Arkansas Trucking Association

You are here: Home Article Archive Up Front- Fast Friends

Up Front- Fast Friends

DSCF7709 smallShannon Newton
President, ATA

As I think of all the friendships that I have nurtured over the years and how precious those are to my life, career and place in our community, it is evident that the pandemic took its toll on personal connection. Some may have mastered connecting through a screen, but I was not one of them. Behind a mask, from six feet away, it has been hard to navigate first impressions and introductions. Whether you are starved for connection or most comfortable by yourself, meeting new people or strengthening previous connections feels more challenging these days. 

Making friends in school was easy. You are served the same lunch, walk the same halls, endure the same homework assignments and midterms for 8 hours every day with the same group of peers. The proximity and shared circumstances amount to an understanding that develops into a relationship. It’s almost out of your control how close you grow to the people around you.

Shared experiences are an incubator for fast friendships.

The end of a year is also a time to be a little wistful, to yearn for something lost to the past. One of my first friends in this industry was former Arkansas Highway Police Chief Jay Thompson. Early in both of our careers, we spent days at a time together, trekking across the state to host training events and sweat through trucking championships. We had fun, got into some trouble, shared successes and learned from one another.

AHP recently announced his retirement, and his presence in the industry will be missed. He understood the hardships of trucking and was a great ally in keeping the roads in Arkansas safe for all drivers. We launched our careers together and had overlapping goals, though we were stewarding different cohorts of professionals.

I have other peers who are retiring or moving on to other places, new goals. Our network of colleagues is always shifting around us. In the same way, we weren’t in control of who sat next to us in Algebra, we only have so much control over our community.

You can’t leave it all to chance and shared space though. In 2022, I am committing to be more intentional in strengthening the relationships I have and creating new ones along the way. Shared experiences are harder to create, while there is such space between us, but they are essential to forming bonds that make work and life easier.

What I wish for myself and you in 2022 is that we prioritize relating to one another, that we keep re-imagining what connection looks like with less physical proximity, and that we no longer put our lives or our relationships on hold until the pandemic is over.

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Suite 185
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
You are here: Home Article Archive Up Front- Fast Friends