ATA Makes Law Department Moves

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves announced the promotion of Prasad Sharma to senior vice president and general counsel and the hiring of Richard Pianka as the association’s new vice president and deputy chief counsel.

“I’m extremely pleased to be able to promote Prasad and have a great deal of confidence he will continue to provide the first-rate legal guidance and service that our members have come to expect from ATA,” Graves said. “ATA is also fortunate to be able to add an attorney of Rich’s stature and ability to our team and we expect great things from him in the years to come.”

Sharma has been with ATA since 2000, most recently as vice president and deputy chief counsel, and in that time has been primarily responsible for the association’s business activities, as well as concentrating on cargo claims and motor carrier operations issues. Sharma also oversaw ATA’s Highway Watch program from 2007-2009. Prior to coming to ATA, Sharma was an attorney with Holland & Knight. He has a law degree from Emory University and an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University.

“I appreciate the trust Governor Graves has placed in me. I look forward to continuing my work with ATA members and the ATA professional staff in this new role as we advocate the trucking industry’s interests,” Sharma said.

Sharma replaces Robert Digges as ATA’s general counsel following Digges’ retirement.

“ATA has been tremendously lucky to have Bob’s services for nearly 30 years. His legal acumen and understanding of our industry has allowed ATA to prevail on dozens of issues of great importance to our members, issues that run the gamut from taxation to independent contractor status,” Graves said. “His experience and his intellect will be sorely missed as he moves on to a well-earned retirement.”

Pianka comes to ATA from the firm of Mayer Brown LLP, where he specialized in general and appellate litigation. Prior to that he was with the firm of WilmerHale and before beginning his law career was a computational linguist and taught history and archeology. He holds a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, a Masters from the University of Texas and an undergraduate degree from Princeton University.

“After my time in private practice, I was looking for an opportunity to put my skills as a litigator to work in a proactive way and to be an advocate for policy,” Pianka said. “The challenge of representing the trucking industry appealed to me because ATA is well thought of in Washington and the association has a long history of doing important work for its members. I look forward to adding to that impressive legacy and being a forceful advocate for the ATA and the industry it represents.”

Related content: ATA Urges Caution in Analyzing Increase in Truck-Related Fatalities

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