Inside the HQ...
The daily operation of the world's largest organization of prefessional truckdrivers involves a lot of people and a lot of activities

In the past 30 years, OOIDA has grown from a small group of truckers to a national organization 100,000 strong. And that’s individual memberships.

While giving truckers a voice in all issues affecting their businesses and their industry is OOIDA’s primary objective, another vital function lies in the association’s programs and services. Truckers have a lot of business needs, and over the years, OOIDA has developed a broad collection of services to fill those needs. Providing those services takes a lot of hands. And that’s where your staff here at OOIDA comes in.

You may not be familiar with everyone who works at your OOIDA headquarters or what they do for you. So as we celebrate the association’s birthday, we thought we’d introduce you to some of the folks here at the HQ, and, in their own words, let them tell you something about how they contribute to OOIDA’s mission:

Lesa Godwin, Human Resources, 13 years service
“ It’s my responsibility to make sure we hire employees that are not only skilled professionals but will also treat a member like a person and not a number. We know the member is why we’re here, and we make sure every employee appreciates that.”

Sylvia Dodson, Business Services Collections, 17 years service
“ Business Services fulfills a part of OOIDA’s mission with every phone call they take. We assist in collecting money that is owed to our members; we assist and educate in regard to going on your own with authority and permits. And our compliance as well as collection unit is available to answer questions ranging from lease questions, to state speed limits, to weights and restrictions, hours of service and so on.”

Brenda Reynolds Smith, Medical Benefits Group, 17 years service
“ The Medical Benefits Group strives to offer quality benefit plans to protect the most important asset of the industry — the American trucker. We do so by offering a variety of benefit plans and taking the extra steps to accommodate the special needs and requests of the members.”

Gail McDowell, Marketing, 5 years service
“ I’m one of the worker bees, one of the background people who keeps the wheels moving. I am involved with assisting the marketing director with ordering the association’s many brochures, organizing and preparing materials for the trade shows, and the distribution of the press releases. All of these help us reach out to truckers, and it brings in new members, further strengthening our voice in Washington.”

Gary Green, Business Services, 7 years service
“ We are basically the first line of defense for our members when it comes to problems they encounter in the industry. Business Services is probably one of the greatest tools our members will ever have toward leveling the playing field. This dedicated group focuses so hard on winning the war, they seldom realize they are winning the battles.

Dick Larsen, Land Line Magazine, 1 year service
“ My role is to explain in plain English the meaning of the wordy and growing list of federal regulations drivers must follow each day — we at Land Line call this ‘the federal mess.’ Another role is to explain the association’s position on this ‘mess.’ So stay in touch with Land Line — we’ll keep explaining in a few words what it takes the feds to say in a book.”

Brad Hennon, Mail Services, 5 years service
“ I coordinate the shipping and receiving operations so that member mailings get done in a timely manner, and members have the time needed to respond to things such as Call-to-Action mailings, where time is critical for the association to be effective. My department also handles all inbound mail and packages to make sure they get delivered to the correct person.”

Joy Guffey, Membership, 18 years service
“ The Membership Department is the port of entry, the first point of contact, the place where OOIDA makes its first person-to-person impression. We do more than just handle the membership process and services. We keep current on trucker concerns, and we want to know what you think about these issues. I don’t think there’s any other professional association that has a membership department that can handle your annual dues, take your order for a new OOIDA denim jacket and at the same time give you a current update on what legislators in your state are doing that may require your input.”

Pam Perry, Data Maintenance, 7 years service
“ You can’t effectively reach out to all truckers unless you know who they are, where they are and what they do. The Data Maintenance Department (circulation department) creates and maintains a huge database for Land Line Magazine and OOIDA that brings all this information into one powerful resource. It’s a major tool in helping the association supply professional drivers with critical information.”

Nikki Johnson, Telecommunications, 13 years service
“ OOIDA gets an average of 2,700 calls a day. In the years I’ve been here, I’ve learned a bit about truckers. They don’t have much tolerance for phone menus and have no time to spend on hold and making unproductive calls. That’s why we have real live people answering the phones. It’s my job to see that our staff of receptionists get truckers connected to the right department and the right person as quickly and professionally as possible.”

Donna Ryun, Communications, 14 years service
“ I have the opportunity to share the things I’ve learned by responding to many e-mails and handwritten letters we receive here at OOIDA, and by keeping the information flowing via our Web sites and in the column I write for Land Line. It’s a rewarding job, especially when a new member writes to tell me that reading my Q&A column kept him from signing a bad lease, or I get an e-mail that says simply, ‘thanks for listening.’”

Brenda Guffey, Truck Insurance, 18 years service
“ Here an owner-operator can work directly with our insurance agents, and we can better meet their needs than a typical agency could. Most other agencies write all types of commercial insurance; however, we specialize in providing insurance for the owner-operator. Despite the association’s size, we still treat our members on an individual basis.”

Joe Shewmaker, Membership CMCI, 2 years service
“ As a small-business trucker, there’s no way you can conform to DOT’s drug and alcohol testing requirements. As a one-man company, with random drug/alcohol test requirements, you reach in a hat and pull out a name and surprise, it’s you! That’s why we have a consortium. Consortium Management Company Inc. provides small-business truckers with educational materials, drug and alcohol testing and guidance needed for DOT safety compliance audits.”

Tommi Gilmore, Human Resources, 5 years service
“ We look for people who are strong willed and ready to dedicate themselves to our cause, someone who wants to be on a team that fights for professional truckers. I found, for the most part, everyone wants to be on a winning team. That is how I really feel.”

Tracy Van Camp, Truck Insurance Claims, 7 years service
“ We’re the only company that handles claims for Owner-Operator. Keeping our truckdrivers on the road is our main concern. And doing our job quickly and efficiently to see that that happens is why we’re here. An outside source wouldn’t be able to do that because they would have other customers.”

Wanda Sudduth, Accounting, 17 years service
“ Nobody needs to explain how vital it is for an organization to trust its accountants. OOIDA’s accounting department has seven employees whose years of experience with the association total 65 years, or more than 9 years per employee. My part on this team is to help pull together and accurately present the financial information of the organization.”

Steve Hennon, Building Maintenance, 4 years service
“ I consider myself one of the links in the chain. It’s my responsibility to keep everything in tip-top shape around the office. In addition, if a department has a project and they could use some extra help, I’ll jump right in and do what I can to contribute.”

Brenda Zinser, Truck Insurance Support, 14 years service
“ We’re here to assist truck insurance agents who are on the phone most of the day discussing customers’ insurance needs. We make sure agents have all the information they need to assist members and, if we don’t have it, get it for them quickly.”

Paul De Los Santos, Information Technology, 6 years service
“ I have been designing, writing and modifying computer programs to furnish other employees and members with information needed in the day-to-day operations of OOIDA. I believe the ultimate goal of the association is to serve the members to the best of its ability, and computer technology will greatly help in the achievement of this goal.”

John Siebert, OOIDA Foundation, 7 years service
“ The OOIDA Foundation supports the goals of the association by consistently presenting the truckdriver’s perspective when academic and research groups solicit stakeholders’ input on industry safety issues. We act as a constant reminder that trucking highway safety cannot be considered separately from the highly competitive work conditions, which often encourage, and sometimes demand that drivers engage in potentially risky behavior.”

Mary Lancaster, Truck Insurance Billing, 15 years service
“ The purpose of the billing department is to process the owner-operator’s endorsement paperwork. This department also handles changes to a policy and endorsements. We take certificate of insurance calls and we will send out proof of insurance to the owner-operator when necessary. Members receive hands-on assistance, which is a big help for them. One important thing we do: If additional information is needed from you, we don’t wait until it causes you a problem; we get on the phone and call you.”

These people are examples of the kind of committed staffers who work for OOIDA. There are more than 200 others who spend their work days inside the HQ at 1 NW OOIDA Drive.