Thank You for an Amazing Year

NATSO Chairman reflects on our industry and change.

Amazing is the word that comes to mind as I write my final letter as your NATSO chairman for 2019. I want to thank every- one for the privilege, including the committee that so generously placed my name before the board of directors, the staff that NATSO CEO Lisa Mullings has assembled that are excellent in performing their individual tasks, and Lisa Mullings for putting up with me and with all my idiosyncrasies.

I’d also like to thank the board members that have honored NATSO and myself with their guidance. NATSO Connect 2019 was especially humbling as I stood before our membership and was allowed to share a little about our unusual truckstop facility in St. Joseph, Mo. To each of these events, people and groups, I thank you.

Your current NATSO chairman-elect is Delia Moon Meier, whose family own the I-80 Group of truckstops. Delia has been serving as the NATSO Foundation chairman as well as NATSO chairman-elect. Please welcome Delia as she takes over the leadership of this great organization.

The industry that we are a partner in together is amazing. The transportation industry moves goods across our country at an amazing rate. How much time has passed before we are eating fresh produce from California that has arrived in Missouri? Not weeks, but merely days. We enjoy fresh Atlantic seafood that has been iced rather than frozen and shipped by plane to Kansas City and off loaded onto a truck to that special restaurant. The diversity of the trucking industry is amazing and, most of the time, we have the opportunity to serve those within the industry as customers.

A long-time acquaintance of mine has started a part-time career moving trucks.

He retired from the insurance industry and he found that he need something to do. St Joseph is home to a large utility truck manufacturer. My friend started moving trucks all over the country and then flying home. We were at dinner the other evening and he stated, "I had no idea how big the trucking industry is and how many truckstops we have located all over the country."

He continued to say that he and his wife had traveled by car to many destinations over the years but that he just had not paid attention to our industry. He is genuinely impressed by the facilities we have available.

Our membership recognizes that the automobile segment of our society is an additional opportunity to better utilize our facilities. In my travels, I see a lot of locations that are packed with autos, recreational vehicles and even motorcycles. The more diverse the offerings, the greater the traffic count numbers that appear at the door step.

"Change" is a topic in every college marketing 101 textbook. Oops, do we still use textbooks? Maybe the laptop, the Kindle, the iPad or whatever means that provides the classroom information is the more correct terminology. Maybe "change" is now known as "intentional evolution"? Whatever terminology is correct, it is simply amazing how our industry adjusts to the technological advances presented.

Thank you for letting me share observations and friendships this past year. I am continually thankful and truly humbled. See you in Denver at NATSO Connect 2020. 

Subscribe to Updates

NATSO provides a breadth of information created to strengthen travel plazas’ ability to meet the needs of the travelling public in an age of disruption. This includes knowledge filled blog posts, articles and publications. If you would like to receive a digest of blog post and articles directly in your inbox, please provide your name, email and the frequency of the updates you want to receive the email digest.