Advocating For Truckers: A Full-Time Job - Taking the Hire Road with Jeremy Reymer and Gary Langston

On this episode of Taking The Hire Road, Jeremy Reymer, the founder of DriverReach, engages in a conversation with his good friend, Gary Langston, the president of the Indiana Motor Truck Association (IMTA). Before assuming his current role, Langston spent an impressive 37 years at UPS, where he held a variety of positions, including those in driving, operations, and leadership, culminating in his final role as corporate public affairs manager. However, retirement took an unexpected turn when he accepted the position of president at the IMTA, a role he has held for the past 12 years. The trucking industry operates under stringent regulations, making it crucial to have a voice in the creation of laws that govern the sector. As president, Langston has placed a strong emphasis on advocacy, particularly in addressing legislative and regulatory matters at both the state and federal levels—an ongoing and essential endeavor. Langston acknowledges that while most advocacy efforts align with the interests of drivers, there are occasional legislative issues that the association opposes. He notes, "Speed limit increases, tax increases, tolling—those kinds of things that our industry doesn’t support eventually come up, and we have to take those on." Whether advocating in favor of or against a bill, the power of direct communication with decision-makers cannot be overstated. The IMTA conducts a yearly call to action during which its members travel to Washington to engage with legislators on issues impacting the industry. Langston stresses the significance of these grassroots efforts, stating, "When people from the back home districts go to Washington, D.C., to call on members of Congress from their state, it’s so much more meaningful than many of those people that are calling on Congress on a daily basis." Another central focus of Langston's tenure has been investing in the future leaders of the industry. Attracting young professionals, especially those in leadership roles, is essential for the industry's continued success. The Future Leaders of Indiana Council (FTL) program is dedicated to advancing the professional development of its members through education, mentorship, and leadership opportunities. The program targets individuals involved in managing trucking companies and those contributing to solutions for the industry's challenges. Langston emphasizes the critical role of young professionals in driving the industry forward, saying, "The young, youthful minds that are coming on board are the ones that are deeply invested, the most well-educated—whether it be technologically or just in general—and they’re just so important. We can’t do it without them. And we have to continue to push that." As anyone in the industry can attest, attracting new and younger drivers is of paramount importance. While the minimum age for operating a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce is 21, a 2019 American Trucking Associations report revealed that the average age of new truck drivers is 35. Langston acknowledges that the challenge of driver recruitment is not a new issue but has intensified as generations shift due to changing attitudes and priorities regarding quality of life. Despite the industry's challenges, Langston remains optimistic about the trucking sector and the support it provides through associations like the IMTA. He highlights the unique sense of camaraderie within the industry, stating, "I don’t know of any industry that possesses a stronger family atmosphere from that perspective than the trucking industry."

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