More than 30 companies are competing with each other in the Iowa Motor Truck Association’s trucking image campaign, spreading positive outreach about the trucking industry's impact on the daily lives of Iowans.

The six-month image campaign began on June 1 and is aimed at raising the respect and visibility of the trucking industry within the state. IMTA members will promote the campaign through image ambassadors, going into the community to promote the industry’s positive influence. The IMTA is piggybacking on national image campaigns such as Trucking Moves America Forward, focusing on trucking’s impact on jobs, communities, families, and other integral parts of the state.

“You need to have a national image program at all times, but we’re too big of an industry to have just one campaign,” said Brenda Neville, president of the IMTA. “We’re hoping that we’re complementing the Trucking Moves America Forward campaign.”

Success in the IMTA competition is measured by the number of "influential engagements" members have over the six-month duration of the campaign. That might be a meeting with an elected official or sponsoring a youth sports team. The winning company will receive $1,000 for a travel voucher or a company party.

There is even a leaderboard on the IMTA website showing which companies are the current frontrunners in the competition. Some of the leaders at the time this story was posted included Ruan Transportation, Johnsrud Transport, CRST International and Decker Truck Line.

Prior to the campaign, the IMTA conducted a statewide survey that found that 8 out of 10 Iowans held a favorable view of trucking, with only 5% expressing a negative opinion. Trucking is an integral part of Iowa life, with many residents having some connection to it in some way.

“We have a lot of trucks in this state," Neville said. "We were curious as to what the public thought about trucking."

In the month since the image campaign started, the IMTA has been pleased at the response it is getting from non-members.

Despite the popularity of the trucking industry, Iowa still faces the same challenges as the rest of the nation, an aging trucking workforce with more people leaving than joining. The average age of a truck driver in Iowa is 57 years old.

The IMTA is looking into ways to reach prospective drivers at a younger age, holding events at community colleges but also reaching out to younger kids to familiarize them with the trucking industry.

 “We haven’t figured out the right formula for finding younger drivers yet,” said Neville. “There is a whole plethora of things we have to look at and we have to keep trying and promoting to get people into our industry. It’s a message we have to continually put out there.”