U.S. Xpress Hosts Conference
U.S. Xpress hosted the annual “Region Six Conference” between October 1 and 2, 2012 at its headquarters based in Chattanooga, Tenn. That National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools’ conference brought together representatives from several publicly-funded institutions from seven states and professionals in the trucking industry. The participants shared information about the techniques and lessons used at their respective truck driving schools and community colleges in addition to discussing breakthrough industry trends.
The company’s Chief Operating Officer, Eric Fuller, revealed that truck drivers deliver almost 70 percent of all freight transported annually in America. He explained U.S. Xpress was honored to host the conference that facilitates crucial discussions in the trucking industry.
Mr. Fuller explained the trucking industry faced several challenges in hiring and retaining skilled truck drivers, and the conference helped the relevant institutions have a better understanding of the changing dynamics in the trucking industry. The conference also gave the institutions the opportunity to collaborate with one another on methodology and curriculum issues.
The opening panel discussion featured Martin Garsee, director of the Houston Community College and president of National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools; Dr. James Catanzaro, the president of the Chattanooga State Community College; James King, the vice chancellor of Tennessee Technology Centers and Eric Fuller. The panel discussion was followed by a presentation by the president of the Truckload Carriers Association, Chris Burruss. The presentation introduced a new program from the National Professional Drivers to the participants in the conference.
The conference also included breakthrough sessions where the speakers discussed recruitment and retention problems and the regulatory issues faced in the trucking industry. Other sessions discussed the latest details on driver certification programs, safety and training policies, Workforce Investment Act grants and new technologies for the truck drivers. Participants also learned about the impact of oil and gas industry on the trucking industry.
The officials at the U.S. Xpress pointed to various analyst reports that estimated the present national deficit of truck drivers to be around 130,000. According to the reports, the shortage is expected to grow larger every year because more drivers will be needed as the national economy recovers while some of the present drivers will retire.
Mr. Fuller explained there were plenty of career opportunities in the trucking industry with competitive salaries, retirement plans and other benefits. Different professional drivers are needed in the industry, including company drivers. The need for new workers in the industry opens great opportunities considering the record levels of unemployment. Some people can even establish their own businesses as independent truck contractors. There are lease-purchase programs that allow investors to own their trucks after three years only.