If we are truly blessed in life, a few rare individuals
cross our path who become our mentors and
friends. Al Koenig, who passed away on August 16,
was such a person to me.
If there ever was an elder statesmen of the
Minnesota trucking industry, Al was it.
When I started this job 20 years ago, I didn’t know a
soul in this industry. After meeting Al, I knew I had
at least one person in my corner. His friendly smile,
gentlemanly demeanor and words of encouragement
set me at ease and along the path to success.
Of course, that was Al’s way. Engaging people.
Inviting people. Including people. At ATA meetings
he made sure I had a seat and was introduced to
the right people; the “real stem winders” he called
them. Since his passing, numerous members have
recounted similar stories to me. The cool thing
was, he did it not for his own benefit, but for the
betterment of that person and the broader trucking
He fell in love with trucks as a kid and a youthful
joy about them never left him. He loved BIG trucks,
which parlayed into building Midwest Specialized
Transportation. He loved LITTLE trucks, which
turned into perhaps the state’s largest private collection
of die-cast trucks and trucking memorabilia.
He loved trucking HISTORY and knew more about
the companies, people and evolving regulations
than anyone I ever met. Period.
Al was so proud to be a trucker. While safety always
came first, the image of the trucks and drivers were
a close second. He believed acting professional and
looking professional were totally in our control. His
iconic blue and white trucks were clean, shiny and
well-maintained, with quality drivers to match.
I always knew I could call or visit Al if I had a
question or needed some perspective. When I
reached out, he listened, encouraged and gave his
best advice. If you were off base or he disagreed, he
would tell it to you straight.
He was a passionate advocate for the trucking
industry. He believed we have no one to blame if
we don’t stand up for ourselves. Al put his time and
money where his mouth was. He gave regularly to
the ATA and MTA Political Action Committees. He
went to DC to tell the trucking story and frequently
had legislators to his facility in Rochester. He was
a huge believer in ‘The Power of the Truck Ride’ to
turn on the light bulb with legislators. He just never
stopped promoting the essentiality of this industry.
My last conversations with Al took place at our
Annual Conference just a week before he died. He
was there at age 78 still learning, contributing, leading
and thoroughly enjoying himself. Most fitting,
his last act of service to the MTA was to present the
Scholarship Committee report, a program he helped
If I had to sum it up, Al was a giver, not a taker. He
certainly gave his heart and soul to the Minnesota
Trucking Association and because of those efforts,
we can ALL say we have been blessed by Al Koenig.
Thank you for standing in my
corner since day one, and in the
process becoming a mentor and
friend. We are going to miss you