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Confessions of a Transportation Junkie

Posted By Gail Rutkowski, Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, October 14, 2015

OK, I have to come clean and admit the obvious, I’m a transportation junkie. I absolutely love this industry and am a passionate student of it. I have felt this way since my very first transportation job, working with The Quaker Oats Company private fleet, more years ago than I care to admit. I loved working with truck drivers and I thought dispatching and being on 24 hour call was fun. Heck, I even enjoyed auditing driver logs! I have been fortunate throughout my career to have had some very amazing mentors and have made many dear friends.


Now, transportation wasn’t my first choice for a career path. I’ve often said, "Mamas don’t want their babies to grow up to be truck drivers." Nor did my parents expect their daughter to be working with them. When I was young, I wanted to be a U.S. senator (of course that was after wanting to be a nun, and then wanting to go live on a kibbutz in Israel…like I said I was really young). I thought I could change the world and make things better from the pulpit of the U.S. Senate. When I was 17, I made my first trip to Washington D.C. and was able to get access to the Senate gallery. I sat there for over four hours until they kicked me out, fascinated by the action on the floor below my seat. There was Senator Goldwater, and Humphrey and Ted Kennedy all talking and working together. I felt privileged to be a citizen of the United States and to be part of this democratic process.


Of course, any of you who know me, know I didn’t run for office. Finances, family issues and life generally interceded to knock me off my course. But once I started working in transportation and realized what a great industry this was, I jumped in and never left.


Through the years I’ve done just about every job in transportation on the shipper, carrier, and 3PL side. I’ve worked with small start-up companies, Fortune 500 companies, and large private companies. I know how easy it is to get caught up in the day-to-day fire-fighting many transportation managers face. It’s hard to see the forest for the trees and to pull back and make the strategic moves to help you, your company, and your industry become stronger.


That brings me to my message for today. Why I became Executive Director of NASSTRAC. Now, many years later I am able to marry my two passions, transportation and politics. It’s been enlightening, frustrating, and enjoyable. I also learned a few things that I’d like to share with you:


1)You CAN make a difference.

2) It isn’t that hard.

3) “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have”…Margaret Mead


So, you can sit there and read this little missive, close it and never think about it again, or you can join us.


“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek”…Barrack Obama


In the coming weeks I will be sharing with you some of the issues NASSTRAC is supporting and working on with other groups that will bring much needed productivity gains to our industry. I’d like you to join us to talk about these issues and how we, as shippers, can help make things happen.


Let your voice be heard. Join the conversation. Join NASSTRAC.

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