also plan to continue the work started by previous CVSA presidents.”

CVSA President Maj. Jay Thompson has been a law enforcement officer in Arkansas for 24 years. His first CVSA experience was in 2003 in Columbus, Ohio, when he competed in the North American Inspectors Championship (NAIC) and was awarded the John Youngblood Award of Excellence. Maj. Thompson has also served as Region II chair for the Cooperative Hazardous Materials Enforcement Development (COHMED) Program, Region II president, and the Size and Weight Committee chair.

2015 SuperTech Grand Champion

The 11th annual SuperTech was held September 21-24 during TMC’s fall meeting at the Dolphin Resort at Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Eric Vos, a FedEx Freight technician from Boise, Idaho, who took home second place in 2014, finished as grand champion this year.

All top 4 spots and the team competition belonged to FedEx Freight. Brian Blevins, Harrison, Ark. (top score for the Fasteners, Starting & Charging and Wheel End stations), finished in second place, Josh Nordick, Roseville, Minn. in third place and Kevin Roumpapas, Rochester, N.Y., in fourth.

Grand Champion of the Arkansas Technician Championship, Truck Centers of Arkansas’ Aaron Martin, Springdale, Ark., was named a finalist, and another Arkansas technician, Jesse Elmore of USA Truck also made Arkansas proud, earning the top score at the lighting station during the Monday qualifying rounds.

The Technology & Maintenance Council’s SuperTech competition recognizes and improves technicians’ skills. This year, the competition also celebrated up-and-coming technician students during the 2015 TMCFutureTech. The student competition was designed to promote career opportunities as heavy-truck technicians and recognize the shortage of technicians at fleets.

Teamsters Awarded $4.6 Million for Trucking Training

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The Teamsters Safety and Health Department has been awarded a $4.6 million grant, to be awarded over a five-year funding cycle, by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to establish apprenticeship programs for workers in the trucking industry.

The DOL published a Notice of Funding Opportunity in the fall of 2014 in an effort to develop a trained workforce in industries that are deemed critical to the U.S. economy and have significant demand for or shortages of qualified workers.

"The Teamsters are at the forefront of worker training and this new grant from the Labor Department will enable workers to get the skills that employers seek," said James P. Hoffa, Teamsters General President.

In addition to creating certified apprenticeship programs, the grant funding must be used to develop qualified instructors and provide training to recent high school graduates, incumbent Teamster members who are transitioning from non-driving transportation jobs to jobs that require Class A or Class B Commercial Driver's Licenses, and military personnel who are transitioning to civilian life.

House bill to increase Interstate six-axle weight limit

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U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wisc.) introduced legislation, called the Safe, Flexible and Efficient Trucking Act, which would give states the power to allow 91,000-lb., six-axle tractor-trailers on the U.S. Interstate highways within the state’s borders.

Ribble said increasing the weight limit to 91,000 pounds with six axles would increase the industry’s productivity by increasing capacity. It would also reduce congestion and boost safety, he said. 

“Having the sixth axle is critical to weight displacement and braking power,” Ribble said. “The interstates are the safest and most efficient places for trucks to move.”

John Runyan, executive director of the Coalition for Transportation Productivity, said most states already allow trucks that weigh more than 80,000 pounds to travel on state and county roads.

The American Trucking Associations generally supports increasing size and weight limits, while the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association generally does not.

Ribble said the act will be introduced in the House as an amendment to a proposed highway bill in an effort to keep the base bill clean. He said he’s had conversations with Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), the chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and feels Shuster won’t oppose the legislation.

Little Rock Hosts Trucking Safety, Security and HR Meeting

Little Rock will host 2015 Safety, Security & Human Resources National Conference & Exhibition headlined by the American Trucking Associations President and former governor of Kansas, Bill Graves. The annual conference is being held Monday, November 2nd through Wednesday, November 4th at the State House Convention Center.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is expected to address conference attendees Wednesday morning. Additional conference presenters include American Trucking Associations Executive Vice President and Chief of National Advocacy, Dave Osiecki; American Trucking Associations Vice President and Duputy General Counsel, Rich Pianka; and 911 Consulting President Bo Mitchell. See full program here.

This year’s program will address advanced recruiting and retention techniques, active shooter and workplace violence, the anatomy of an accident and accident reconstruction among other safety, security, and human resources topics and seminars.

“The trucking industry is a vital part of the Arkansas economy, and safety is the centerpiece of all that we do,” said Shannon Newton, president of the Arkansas Trucking Association. “We are proud to host the nation’s experts in trucking safety and security in our own backyard and welcome the opportunity to learn from each other,” Newton continued.

Arkansas Trucking Association Selects Road Team

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The Arkansas Trucking Association is pleased to announce the formation of the Arkansas Road Team, a select group of professional drivers chosen for their commitment to highway safety, communication ability and interest in improving the image of the trucking industry. This complimentary outreach program of the ATA will serve as a public education service to address highway safety and to educate the motoring public on safe driving, especially near large commercial vehicles.

The Arkansas Road Team represents a diverse cross-section of drivers, in terms of background, experience, culture, and geography. Made up of 12 drivers from six different trucking companies, these industry professionals will be available to conduct Share the Road demonstrations, safety best practices and other educational events and promotions.

“The selection panel spent a full day reviewing nominations and interviewing a number of great candidates,” according to David O’Neal, director of safety services for the ATA.  “They had a tough job narrowing it down to the best of the best.” 

The following exceptional professional drivers were selected to the 2015–2016 Team:

April Coolidge – USA Truck, Van Buren
Danny Fuller – Con-way Freight, Jonesboro
Loren Hatfield – ABF Freight, North Little Rock
Gary Jaworski – Walmart Transportation, Clarksville
Robert Kelley – Walmart Transportation, Searcy
Gary Mars – Walmart Transportation, Bentonville

Tom Miller – USA Truck, Van Buren
Larry Rhein – FedEx Freight, Harrison
Mark Rook – FedEx Freight, Little Rock
Arthur “Otto” Schmeckenbecher – ABF Freight, North Little Rock
Walter J. Stanley – ABF Freight, North Little Rock
Jerry Whittenburg – Stallion Transportation Group, Beebe


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Photo: Loren Hatfield (ABF Freight) shown presenting for the selection panel during the Arkansas Road Team interviews

The Road Team was made possible after the Arkansas Highway Commission awarded the association with funds from the Arkansas Commercial Truck Safety and Education Program (ACTSEP) to promote safety on Arkansas roadways.  “I’m excited to have such an outstanding group of professional drivers representing our state and industry,” said Shannon Newton, president of the Arkansas Trucking Association. “They will be great ambassadors for the men and women who move Arkansas and America forward every day.”

The Arkansas Trucking Association would like to thank the selection panel, who interviewed and judged each candidate’s prepared presentation:  Steve Fields, YRC Freight (America’s Road Team Captain); Subrina Ghorashi, American Trucking Associations; Tom Ricciardone, Thinc Marketing Group; Butch Rice, Stallion Transportation Group; Scott Stewart, Distribution Solutions, Inc.; Major Jay Thompson, Arkansas Highway Police; and Shannon Newton, Arkansas Trucking Association

Congress Passes 3-Month Highway Fix

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President Obama signed a three-month bill into law that extends program authority through October 29 and will keep the highway fund solvent until mid-December. Congress passed the bill one day before the deadline for a cutoff of funds.

The Senate approved the short-term bill by vote of 91 to 4. The House passed the same bill a day earlier, and then left for its August recess.

Lawmakers said they hope the 3-month patch — the 34th short-term transportation extension since 2009 — will be Congress' last.

The bill also provides $8 billion to shore up the federal Highway Trust Fund through mid-December. The fund's balance was forecast to drop below a $4 billion cushion necessary to prevent disruptions in payments to states in early August.

"We had to give some ground, but we found common ground," Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. said. "And we all believe this bill is so important for our nation.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. had tried to persuade the House to delay its recess in order to take up the Senate's long-term bill, but GOP leaders there opted for the short-term patch in order to give themselves time to craft a long-term bill that reflects their priorities.

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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.
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