At this time of year, most people make New Year’s resolutions — some of which they actually keep.
But I’m not going to do that. Instead, I am going to offer my New Year’s wish list. My actual list is long, so I am just going to give you the abbreviated version of what I would like to see for the economy in general, and more specifically, the trucking industry.
Like most people, the first thing I wish for is a dramatic reduction in the number of COVID-19 cases and a return to a more normal way of living and doing business. I don’t think that after all the changes wrought by the pandemic that the economy is going to slip right back into its pre-pandemic state. What I do hope is that we will take some of the lessons learned during the pandemic and implement what worked on a longer-term basis. We have discovered that business relationships can survive, and even thrive, without in-person meetings, and that technology can be leveraged to make business more efficient. Going forward we need to incorporate all the things that were good into the way we did business before. Let’s combine some of the old with the new to be even stronger than before.
I also hope people will continue to hold truck drivers in the high esteem they did throughout the pandemic when they realized the vital role the trucking industry in general and truck drivers in particular play in getting them the goods they both need and want. It was truckers who kept shelves stocked with toilet paper, disinfectant spray, PPE, and other medical suppliers. I hope people remember how much they counted on those truckers and continue to hold them in high regard once we are past the pandemic.
Next, I want to see something finally done about the condition of our nation’s infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers has given the U.S. infrastructure a D+ grade. I don’t know about all of you, but when I was a kid, if I brought home a D+ I was in serious trouble. We need to stop borrowing funds from the Highway Trust Fund and use the money for its intended purpose and that is to keep our roads, bridges and tunnels in good condition.
I also hope the legislators and regulators will seek more input from the people most affected by and regulations they promulgate. Whether those regs are around electronic logging, hours of service, emissions, etc., getting input and feedback from the people who have to live by the new rules just makes sense to me. I am not naïve enough to think trucking is going to get 100% of what it wants when it comes to regulatory changes, but having our voices heard on a more consistent basis should hopefully result in regulations that make sense in the real world, which is the one fleets operate in.
I could go on… But I’ll be happy if just these four wishes eventually come true.
Patrick Gaskins, senior vice president of Corcentric Fleet Solutions, oversees both sales and operations for Corcentric’s fleet offerings. Over the past 10 years, Gaskins has grown the fleet services area of Corcentric’s business by implementing a best-in-class asset management database and a data-driven approach to providing Corcentric clients with visibility into all areas of their fleet spend. He joined Corcentric in 2010, bringing over 30 years of experience as a financial services professional in the transportation industry. Gaskins leads a team of industry experts who work with a supply base of over 160 manufacturers to help the country’s largest fleets manage all aspects of their fleet operations and fleet related spend. Gakins earned his BBA in Finance from the University of Miami, FL, and his CTP certification from the National Private Truck Council.