In the vast world of trucking, machinery and heavy-haul drivers and fleets occupy a venerated place. “Glamourous” may not be the right word. But these high-profile hauling jobs certainly capture the attention of both the public at large and other truckers. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t want every single eye on the road trained on you, then this is not the job for you.
The responsibilities these fleets and their drivers tackle on a daily basis aren’t for the faint of heart, either. They haul massive, insanely expensive loads over long stretches – often through maddeningly narrow city streets or on congested mining and construction sites.
A lot of the appeal with this industry niche, I think, is the trucks these fleets employ to do these tough jobs. These are largely conventional, long-nosed, high-horsepower rigs that demonstrate brute power while evoking memories of a time when a lot of trucks on the road looked and sounded very much the same.
But while the trucks machinery haulers drive appear to be throwbacks in many ways, the safety technology onboard is anything but.
I found this out for myself in late July, when I flew to the shores of beautiful Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, to spend a couple of days at the Machinery Haulers Association annual meeting. What I found there was a small yet vocal group of highly engaged and dedicated professionals with amazing safety records – and every intention of expanding them.
It's a small group with a long history. So, there were a lot of old friends chatting and inside jokes traded during social gatherings and in various presentations. Spirited debate and discussion among both members and speakers during presentations is the norm. Members both ask questions and get questions in turn, when an area they’re recognized as a authority in comes up for discussion.
That small, friendly vibe seems to be a natural extension of the philosophies that drive many of the fleets executives attending the meeting. It’s a place where you hear the concept of instilling a sense of family throughout an organization as key to solving problems, staying safe, celebrating “wins,” and rallying to overcome conflicts talked about with sincerity. These aren’t morale-boosting HR terms. It’s just the way these men and women have always run their companies. It works for them. And although it can feel old-fashioned and be something of a struggle to accomplis today, it’s still how they intend to work.
As I said, machinery hauling is a small niche in trucking. But after years of keeping to itself, the Machinery Haulers Association has decided the time has come to expand its influence in the trucking industry and on the legislative and safety fronts as well. And that means it is actively courting new members to help it grow and become a louder voice. A voice that emphasizes the role trucking plays in keeping America moving, and for better and smarter trucking regulations. The group also aims to be an unwavering advocate for safety on our nation’s highways.
If this sounds like the sort of group you’d like to get involved with, the association’s director, Clayton Fisk, would be delighted to share details with you on who, what, where, when, and how to do so. Clayton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can check out their website at www.machineryhaulers.org
You can also just pop onto Twitter and say “Hello” @TMHAINC
Or you can be old-fashioned about it, and pull your phone out of your pocket and give him a call at (334) 214-7323.
It’s a good group of dedicated professionals. You won’t be sorry you did.