NATSO, ATA Vow to Work Together on Security Issues

Two major trucking-related organizations joined hands on Feb. 14 to increase the industry’s lobbying power in the face of mounting security and business concerns.

David McCorkle became the first American Trucking Associations chairman to address the annual meeting of NATSO, which represents truckstops and travel plazas. McCorkle called stronger ties with NATSO part of ATA’s search for new strategic alliances.

“I come here today as a human Valentine card from the ATA,” said McCorkle. He also told NATSO, “I hope this is the beginning of a strong friendship.”

McCorkle’s key request was for cooperation on security issues. “My call to joint action begins with three things. Join us in our trucking security working group in Washington. Join us in our anti-terrorism action plan. And join us in our mission that no truck be used as a weapon.”

Newly reinstalled NATSO Chairman James B. Goetz said, “NATSO will most assuredly work with ATA in the three areas mentioned.”

Moments earlier, the NATSO chairman’s gavel had been passed from James Cardwell, the first NATSO chairman to serve two consecutive yearly terms, back to Goetz, his predecessor. Goetz becomes the first NATSO chair to serve non-consecutive terms.

McCorkle, owner of McCorkle Truck Line in Oklahoma City, described himself as “a happy customer” of NATSO members. He said he had discussed the NATSO invitation with ATA President and CEO William Canary. “Bill said, ‘There is no wall between ATA and NATSO, not even a paper wall.'”

In his first words as chairman, Goetz said NATSO would continue its “war against those fighting to make commercialized rest areas a reality.”

Goetz also said the truckstop industry, while going through hard times, is fundamentally sound. “Today’s financial state is not a result of a structural failure of the industry. It is cyclical rather than the result of some inherent defect in our industry.”

In other business, NATSO honored W.E. “Bill” Sheriff, chairman and CEO of Highway Service Ventures and American Retirement Corp., with its Distinguished Member Award.