I hope fellow truck dealers, their families and employees enjoyed Presidents' Day weekend—a time to appreciate the great leaders who build the foundation of our country. Over the past two years serving as ATD chairman, I’ve realized that good leadership is consistent, unwavering and, most of all, a collaboration among everyone involved. So in that spirit, let’s continue to reach out to our leaders throughout the year for the mutual benefit of our industry. 2018 is another election year, presenting more opportunities for dealers to meet with members of Congress either in their district offices or at our own dealerships.
The congressional recesses throughout the year give truck dealers the opportunity to strengthen communication with their legislators on our home turfs. We saw the advantage of building this bridge throughout 2017’s complex and expedited legislative process. Because of our existing relationships, ATD was able to quickly and effectively present our issues to lawmakers, while other trade associations struggled to have a seat at the table. Thanks to truck dealers’ grassroots efforts and hard work, ATD saw significant progress on Capitol Hill, including enactment of comprehensive tax reform that includes preserving full deductibility of floor plan interest; significant estate tax reform to help the viability of our family-owned businesses; and a reduction in corporate and pass-through taxes. This would not have been possible had we not established the groundwork early on and taken the time and effort to make phone calls, extend invitations and sit down with members of Congress face-to-face and inform them about our business model.
However, this is no time for complacency, as we must address other issues critical to our industry. We must continue to collaborate and work on repealing the harmful federal excise tax on heavy-duty trucks. Please tell your representative in Congress to cosponsor H.R. 2946, introduced by Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.). We must stay informed on the newest legislation, such as the infrastructure bill, and understand how technology and resources will affect the truck industry in the future. I encourage all ATD members to remain engaged and take the opportunity to influence key policy issues so that the commercial-truck industry stays strong.
Finally, strength doesn’t come from just our leaders, but from the team that supports them as well. As for me, I’ve been privileged to work alongside the best team in the commercial-truck industry for two years. The ATD staff has worked tirelessly to make sure leaders hear our priority issues and that members have more resources and communication tools than ever before. Our 20 Groups are growing with more truck moderators, and we’re offering more truck economic data for our members as well. Please continue to read ATD Insider, which now has 11,000-plus subscribers. I’ve also strengthened our lines of communication throughout the industry and with our OEMs, suppliers and allies—like the American Trucking Associations—which I’ve been proud to work with on a regular basis. Finally, while the foundation of our country rests in the Constitution, ATD’s rests in our Strategic Plan. We’ve worked extremely hard to solidify our four pillars: participation and engagement; legislative and regulatory advocacy; industry relations; and education.
So in the spirit of good leadership, I pledge to remain constant, unwavering and collaborative with all of you throughout ATD. Let us all continue to build a strong foundation for our commercial-truck industry.
Parker is chairman of ATD, a division of NADA in Tysons, Va., which represents more than 1,800 heavy- and medium-duty truck dealerships. He is president of Baltimore Potomac Truck Centers in Linthicum, Md., which operates five full-service commercial-truck dealership locations with Mack, Volvo and Hino Trucks franchises in Maryland and Virginia.