Throughout the pandemic, ATD’s advocacy work has continued uninterrupted in the nation’s capital, and many other issues are being tackled at the local and state levels. Luckily, ATD isn’t alone in its mission. We have the privilege of working with state and metropolitan dealer associations through the Automotive Trade Association Executives (ATAE).
I have come to know the dedicated members of ATAE as the “boots on the ground,” battling some of the most complex issues that dealers face each year. As our industry continues to gain momentum and navigate a new political environment, the relationship that truck dealers have with their state and metro dealer associations is more important than ever.
ATAE is a force to be reckoned with, representing the executives of more than 100 state and metropolitan dealer associations in the United States. Along with your NADA and ATD leaders, they tackle the legislative, regulatory, educational and business needs of our members. One of the most valuable aspects of working with an ATAE is the collaboration and exchange of information that happens on a single issue. Our current work to repeal the harmful and outdated federal excise tax is a collective mission among truck dealers, ATAEs, and other leaders throughout various industry associations.
Together we make great strides and accomplish things that would be virtually impossible to do alone, such as having dealerships deemed essential businesses at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Moreover, ATAEs constantly work in unison with ATD, making our efforts quick and efficient. I have seen them halt regulators in their tracks, quickly respond in moments of crisis, and fearlessly lobby on dealers’ behalf.
It’s a privilege to work with Bill Sepic, president of the Wisconsin Auto and Truck Dealers Association, who is our current ATAE liaison on the ATD board. I can tell you that ATAE members like Bill take great pride in their work and the role they play in helping to secure the future of the commercial truck industry. ATD will be working hard in the next few months, collaborating with our ATAEs to strengthen dealer engagement and find solutions to our most pressing challenges.
I urge all truck dealers to be active in and engaged with your respective state and metro associations. A good place to start is getting to personally know your state and metro area ATAEs. If you don’t already know them, pick up the phone and introduce yourself. And ask how you can help.