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10/8/2014 2:00:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Closing Banquet: Long Honored, Byrd Receives Red Jacket

John Sommers II for Transport Topics

SAN DIEGO — Duane Long, the new chairman of American Trucking Associations, pledged to continue to advance the industry’s commitment to safety and recruiting new drivers at an annual banquet held to honor the federation’s top ambassadors.

At the prestigious grand ballroom of the Marriott Marquis in the city’s historic marina, Long told more than 1,000 people, including top executives from major firms, that he will travel around the country to tell the stories of truck drivers.

“Every step of the way, a person – a hard-working, dedicated, safety-minded person – put their stamp on our industry. A stamp we should all be proud of,” said Long, chairman of Longistics in Raleigh, North Carolina. “We need people when they see a package at their door, or items on the shelves at the store, that a person drove a truck and delivered those goods when they needed them. These trucks don’t drive themselves – at least not yet they don’t.”

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After Long was introduced as the new chairman of ATA, taking over for outgoing Chairman Philip Byrd Sr.,  Byrd was recognized with the traditional red jacket given to the federation’s past chairman. As he took his final bow, Byrd looked back on his year as the leader of ATA.

“This past year has been the experience of a lifetime for me and my family,” Byrd said.

Trucking industry executives celebrated the announcement of the federation’s new chairman at the lavish ceremony that featured salty braised greens, fried eggplant and choices of poultry and fish. The glitzy affair is the finale for the Management Conference & Exhibition event.

To wrap up the evening, Grammy and Tony Award nominee Michael Cavanaugh, best known for playing the piano and the lead vocals in the Broadway musical “Movin’ Out,” headlined the banquet’s post-dinner event.

By Eugene Mulero
Staff Reporter

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