Perceptions, it is held, are difficult to change.
But Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF), the industry-wide image and education movement, is making significant strides in its mission to change the nation’s perception of the trucking industry.
At a recent trade show in Louisville, TMAF chronicled a year of making a difference.
TMAF co-chair Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express, Inc., cited several successes achieved by a wide range of education and communications efforts, particularly seeing 100 TMAF-wrapped trailers on the road.
"After a successful first year, we knew there was still much that needed to be done to work toward changing perceptions and building a more positive image of the trucking industry, and I'm happy to say we've exceeded expectations to date," said Burch. "I want to sincerely thank all of our members and supporters for helping us come this far since launching TMAF two years ago.
"I'm especially proud to announce today that we now have achieved our goal of putting more than 100 TMAF-branded trailer wraps on the road," said Burch. "These 'moving billboards,' each seen by as many as 16 million people per year, are sending a message every day that our industry is more than just large vehicles on the highways; we're moving America forward by transporting the products and freight that make life possible, serving as an essential provider to our communities and adding value to our economy."
Leaders of TMAF and professional drivers presented an overview of the movement's other major accomplishments through its consistent and dedicated marketing, education and recruiting efforts throughout 2015. To date, TMAF is pleased to announce the following achievements:
• More than 100 trailer wraps purchased;
• More than 180 donors;
• More than 2,100 subscribers;
• 34,455 YouTube views (a year-over-year increase of 136 percent);
• 7,674 Facebook likes (a year-over-year increase of 329 percent);
• 1,870 Twitter followers (a year-over-year increase of 210 percent);
• More than 20 million impressions in earned and owned media, which includes 12 press releases issued and 50 news stories (24 news stories and 26 thought leadership editorials);
• More than 3.3 million advertising impressions
• More than 2 million impressions due to in-kind donations from media outlets including Transport Topics, Landline Magazine, Sirius XM Radio and more.
Todd Spencer, executive vice president and board member of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), spoke on behalf of industry owner-operators.
"There is a lot that we can celebrate today – and I'm especially encouraged by the way in which TMAF has supported the rights of drivers while connecting our entire industry," said Spencer. "I look forward to seeing TMAF continue to expand, because whether you're an owner, driver, supplier, or other industry professional, the movement helps shine a positive light on one's career and contributions."
Professional truck driver Don Logan with FedEx Freight and an America's Road Team Captain, also spoke about the important role TMAF has played in improving the image of truck drivers across our nation's roads and highways.
"Millions of people contribute to the story of the trucking industry and, as drivers, we recognize that we are the face of the industry," said Logan. "We take that responsibility seriously, and that's why we've seized the opportunity – with the help of TMAF's many resources – to show how safety on the road, respect for fellow drivers, and commitment to our communities are central to our professional roles."
TMAF continues to expand its presence online via www.truckingmovesamerica.com, offering the industry valuable resources. The site's member resources section provides downloadable videos, advertisements, speeches, editorials, press releases, fact sheets and more for those who sign up.
Throughout 2016, TMAF's goals will be to continue to activate and engage the industry through education sessions, speeches, marketing and public relations strategies; support local and state advocacy efforts focused on improving highway infrastructure and the operational environment; develop strategies for the public message by aligning with research measurements; continue to build pride within the trucking industry to make trucking an attractive career option; and encourage fundraising at all levels of contributions, big and small.
There is also a goal to see an additional 200 trailer wraps on the road.
"There is much more work to do, and we need your support. Every donation counts. Every Facebook Like counts. Every trailer wrap on the road counts. Every positive news story counts. Every in-kind donation or service counts. It's a movement that cannot happen without you,” said Burch.