According to NPTC Chairman Dan Smith, director of transportation at Smart & Final Co., McQuaid will stay on as a consultant to the trade group through the end of the year.
The move comes as NPTC is struggling to adapt to market forces that are changing the role of private fleet management among the nation’s manufacturers. The association is in the midst of an organizational restructuring designed to improve its finances by cutting dues and opening up membership to kindred transportation interests.
Smith said the NPTC board will continue with the restructuring. “The restructuring has been successful,” he said. “We need to continue to build upon success we have already achieved. Finances are not an issue. We plan on being around for a long time.”
Smith said the NPTC board expects to complete its search for McQuaid’s successor within 90 days. Meanwhile, operations vice president George Mundell is in charge on interim basis. “Business should go on as usual,” Smith said. “NPTC will be represented in all major forums.”
Smith did not shed any light on the reason for McQuaid’s retirement. “That was John’s decision,” he said. “We appreciate all of John’s efforts on behalf of NPTC, and we will miss his energy and enthusiasm.”
McQuaid, a veteran of the Washington transportation scene, joined NPTC in March of 1997.
The official announcement of his resignation acknowledged his contributions to the organization. It said he has been an effective voice for the organization on Capitol Hill and with the Department of Transportation, and an effective advocate for trucking with the media. Most recently, he appeared on the Jim Lehrer News Hour in a two-part series on truck driver fatigue and hours of service.
McQuaid himself declined to speak about the causes for his resignation. “I am going to take some vacation time, and weigh my options with the goal of trying to get back into saddle as soon as possible,” he said.
Looking back, he said his legacy will be the NPTC restructuring plan. It validated a shift in the industry, he said, opening the door to all kinds of service providers who previously had not been included.
McQuaid also is proud of his stewardship of NPTC’s reputation on Capitol Hill. “We got across the message that private carriers have the best safety record in trucking,” he said. And, he said, NPTC was the first trucking organization to say that safety reform efforts should be aimed at reducing the number of deaths in truck-related accidents, rather than focusing on the rate of deaths per million miles of truck travel.
“There is no comfort in the statistic,” he said.
NPTC, based in Alexandria, Va., has about 900 members, including some of the nation’s largest manufacturing, retailing and distributing corporations.