Wrapping up the 40th: Success has many faces

By Sandi Soendker, editor-in-chief

Flipping through the issues of Land Line – from old to new – is a bit like looking at one of those accelerated time progressions. Lots of images flying by. There are highway shots, mug shots, trucks from every angle. There are photos of members who are no longer with us, defiant cartoons, and photos of members rallying on the Capitol steps. There are pictures of us testifying before Congress, headed to court, talking to regulators and simply shots of members enjoying the camaraderie of some truck shows.

To me, those images all have a couple of things in common. One, they are part of a cultural phenomenon that is the trucking industry. Two, they reflect a powerful, influential organization and a community deeply connected to that industry.

They are all images that speak of 40 years of us fighting for truckers’ rights and to be heard.

I say “us,” although I’m not a professional truck driver and I’m not an OOIDA executive. But as a reporter (now editor) of Land Line Magazine, I’ve had a close up view of the “mother ship” and all of its children for 26 years now. I think that qualifies me as “us” and to speak of what has made OOIDA such a success. I certainly have a unique perspective of the whole thing.

The success is because of people like our president and CEO Jim Johnston, who is a rare human being. Remember when Lee Iacocca asked where all of our leaders have gone? I am not sure about the others, but I know where one is.

And Executive Vice President Todd Spencer, who is one of the smartest guys in trucking and is able to go from ground level to 30,000 feet in a single bound to grab a perspective. And Chief Operating Officer Rod Nofziger, a son of a truck driver, who has a deep commitment to the trucking community.

Our success is due to the diligence of our Board of Directors, our attorneys and our lobbyists, as well as the nearly 300 people who work here at headquarters. For all of us, it’s a cause.

And of course, our remarkable membership … truckers like the late Rusty Wade, who often reminded the industry that OOIDA is not just the glass building in Grain Valley, but an organization of individuals fighting for the right to make trucking a proud lifestyle and first-rate career. To quote Rusty, “a giant, living, working, brother/sisterhood of truck drivers just plain sticking together … who knew we could do that?” LL