The Arkansas Trucking Association will celebrate 90 years of trucking in the state and host its annual business conference and vendor showcase in Hot Springs this week. The educational forums will be held Wednesday, May 11 and Thursday, May 12 at the Hot Springs Convention Center, followed by the ATA Spring Golf Classic Tournament on Friday, May 13 at the Hot Springs Country Club. The executive forums will prepare the roughly 300 attendees to make a “game plan for success,” by examining economic ups and downs, work force challenges and a shifting political landscape. Nearly 300 industry executives are expected to attend the three-day event.
A lineup of speakers will address leadership, electric vehicles, workforce shortages, politics and the rising insurance costs in the industry. Featured speaker Gus Malzahn will share his experience as a championship-winning college football coach. Before he became head football coach at University of Central Florida in 2021, Malzahn began his coaching career in his home state of Arkansas at the high school level, and has since been inducted into the Arkansas High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Governor Asa Hutchinson will be the featured speaker during Wednesday’s awards luncheon, when ATA recognizes the top driver, fleets and safety professional in the industry.
“Transportation is in a period of revolutionary advancements in terms of safety, sustainability and reliability, and our state is well-positioned to take the lead in driving our industry forward,” said ATA President Shannon Newton. “The individuals and businesses we recognize at our awards luncheon are helping ensure safety remains a top priority for our industry as we progress.”
ATA Chairman Harold Sumerford will also speak about his experiences leading the federation, running his own trucking company, J&M Tank Lines, his firsthand account of cybersecurity challenges and his vision for the future of the industry.
Because of its high priority for employers across the industry and throughout the country, workforce solutions will be the subject of two forums. On Wednesday afternoon, bestselling author and President of KGC Direct, Ken Gronbach, will share his insights on the demographics of the American population and how work forces will change. Then, on Thursday, DriverReach Founder Jeremy Reymer will moderate a panel on the current employment landscape, the existing and growing driver and technician deficits, retirement ages and the impact of the pandemic.
Other presentations include an overview of alternative energy vehicles with Arkansas Energy and Environment Secretary Becky Keogh; the newest insurance cost research from American Transportation Research Institute; and an economic summary and forecast from Jack Atkins of Stephens Inc.
“This year our association celebrates 90 years of promoting and protecting the trucking industry in Arkansas,” said Newton. “We are proud of our rich history and the leaders who’ve guided us through recessions and pandemics. This conference is a time for current and future leaders to gather, to learn from each other, to strengthen those relationships and to develop a game plan for success.”
The conference will begin with a board of directors meeting and networking hour with law enforcement Wednesday morning, with new Arkansas Highway Police Chief Jeff Holmes in attendance to meet members and answer enforcement questions. The festivities officially kick off with the Awards & Recognition Luncheon Wednesday afternoon. Shannon Newton will recognize the carriers and individuals whose efforts have contributed to a safer industry over the past year. The guest speaker during lunch will be Gov. Hutchinson. Thursday’s governmental affairs lunch will be a discussion between Blake Eddins and J.R. Davis on the Arkansas Primary Elections.
2022 Arkansas Trucking Association Conference presenters and speakers include:
- GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON
- GUZ MALZAHN, University of Central Florida
- KEN GRONBACH, KGC Direct LLC
- HAROLD SUMERFORD, American Trucking Associations, J&M Tank Lines
- BECKY KEOGH, Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment
- CHARISSE CHILDERS, Arkansas Division of Workforce Services
- JACK ATKINS, Stephens Inc.
- BUTCH RICE, Stallion Transportation Group
- PATRICK SIMMONS, Tyson Foods
- JEREMY REYMER, DriverReach
- ALEX LESLIE, American Transportation Research Institute
- J.R. DAVIS, Gilmore│ Davis Strategy Group
- BLAKE EDDINS, Eddins & Associates
Click here for more information or to register.