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Viewpoint: LaHood’s a man on the move

i’m pleased to announce that the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) and Logistics Management (LM) magazine are presenting U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood with the 2011 McCullough/NITL Executive of the Year Award.
By Michael Levans, Group Editorial Director
November 01, 2011

I’m pleased to announce that the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) and Logistics Management (LM) magazine are presenting U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood with the 2011 McCullough/NITL Executive of the Year Award.

This honor, which recognizes an individual for achievement and leadership in the logistics and transportation industry, is co-sponsored by NITL and LM and is named after John T. McCullough, a former chief editor of Distribution magazine, a predecessor of LM. I will be presenting the award to Secretary LaHood on Tuesday, November 15, at a luncheon during the 104th Annual Meeting & TransComp Exhibition in Atlanta.

At first glance, some in our industry may be taken aback by the news that Secretary LaHood has been bestowed this year’s honor. In fact, many shippers may bristle when they consider the amount of regulation that their carriers and private fleets have been forced to wade through since President Obama took office—rules that are pushing up the cost of equipment, increasing scrutiny of their fleet operations, and may now lead to a reduction in driver hours of service.

However, many others applaud the work the Secretary and the Administration have done over the past three years to not only put safety at the forefront of the Department of Transportation’s agenda, but to relentlessly push the need for transportation infrastructure improvement into the headlines of our leading news sources—and subsequently on to the teleprompters of our congressmen and senators.
It’s for his pure passion, enthusiasm, and dedication to bringing transportation safety and infrastructure improvement into the legislative and national conversation that Secretary LaHood is being honored with this year’s award.

“I think it’s fair to say that NITL members saw Secretary LaHood doing his best to navigate the shoals of our now hyper-partisan capitol on matters like basic infrastructure that have traditionally been seen as non-partisan,” NITL’s President and CEO Brace Carlton shares in this month’s cover story. “Being the lone Republican in the President’s cabinet, he’s had to use the skills he learned serving as a member of Congress to try to bridge the now deep divisions.”

Our John Schulz recently caught up with the Secretary on one of the rare days he’s actually in his office. “The man really is a whirling dervish, crisscrossing the country, opening up interstate links in Washington state one day, dedicating a bridge in Michigan the next, back on Capitol Hill the day after that lobbying his former House colleagues,” says Schulz.

And he does it all with an infectious smile and a Mid-Western good humor that makes him appear that he really loves what he’s doing.

“And he does,” says Schulz. “That’s the thing that strikes you first about the Secretary. Here’s the lone Republican in the cabinet, trying to carry Obama’s agenda upstream, and you’re expecting a cold, calculating operator. Instead, the guy is like that uncle who shows up at Thanksgiving with the best chocolate, the nicest wine, gifts for all the nephews, and knows a little something about each child at the table.”

About the Author

Michael Levans
Group Editorial Director

Michael Levans is Group Editorial Director of Peerless Media’s Supply Chain Group of publications and websites including Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling, and Material Handling Product News. He’s a 23-year publishing veteran who started out at the Pittsburgh Press as a business reporter and has spent the last 17 years in the business-to-business press. He’s been covering the logistics and supply chain markets for the past seven years. You can reach him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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