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10/20/2015 11:00:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

UPS’ Thomas Takes Reins From Long as ATA Chairman, Calls on Congress to Pass Highway Bill

PHILADELPHIA — For his first act as the new chairman of American Trucking Associations, Pat Thomas urged Congress to pass a multiyear highway bill that would address the industry’s safety and infrastructure funding concerns.

Congress has “got to get the ball over the goal line and soon” on highway policy reauthorization, Thomas said here Oct. 20 at the closing banquet of ATA’s Management Conference & Exhibition. The House this week is scheduled to take up a six-year highway bill. The Senate passed its version in July.

John Sommers II for Transport Topics

Thomas also pledged to boost the industry’s image nationwide, enhance efforts to recruit drivers and veterans, and maintain the commitment to safety shared by the industry. He also praised previous ATA chairmen, the association's staff and the state trucking associations for their persistence in advocating for the industry’s priorities.

Before he took the stage to deliver his inaugural address to a roomful of executives, the audience watched a video on the jumbotron that chronicled Thomas’ career. It noted the work of his father, late U.S. Sen. Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.). Current Wyoming Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both Republicans, were featured as they congratulated Thomas on his ascension to the association’s helm. The CEO of UPS, David Abney, also was featured.

John Sommers II for Transport Topics

Thomas, senior vice president of state government affairs at UPS, based in Washington, D.C., is the first ATA chairman to come from Big Brown. Before his address at the elegant convention center’s massive ballroom, Thomas praised immediate past chairman Duane Long for his yearlong efforts in promoting safety around the country.

Long, chairman of Raleigh, North Carolina-based logistics company Longistics, was recognized with the federation’s traditional red jacket, which is presented to past chairmen.

The conference’s popular closing gala was headlined by veteran rock band Chicago, famous for such hits as "Saturday in the Park," "Feelin' Stronger Every Day" and  "If You Leave Me Now."

By Eugene Mulero
Staff Reporter

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