With the 2020 presidential election right around the corner—and ballots going out for ATD line representative seats—it’s an opportune time to discuss how your ATD officials are elected, and how they represent your interests at your national association. A sentiment I hear from new line representatives all the time is that many dealers do not realize how much ATD does for its members. I know this because I had the same feeling when I first joined the ATD board in 2015, and now I have the privilege of having the driver’s side view. The responsibility of an ATD leadership role is critical, particularly when we must navigate the most difficult circumstances such as we have done this year.
When it comes to the election process, there is a marked distinction between ATD and NADA. While NADA directors are elected by geography, ATD line representatives are elected based on the OEMs they represent. All ATD line representatives serve a three-year term and each person holding this seat has the responsibility to advocate for the best interests of their fellow truck dealers. The ATD vice chair is elected by the ATD board for a one-year term, while the ATD chair serves a total of two years (followed by one year as immediate past chair.) However, what many people do not know is that the ATD chairperson is also an NADA director, serves on the NADA executive committee, and serves as the voice for truck dealer members on the NADA board. This allows ATD/NADA to maintain a collaborative atmosphere and a unique synergy in our advocacy and grassroots efforts.
As I mentioned, ballots for several line representative positions are going out this week, and I’m eager to welcome the newest crop of ATD leaders into our ranks. Our ATD mission guides everything we do: to serve and represent our members through federal advocacy, industry relations, education, and other services. Line reps are involved in several activities which communicate our members’ feedback and concerns throughout the year. This includes engaging in important annual events such as three board meetings and the ATD Show; helping to present the results of our Dealer Attitude Survey to OEM executives and suppliers; and spearheading important subcommittee assignments whether it’s regulatory affairs, dealership operations or legislative affairs. I can testify that the work of our ATD line reps is extremely gratifying and makes a difference in the direction of our industry.
In coming years, dealers will be navigating unprecedented terrain and the responsibility of every ATD board member will be heightened. We must do everything we can to secure our future in the commercial truck industry, especially as we continue to recover from a global pandemic. As line representatives, we ultimately serve as the bridge between our OEMs and truck dealers; between our businesses and Capitol Hill; and between fellow truck dealers and our great association. Our agenda has critical long-term goals, such as continuing to fight for the repeal of the harmful federal excise tax. And we must work hard to strengthen our workforce by recruiting and retaining thousands of capable diesel technicians.
On behalf of the ATD board, I want to thank our dealer community for your commitment and confidence in this great association. Also, please thank your line representatives for the work they do on your behalf at the national level. I look forward to our elections ahead!