I hope you, your families and your employees had a wonderful Fourth of July holiday. In the past week of celebrating our stars and stripes, I couldn’t help but contemplate how lucky we are to be in a country that pioneered freedom and democracy. Those tenets, after all, are the reason we as dealers have the opportunity to engage in entrepreneurship and build the lives we imagine for ourselves. The conviction to fight for a bright future in a free nation, arising nearly three centuries ago, lives on in the truck dealers of America today. Like revolutionaries and progressive citizens, dealers are also moved to participate in the democratic process—like engaging with our elected officials—for the betterment of our businesses and for a greater society.
And while we took time to honor those in uniform whose sacrifices, past and present, made this country great, we can continue to honor their heroism by contributing to this great industry which we’re lucky to be a part of. Let’s not forget that most of the brick and mortar going into the infrastructure of this great nation arrives via truck, which come from thousands of dealers who work hard to bring heavy- and medium-duty trucks from assembly lines to communities everywhere. The truck industry moves America forward. And just like the sweat equity required from those building a budding nation, we must continue to work hard to make sure this business is here and stable for future generations to come.
There is always a great lesson in the holidays we know and love, and it’s not simply centered around barbecues, days off and sales numbers. It's vital that we all remember our roots and cherish the rich legacy of our origins. In that regard, I salute and honor the great leadership that has come before me at ATD. Since 1970, our association has been led by 24 amazing ATD chairmen, each having unique perspectives and skill sets and each contributing to the greater good of the truck industry and the members they’ve represented. I find Alexis de Tocqueville’s words to be quite fitting. In his 1835 opus he said: “One of the compelling attributes of associations is their embodiment of the best values of self-government. The active participation of members in creating the vision, overseeing the activities, and guiding the governance of the association is necessary to the health and relevance of the organization.”
As a proud truck dealer serving as your 25th ATD chair—and an even prouder American—I am honored to pick up the torch and continue where our own founding fathers (beginning with Chairman Reed Draper) left off. If we all think about it, our amazing military, our hard-working business community and our future generations are all working toward a mutual goal: that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
ATD and our fellow truck dealers of America contribute to this cornerstone in our own unique way.
Teuton is ATD chairwoman and vice president of Kenworth of Louisiana, a full-service dealership with seven locations in the state (Baton Rouge, Houma, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans and Shreveport), a full-service Hino dealership (Baton Rouge) and Southland Truck Leasing at all dealership locations. ATD, a division of the National Automobile Dealers Association, represents more than 1,800 medium- and heavy-duty truck dealerships.