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No path? No problem

Sandi Soendker
MANAGING EDITOR

When the membership hit the 100,000 number on Aug. 19, the work force here at headquarters had a big noon hoorah and gave a plaque to our president and CEO, Jim Johnston. The plaque quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson, saying, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” This might be the best description of this organization I’ve heard.

I’ve been here for 16 years’ and during 15 of those years, I’ve gotten to know many of the association’s members and leaders, past and present. I’ve yet to meet one who was intimidated by the road least traveled. One of those trailblazers was Land Line’s old mentor, OOIDA’s general vice president, Robert Driscoll, a trucker and a poet from Laurel Springs, NJ. He died in January.

What a savvy guy. Bob grew up on the streets of Philadelphia, tough and smart. He would have been so proud to see this organization achieve 100,000 on the membership rolls. Bob was a great proponent of “sticking together” to achieve important goals. He said that sometimes, throwing in with a really big gang was not only necessary for survival, but it was necessary in order to THRIVE. Bob said once that one of the reasons behind OOIDA’s longevity is knowing the difference between just surviving and thriving.

Driscoll’s theory on powerful organizations: It’s gotta have more than raw knuckles and noble causes, it has to have guts. Driscoll defined this as “in-testinal forty-tude.” And Driscoll was all about such things. He had the best explanation of guts I ever heard.

He asked me if I knew what “having guts” really meant. I said, “I guess it means you’re not scared of anything.”

“Wrong,” says he, “it’s the other way around! It means you can be intimidated as hell, but it doesn’t matter. It means you ain’t gonna let somebody else get out there and do for you what you need to be doing yourself.”

On this 30th year, Land Line brings you a special anniversary issue. And we hope our special features clearly articulate the wisdom of those two fine poets, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Robert Driscoll.

Three ring circus. This issue places focus on the three primary arenas in which OOIDA’s trucking members have chosen to stage battles of significance: the courts, Congress and the regulatory agencies. It begins with Jim Johnston’s “Issues and Positions” and follows with contributions from Todd Spencer and Rick Craig.

From point A to B. The timeline is not just a chronology of OOIDA landmarks, but a history of truckers during the past 30 years. It was researched by LL’s Production Coordinator Kim Borron with editorial contribution from LL’s Associate Editor Mark Reddig. Mark’s “Bursting at the seams again” is a look at the association’s growth history.

Inside the HQ. Part of the reason behind the association’s success is the staff here at headquarters. In this issue, meet some of these people and hear what role they play in OOIDA’s mission.

What’s in a number? OK, so OOIDA finally has 100,000 members. How does that help you? How DOES the association wield that power? Paul Cullen Jr. of The Cullen Law Firm in DC spells it out.

Soldiers. OOIDA Director Emeritus Don Phipps and his wife, Marlys, have been members since 1980. And they are a pair of Iowans who knew how to wade right in to the fray. “How did we get here?”. Don and Marlys know.

Also in this issue. Other timely reporting includes truckers and security, the latest on NAFTA, what should you expect with winter diesel prices and more federal news — all covered by LL’s Senior Editor Dick Larsen.

Cool rigs. From the desert heat of Utah to the green hills of Wisconsin, it’s been a great summer for truck beauty contests and other events. As you’ll see in the special section, OOIDA members were big winners.

Member profile. Speaking of neat rigs, owner-operator Robert Jordan has spent the last 10 years fine-tuning equipment on his 1997 so he can go 100 percent idle-free. How is he doing it? This Juneau, WI-based member shares his secrets.

Who zat? Researching for this issue was fun, but challenging. In the early days, notetaking was secondary to action. But someone was snapping their Kodaks because we have dozens of boxes of great old photos. If you see yourself in one of them published in this issue, let us know.

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