The American Trucking Associations on July 24 welcomed the 2016-17 class of LEAD ATA to the nation’s capital for a round of key congressional meetings.

LEAD ATA is a one-year program created to engage the trucking industry’s leaders of tomorrow. Participants gain real-world experience and in-depth industry insights while making industry connections.

LEAD ATA will be meeting with members of Congress and their legislative aide as well as ATA President and CEO Chris Spear to hear a full summary of trucking’s critical legislative issues and advocacy message.

"Since the start of LEAD ATA, I have gotten the chance to see the effect that this day of congressional visits has on emerging trucking leaders and elected officials on both sides of the aisle," said Kevin Burch, ATA chairman and president of Jet Express. "It is a surreal feeling to watch our LEAD ATA participants interact with the lawmakers of our country and offer an authentic trucking perspective to the men and women we count on to represent the nation's interests."

Trucking issues are gaining attention in Congress, according to ATA, including infrastructure funding and tax reform. LEAD ATA participants will receive a candid look at the legislative process and experience political activity with both chambers of Congress, looking to finalize legislation ahead of the August recess.

ATA hopes to foster long-term connections between legislators and the business leaders in their home districts. By expanding trucking's network of grassroots advocates, ATA aims to share the industry’s story of safety, essentiality, and productivity to new audiences and stakeholders.

As part of the trip to the nation's capital, LEAD ATA members will tour the National Mall, visit the Lincoln Memoria,l and see the White House where ATA met with President Trump earlier this year. Photos of last year's trip can be found on LEAD ATA's official Facebook page.

"Taking our LEAD ATA class to the U.S. Capitol and getting them involved in the legislative process creates a unique method for our industry's message to be relayed," said Dave Manning, ATA first vice chairman and president of TCW. "ATA provides our future leaders a special opportunity to meet with Members of Congress and legislative aides in person to discuss the issues that they're passionate about both personally and professionally."