Arkansas Trucking Association

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.

New Leadership at USA Truck

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Thomas Glaser was named new chief executive officer and president of USA Truck by the board of directors. Former CEO and director John M. Simone resigned on July 9 to focus on his health after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Glaser, a USA Truck director, served as interim chief operating officer since April, when Simone took a medical leave.

Chairman of the Board Robert A. Peiser said, “We are pleased that Tom Glaser is stepping in to accelerate the company’s operational and financial progress. Among Tom’s many attributes, he brings to his new role an extensive knowledge of the industry and USA Truck’s operations, as well as a proven ability to lead.”

After the appointment was announced, Glaser told Arkansas Business, “Stepping back in, I wasn’t hesitating at all. I had retired. John’s health — it’s a serious condition he has — and really the opportunity to help, I was more than happy to do that. The company is important to the community, it’s important to the people, and it’s important to continue what John started.”

Glaser previously served as USA Truck’s interim chief operating officer from January 2013 to June 2013. He has more than 30 years of management experience in the trucking industry, including serving as president of two truckload carriers.

Senate Bill Would Allow Interstate Driving by 18-21 CDL Holders


While the House and Senate agreed on a three-month bill with one day to spare, the Senate passed a longer term bill that will fund the highway fund for three-years and make changes to highway, transit, railroad and auto safety programs. Among the changes in the legislation, introduced by U.S. Sen. Deb Fisher (R-Neb.) is a pilot program for CDL holders younger than 21 to do interstate hauling and delivery.

Fisher’s Commercial Driver Act would let states test the feasibility of expanding Class A CDLs for those not yet 21 beyond intrastate driving.

Bill Graves, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, supports the act, “It is illogical that a 20-year-old can drive the 500 miles from San Francisco to San Diego, but not the 8 miles from Memphis, Tennessee to West Memphis, Arkansas – or simply cross the street in Texarkana,” Graves said. “Even more illogical is that a 20-year-old may not drive a truck in any state if the cargo in it originated outside the state or will eventually leave the state by some other means.”

I-55 Bridge to Remain Open for Now

After protests from Arkansas commuters and elected officials, Tennessee Dept. of Transportation cancelled plans for a project on an Interstate 55 interchange in Memphis that would have closed the I-55 Mississippi River bridge for months.

Instead, they will conduct more-detailed assessments of the economic and community effects of doing the project at the I-55/E.H. Crump Boulevard interchange with a bridge closure or rebuilding the interchange with partial lane closures. The studies could take as long as a year to complete.

The decision to delay the project and perform the more-detailed studies is based on public comment from meetings held earlier this year.

"Over the past several weeks, we have heard from residents, business owners, elected officials and other stakeholders in Memphis and in Arkansas, and we understand there is a significant level of concern over a full closure of the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge," the head of the Tennessee agency, John Schroer, said in the statement. "We want to take the opportunity to address those concerns before moving forward with construction."

The announcement to close the bridge prompted loud protests from the Arkansas side of the bridge, led by state Sen. Keith Ingram, D-West Memphis, whose hometown of more than 25,000 people is on the bridge's west side. Ingram began an online petition, "Keep the Old Bridge Open," that gathered close to 2,800 signatures.

The bridge carries about the same amount of traffic, 45,000 vehicles daily, as the other crossing between Memphis and West Memphis, the Interstate 40, or Hernando de Soto, Bridge. Closing one bridge would force extra traffic onto the I-40 six-lane bridge, which is still undergoing seismic retrofitting work.

J.B. Hunt Releases White Paper on Driver Efficiency Barriers


J.B. Hunt released a white paper directed at shippers and receivers on the full extent of the wasted time drivers spend as a result of inefficient shipping and receiving practices. 

The paper cites a BB&T study that says out of the 11 daily driving hours, or 660 minutes, allowed by the FMCSA’s Hours of Service regulations, only an average of 390 minutes are spent behind the wheel. Other time-consuming activities include empty driving time, time waiting on inflexible appointments and time spent at the shipper or receiver location for load and unload

The paper prompts shippers and receivers to “Think of a driver’s time as that of an hourglass, a perishable commodity which is continually diminishing. Whereas in the past a driver could, much like a stopwatch, start or stop his or her clock depending on the activity, a driver today cannot log time waiting at a shipper location or making a delivery as “off duty.” Once a driver begins his or her safety check at the start of the workday, the clock is running down without pause.”

To increase efficiency, the paper suggests eliminating 60 minutes per day from loading and unloading times. The study by BB&T found that drivers spent an average of 108 minutes at the shipper and receiver, not counting appointment time.

By eliminating just 30 minutes at the shipper and 30 minutes at the receiver, a single driver could remain on the road for an extra hour each day, equivalent to 50 miles per day, or 12,500 miles per year.

ATA Names New Director of Safety Services and Executive Assistant

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David O’Neal has been named the director of safety services of the Arkansas Trucking Association after the

Arkansas Highway Commission awarded the association with funds from the Arkansas Commerical Truck Safety and Education Program (ACTSEP) to promote safety on Arkansas roadways.

O'Neal will serve as a liaison with the FMCSA, Arkansas Highway Police, OSHA and other regulatory bodies.

He will also provide safety and regulatory expertise for ATA members and to all carriers operating in Arkansas. He will oversee industry training and spearhead the 'Share the Road' and 'Arkansas Road Team' programs.

A native Arkansan, O'Neal joins ATA after a 19 year career at FedEx, serving most recently as the Managing Director of Safety at FedEx Ground in Pittsburgh, Pa.  In this role, David established the strategic direction for the company's safety initiatives and led a 120-person department.  During his tenure, FedEx Ground was awarded the American Trucking Associations' President's Safety Trophy in recognition of the company's superior safety programs and commitment to industry-wide promotion of highway safety.


O'Neal has also held leadership roles in FedEx's truck driving championship program, as well as the creation of education platforms for the growth and development of employees. O'Neal's multiple industry associations include the Safety Management Council of the American Trucking Associations and inaugural membership on the Arkansas Trucking Association's 40 Under 40 Council.    


Cara headshot webATA President Shannon Newton said, "We are grateful to gain a resource like David and to find shared goals and cooperation with the Highway Commission to promote safety for all those operating on Arkansas highways."  

ATA also hired Cara Speegle as the new executive assistant in July. Speegle is a recent graduate of Harding University with a BA in English.

ATA Names VP Supply Chain Security & Operations


American Trucking Associations announced the promotion of Boyd Stephenson to the position of vice president of supply chain security and operations.

 “Boyd has demonstrated tremendous knowledge about important security and related issues involving the trucking industry, so I’m pleased to be able to announce his promotion to this expanded role,” said ATA Executive Vice President Dave Osiecki. “Cross-border issues, security and hazardous materials transportation are all critical subjects for our members, and I have confidence that Boyd will continue to be a valuable resource for them as our industry addresses them.”

 As vice president of international supply chain security and operations, Stephenson will be ATA’s primary subject expert on security, cross-border affairs and hazardous materials safety, and will be the staff liaison to the association’s policy committees dealing with these issues.

“I have greatly enjoyed my time at ATA and helping to move this tremendous industry forward,” Stephenson said, “and I look forward to continuing to do that in this new capacity.”

 Stephenson has been with the association for eight years, holding a variety of positions within ATA’s policy department, with a policy focus on licensing issues and hazardous materials safety and security.

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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