2017 Year in Review and Gratitude

As 2017 draws to a close, we put the ‘lid’ on a year that was. It is appropriate that we take some time to review our progress, and recognize those that were responsible for this progress.

We started 2017 with five Best Practice Groups and 52 total members. As of today, we have eight groups and 73 members. The growth of the Best Practice Groups are attributable to three key factors: 1) The efforts of existing members, 2) inGauge subscriber growth, and 3) The launch of the TCA Profitability Program (TPP). The most exciting thing is that this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg.

Launched officially in July 2017, TPP is the vision of John Lyboldt (TCA President), and built on the foundation of the Best Practice Groups, which has evolved and crafted over thirteen years by Jack Porter (TPP Managing Director).  The TPP vision for the future not only includes the growth of the Best Practice Group, but also the continual development of TCA inGauge  – TCA’s cloud-based Performance Improvement service. These core features are complemented by quarterly TPP Profitability seminars, and a re-imagined (and re-engineered) Truckload Academy, under the direction of Jim Schoonover, TCA’s Vice-President of Education and Operations. The future is bright for TPP!

Our progress over the past twelve months is due, in large part, to listening. Listening to members, and understanding how to build TPP to provide incremental profitability and ROI via participation. We can unequivocally state that this program has been Built by Members, For Members. Over the past year, I’ve been lucky to get to know these members – leaders of the Best Managed Trucking Companies in the World! We thank-you for your active feedback, and your commitment to the growth of TPP!

2017 provided many opportunities to visit trucking companies and cities/towns which I would not otherwise get to visit. One of the best parts for the Best Practice Group programs are periodic meetings, where groups get to visit the location of a specific member, and dive deep into their operations. These visits have been one of my favorite exercises in my entire working life. In 2017, I was able to visit Pottle’s Transportation in Bangor, Maine via TC07’s June meeting. This visit was a great exposure to the main-street of North American trucking. Not only was I impressed with the expertise and commitment from the Pottle’s team, I blown away by their hospitality. This included an authentic New England Lobster Bake (Barry’s uncle Cecil not only handled the bake, he also caught all the lobsters that same day!). Thanks again to the Team Pottles!

My second site visit was a trip to Duluth, Minnesota for a visit to Halvor Lines, via TC05’s September meeting. When I arrived at midnight, prior to the first day, I didn’t get to see much of the surrounding landscape. However, when I woke early the next morning, I was greeted by a scene that I describe as a “Mini Vancouver”. Duluth is a true hidden gem of a town. Situated on Lake Superior, Duluth was one of my biggest travel surprises in my career. Further, it is also the location of my new favorite hotel (and I’ve stayed in thousands) – The Pier B Resort. More impressive, was our visit with the crew at Halvor Lines. Halvor Lines is one of the larger employers in the Duluth area, and it was very apparent that the staff were very proud to work there. Halvor is consistent winner of the Best Idea Sessions, it is now obvious where all these great ideas come from! Thank-you Halvor Lines and Duluth!

2017 also represented the year I started facilitating my first Best Practice Group (via Jack Porter’s mentorship). This first group, now called TC04, includes a diverse group of companies and personalities. The discussions during our first two meetings felt natural and unfiltered (a very important part of successful groups). I want to thank the leaders from PTL, Big G, Convoy, Buchanan, RC Moore, Danny Herman, Duncan & Son, and AT for your commitment and participation (and patience)!

The transportation team at Katz, Sapper & Miller (KSM), specifically Tim Almack and David Roush, have been big supporters of TPP and TCA. We want to thank the KSM team for their efforts and friendship during 2017.

Henry Ford always stated that to build anything great, you need to surround yourself with people smarter, and more capable than you are. In keeping with this premise, it is important that we recognize those people behind the scenes who make our progress possible, including the entire TCA team – Kristen, Marli, Sean, Catherine, Miia, Tripp, Jamil, Patrick, David, Ron, Bill, Jim and John. Let’s also not forget Eddie Wayland and Mark Hunt, for their helpful advice for members and keeping us compliant with Antitrust and Competition Act requirements. The future is bright for TCA and TPP – all due to your efforts!

Happy New Year!