IN MY INAUGURAL letter, I first want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to represent you and your companies at TIA. This industry is awesome because it is filled with smart and pragmatic people who work every day to provide transportation solutions to their customers in an efficient, effective and ethical way. How lucky am I to help advocate for your companies in Washington and to represent you in front of key audiences?
As I have started meeting virtually with many of you and heard your priorities for your businesses and for TIA, I have been struck by your good humor, good sense, and your generosity with bringing me into the fold. While there is much for me to learn, I am receiving an invaluable education through these conversations.
2020 has been perhaps the most challenging year, personally and professionally for almost all of us. Professionally, we started the year with hope and optimism about growth and expansion for our businesses and TIA. A worldwide pandemic, however, forced our industry to advocate for ourselves as essential workers, simply to allow our operations to continue. It created a rift with critical partners over rate transparency. And as an association, it forced all our meetings, educational offerings, and events to a virtual platform.
But I think we will end the year as we started: with hope and optimism for the future. Our industry is strong and critical to the movement of freight in this country. Our rate transparency differences should not prevent us from collaborating and finding areas of agreement with our partners. And while we all want to be together in person, our team at TIA has done a fabulous job transferring our course material to a virtual platform and creating compelling content for virtual meetings.
In fact, by the time you get this, we will have had our three-day 3PLXtend Virtual Xperience. Our meetings team worked their hearts out to bring you the most relevant and interesting speakers and subject matter experts, and I hope you agree that the value was evident. And while we had a bitterly fought election, it is over now, and I hope we can all focus on repairing our relationships with our political opposites and finding areas where we can work together.
As we look ahead to 2021, there will be challenges with a new Administration, and new Members of Congress; our Government Affairs team will make sure we educate them about how critical our industry is. One tool in our toolkit is the TIAPAC; it will provide us another forum for Members, who may have no working knowledge about us, to get to know us and our key issues. Nowadays, there are few of us, me included, who love the polarized political environment. However, there is tremendous value in getting your message in front of Representatives who can make or break your business. It is an activity protected by the First Amendment, and if our partners are at the table breaking bread discussing their issues, then we should be too.
Before I go, I want to thank Doug Clark for his service as Interim CEO. He began his term during high-profile changes at TIA and a global pandemic. He has reassured the team, made some very challenging decisions, and has done it all with good sense and humility. He strives to make my job easier, and the association stronger (and is a nice guy, to boot). We are grateful to him for all that he continues to do for TIA.
Finally, thank you for your trust in me. TIA is served by an effective team and an engaged membership, representing a vital industry. I look forward to getting to know all of you and to working together for years ahead.