Dan Rengert, former president of TODCO and a long-time associates member of TTMA had some specific advice for those who are relatively new to the association—take the time and make the effort to develop friendships.
“I’m starting to think I have been here for all 75 conventions,” Rengert said. “You have heard some interesting history over the past couple of days. About the history of TTMA. Its companies, the people, the companies, and how it all has changed.
“I’m going to come at it from a different angle. I’m going to look at it from an associate member’s viewpoint and consider the benefits that we all have gotten from this organization.”
One of the biggest benefits is the ability to develop relationships in ways that would be more difficult elsewhere.
“Our predecessors did a great job of organizing this association. The associates party that we have talked about so many times was created so that all associate members had the same opportunity to participate and to develop relationships. I think this makes TTMA unique. I haven’t been associated with any group that fits that description better than TTMA.”
Rengert told a story about how, unbeknownst to him, his company had a major problem with a major trailer manufacturer. The chief engineer for the trailer manufacturer began talking cordially to Rengert’s wife, Marilyn. The engineer asked her the name of her husband’s company, and she responded “TODCO.” The engineer immediately stopped talking to her.
“I didn’t know we had a problem with that company until then. After I realized it, I was able to develop a plan to solve the problem,” Rengert said. “Because of TTMA, I could help him understand our mutual interests and he could help me understand his. It was a complete turnaround. Those are the kind of relationships that can bring profits to our businesses.”
Rengert addressed several ways that he has benefitted from a business standpoint.
“There was a time when I couldn’t even pronounce conspicuity,” he said. “But after attending several TTMA meetings, I not only learned how to pronounce it, but I learned why it is important to the safety of us all.”
He also cited other benefits.
“From a business standpoint, you know the role TTMA has played in the trucking world and the work that has been done by the group as a whole. Many highway safety issues have been resolved and have become standard practices. Early in my career, the FMVSS 121 fiasco sent our market into a tailspin, but everyone worked together to get through it.
But he kept driving home the value of relationships.
“Things are always changing and evolving in terms of technology, cost structures, and cost pressures,” he observed. “But I suggest that personal relationships are still critical to our businesses and that TTMA is the place to cultivate those relationships. Relationships are important, not only to our business, but to our personal lives. I have been retired now for almost seven years. Many of the closest friends that Marilyn and I have had in our lives were the friends we made through TTMA. We stay in touch with many of them, and we get together whenever we can.”
Rengert closed with advice.
“For those of you who are first-timers, I would suggest this: First, always work hard. Second, support TTMA. And third, get everything you can that this unique organization has to give. Then after your work days are over, you will still have all of those valuable relationships that TTMA has offered. And they are yours to keep forever.” ♦