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Stay Focused on Safety

Posted By John Hausladen , Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Welcome Chairman Daggett II – Congratulations and welcome to newMTA Chairman Fred Daggett. Longtime MTA members may remember Fred’s father, Marvin, who chaired the MTA 1992 to 1993. I guess that makes Fred Chairman Daggett the Second!

Fred is actually the second son to follow his father as MTA chair. The other pair? Lester Wilsey, Sr. in 1950 and Lester Wilsey, Jr. in 1970. The trucking industry is truly built on the backs of family businesses. 


Talk about a small world. I had the pleasure of meeting Marvin Daggett when he hosted a Frazee Turkey Days event at his home as its mayor. I was working for the turkey industry at that time and rode in the Turkey Days parade as a special guest. Guess who else has served as mayor of Frazee? You guessed it, Fred Daggett, of course!

Congratulations to Award Winners – It is especially satisfying to witness the presentation of our various awards at the Annual Conference. While the plaques, trophies and certificates are meaningful, the value rests in what they represent. Commitment. Passion. Excellence. Values. From my vantage point, I see these people and companies in action and often close up. They are truly deserving and set the bar higher for all of us.

My personal congratulations go to award winners Mark Ramsdell (President’s Award) Pat Salzer (Outstanding Service), Wayne Grabowski (Safety Professional), Chis Smith (Maintenance Professional) and California Overland and its Safety Director Gregg Moyer (Fleet Safety Grand Trophy).


Congratulations also go out to Paul Butkowski, who earned third place in the 3-Axle division at the National Truck Driving Championships held in St. Louis. Way to go Paul!


Bad Monday Morning … Not So Much – The Minneapolis StarTribune ran a front page article in its Sunday, August 16th edition casting doubt over the effectiveness of Minnesota commercial motor vehicle inspections. Long on anecdotes and short on facts, it created the false impression that trucks on the road are unsafe and the State Patrol is not doing its job. We fully expected the anti-truck folks to fan the flames. It was not hard to imagine the story tearing up social media and being picked up by other TV and radio stations around the state.

The good news is that it did not take off. Why? The story simply does not square with reality. Your commitment to safety as a value is lived each day on the road. Because you practice what you preach, the MTA has been able to consistently deliver that message to media outlets around Minnesota.

Stay Focused on Safety
- The story did point out that we can never relent in our commitment to safety. Jim Schultz did an excellent job hammering this point home at the Annual Conference. It was far too easy for the reporter to go to a truck stop and find some drivers who are the exception rather than rule.

We must continue to hold up the great professional drivers in our industry and help the poor performers to improve. There is no better way to do this than submit your drivers for our Driver of the Month program. Get details at

Here is wishing you a successful National Truck Driver Appreciation Week with your whole team!

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