June 2016 ATD Chairman's Column

By Steve Parker, June 2016

Steve Parker
ATD Chairman
Steve Parker

Whether you sell cars or trucks, defending the dealer business is really two sides of the same coin.

Since 1917, NADA has been working to serve the interests of automobile dealers on a national scale. And ATD—the younger division of NADA—was created in the early 1970’s to accomplish the same goals but on behalf of franchised truck dealers across the nation.

We’re extremely proud of our history, and our impact has been significant over the past four decades.

ATD has been at the forefront of national issues, representing our truck dealer members and providing the advocacy, education and resources to this highly specialized segment of NADA’s membership. ATD has had the extraordinary opportunity to serve members alongside our “car dealer cousins.” In our endeavor to defend our industry, we’ve found great common ground amid the issues faced by NADA and ATD: extreme government overreach from federal regulators; complex manufacturer relationships; adapting to a turbulent economy; ever-evolving needs of our consumers just to name a few. Above all, we’ve learned it’s vital that both the truck and auto industries are well represented in the nation’s capital.

At every turn, ATD works hard to let the government know that the commercial truck industry moves America forward. We have met with important federal regulators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House to remind them that what they do has a real impact on all of us. 

Last year, Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.) introduced H. Con. Res. 33, a bipartisan resolution that would put Congress on record in opposition to any harmful FET increase. H. Con. Res. 33 currently has 30 bipartisan cosponsors, but additional support is needed. I’m urging the commercial truck industry to contact your members of Congress to ask them to cosponsor H. Con. Res. 33. And just recently, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced S. Con. Res. 40, which puts the Senate on record opposing an increase of the FET. Please contact your Senators and ask them to cosponsor H. Con. Res. 40 also. We will continue working on this issue and many more throughout the year.

This past April, I spoke at the 2016 ATD Convention and Expo about the importance of building relationships with our elected officials so that we are able to influence our industry’s progress and galvanize outreach to prevent government overreach into our business. I have personally hosted members of Congress to tour my dealership and meet with employees and even ride in a heavy-duty truck so that they gain a true perspective of this business. I cannot emphasize enough how worthwhile this experience is for both the dealer and the legislator. I’ve found that elected officials come out learning much more than they expected regarding what we do in our stores and for our community. 

As chairman of ATD, I am proud to represent truck dealers as a voting member on NADA’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee. I am humbled to serve ATD’s members and provide a voice on your behalf. And rest assured, that ATD will proudly represent truck dealers across the nation for the next four decades and beyond.

Finally, in this month of June I’d like to wish all the fathers a very Happy Father’s Day! Personally, my wife and I are experiencing what it is like to be first-time grandparents since our newborn grandson entered this world. The sight of a new life is reinvigorating and it reminds me that we serve to protect our industry, not just for ourselves, but for future generations.