Association News

Election, committee happenings and other notes

The board held an election that included the alternates and elected Johanne Couture of Brockville, Ontario, to fill the full board seat left vacant by Life Member Jim Mathews of Greeley, Colo., who resigned his position as a board member because of his health. Mathews has been an OOIDA member since 1990.

Couture says she offers both a Canadian perspective and a woman’s viewpoint to the board.

She joined OOIDA in 2005 because “to see things changed, you have to get involved.” She’s been an owner-operator since 1998.

Committee and other reports:
General Vice President Woody Chambers also serves as head of the Foundation Advisory Board. He reported on the activities of the OOIDA Foundation. Chambers said the work of the foundation is critical as it truly represents the truck driver.

“We are looking at the research behind various regulations for professional truckers and to see if the research is reliable and valid in most cases, which is unfortunately not correct,” he said. OOIDA is pushing for much-needed repairs to be made within the FMCSA.

Chambers also represents small-business truckers on the board of the Unified Carriers Registration plan. In his UCR update to the Board, he reported that annual fees will be the same.

OOIDA Director of Marketing Mike Schermoly reported on the Heart of America Trucking Show held in October at the Kansas Speedway in celebration of OOIDA’s 40th anniversary. Schermoly said there were 8,500 attendees, 155 exhibitors and 35 show trucks. After lengthy discussion, the board did not vote to commit to an annual OOIDA truck show, but did not rule out another show or event in the future.

Schermoly also gave a report on the Association’s fuel card, Trucker’s Advantage. He said the program was gaining 50-60 participants a month.

Chairman of the OOIDA Mary Johnston Scholarship committee, Bill Rode, gave the board an update on the activities of the scholarship program. The committee received 78 applications for the 2014 school year. This year’s winners are announced in this issue of Land Line Magazine. See Page 60.

Rode informed the Board that $240,500 in scholarship money has been awarded since 1998 to help 76 scholarship winners “achieve their dreams of going to college or trade school.” LL


Fall election coming up

Every two years, OOIDA holds an election for alternates to the Association’s Board. Alternates are elected by and from the membership for two-year terms. All alternate board member terms expire in 2014.

Nominations have been received, and the Nomination-Election Committee is currently verifying the qualifications of the nominees. OOIDA will conduct interviews and submit a ballot to the full membership for the vote. The election will take place in the fall of this year, and successful nominees will be seated at the 2015 spring board meeting.

For more details on the election and other actions of the OOIDA Board during the spring meeting, watch for the full report in upcoming issues of Land Line. LL


Matousek: OOIDA getting more involved at state level

The April board meeting was the first for OOIDA’s new Director of State Legislative Affairs Mike Matousek. Matousek told the board his goal is to get OOIDA more involved at the state level with issues that affect truckers.

“This includes being more proactive on certain issues,” he said, “such as supporting legislation to eliminate lane restrictions for trucks, or playing stronger defense on issues, such as opposing legislation to increase tolling.”

The board meeting was an opportunity to discuss some issues of concern that he plans to use as the foundation for the Association’s advocacy. Fighting against tolls, eliminating differential speed limits, maintaining the fuel tax as the primary method of collecting revenue, and addressing the lack of truck parking were among those at the top of the list. 

“This does not prevent us from working on other issues, but rather it’s a list of issues to get us started,” Matousek told Land Line.

“We’ll also need help from all 150,000 OOIDA members because politicians are inherently more responsive to individuals that elect them,” he said. “OOIDA’s stepped-up Call to Action capability is a big part of that effort. We can now target our grassroots advocacy efforts based on sate legislative districts in the House and Senate, which allows us to mobilize truckers much more effectively and efficiently.” LL


Valentini joins OOIDA’s D.C. office

OOIDA announced that Mark Valentini has joined OOIDA’s Washington, D.C. office as a director of legislative affairs. He will be sharing the responsibility for advancing the Association’s government affairs agenda before members of Congress and the Executive Branch.

He is originally from McLean, Va., and graduated from George Mason University with a B.A. in government and a master’s degree in public policy.

He started his career in government affairs serving on the staff of Senate leadership in Washington, D.C. He subsequently spent several years in campaign finance before moving on to the private sector where he worked for several trade associations representing the small-business interests of life insurance agents and brokers.

“Mark has solid experience communicating the policy priorities of small-business owners before lawmakers,” said OOIDA Director of Government Affairs Ryan Bowley.  

Bowley heads up OOIDA’s government affairs team in D.C. Along with Valentini, Bowley’s staff includes Director of Legislative Affairs Ben Siegrist. 

OOIDA’s government affairs staff also includes Director of State Legislative Affairs Mike Matousek. Matousek is at OOIDA headquarters in Grain Valley, Mo.

Both of the Association’s government affairs teams – D.C. and state – are directed by OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. LL


OOIDA Board of Directors

Jim Johnston
Grain Valley, Mo.
Executive VP
Todd Spencer
Oak Grove, Mo.

General VP
Woody Chambers
Eddyville, Ky.

Robert Esler
Taylor, Mich.
William Rode
Eagle, Idaho
Gary Green
Kansas City, Kan.

Frank Owen
Woodway, Texas

John Taylor
Cross Junction, Va.
Leland Wilkins
St. Charles, Mich.
Mark Elrod
Peru, Ind.

Kenneth Becker
Montgomery, Texas

Lewie Pugh
Freeport, Ohio
Gordon Betts
Ogallala, Neb.
Terry Button
Rushville, N.Y.

Gary Carr
Wayne, Maine

Jack McComb
Littleton, Colo.
Steve Davenport
Lewisville, Texas
Larry Beebee
Sparta, Mich.

Lou Esposito
Duanesburg, N.Y.

Miles Verhoef
Saco, Mont.
Johanne Couture
Brockville, Ontario, Canada
Employee Director
Sandi Soendker
Independence, Mo.

Alternate Director
Steve Bixler
Valley View, Pa.

Alternate Director
Keith Jibben
Milbank, S.D.
Alternate Director
Dick Pingel
Plover, Wis.
Alternate Director
Bryan Spoon
Grandy, N.C.

Alternate Director
Donna Ryun
Grain Valley, Mo.

Don Phipps
Ames, Iowa
Fred Barnes
Kansas City, Mo.
Ralph Fries
Escondido, Calif.

Charles Parfrey
Spokane, Wash.


President’s note: Director Emeritus Dave Strickler of Dallas, Ga., passed away Dec. 21, 2013. Dave was a life member of OOIDA, having joined in 1976.