Sometimes you just don’t the right words at the right time. This was certainly the case for me, earlier this week, as I stood on the stage at the ATA Technical and Maintenance Conference dinner to receive an award for my work in trying to improve the way the trucking industry is perceived by the general public.
The presentation came as a complete surprise to me and I am not one of those people who can reel off a speech at the drop of a hat, or in my case the dropping of a camera. So, I would like to use this weeks column to make up for being lost for words on the podium.
Much of the impetus for writing these columns comes from a love of the trucking industry, and its people. This is an industry with which I have spent most of my life. I began truck driving in 1977 and haven’t been able to get away from it ever since.
Most of us in trucking complain about the way the industry works and how we are constantly frustrated by ridiculous rules or working in unpleasant conditions. However, once it gets into your blood, you can’t walk away from it. There is something about the culture which cannot be found in any other line of work.
Over the years, you develop a kind of loyalty to the industry and all of the other members of your tribe. Yes, we have rivalries and enemies within the industry, but we will defend the industry, as a whole, to outsiders.
Moving from actual truck operating and driving, back in 2002, across to writing about the industry, initially felt like leaving the trucking industry and joining the media. In fact, I soon realised I had become even more involved with the industry I loved.
Working at Owner Driver and ATN kept me very much in touch with the realities of the industry and also gave me an opportunity to take the lessons learned during my career in trucking and apply them in getting information out there which was relevant to operators and drivers still working at the coal face.
It was the two mentors I had at the time, Paul Sullivan, then Editor of ATN and Andrew Stewart, its publisher, who encouraged me to take my experience on the road and apply it to the stories I was producing for Owner Driver and ATN.
Many years later, I got the opportunity to take over the editorship of Diesel magazine from, a well known industry character, Steve Brooks. He also encouraged me and eased me into the role, reassuring me to go with my instincts when putting together a story for the magazine.
This opportunity came along as a result of the confidence shown in me by my current boss, John Murphy, from Prime Creative Media. On handing me the job of Editor, he simply asked that Diesel reflect the trucking industry, its culture and for me to maintain my positive attitude to the trucking industry and identify the issues I thought were important.
I hope I have done a good job and served the industry which has given me such a broad experience, a lot of laughs and some tears. It is all down to those people who have helped me on my way, and the many others who live and breath trucking, like myself.