CALGARY, Alta. – After a months-long hunt for a new head, the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) has tapped a person with experience in both the industry and the regulatory sectors to occupy its corner office. New hire Lorraine Card comes most recently from a gig as director of carrier services for the Alberta government, duties she offloaded happily when she took up her new position as the AMTA’s executive director in early November.
According to the AMTA’s president and CEO, Richard Warnock, Card was chosen from “multiple applicants” who threw their resumes into the pile from locations across Alberta and even from outside Wild Rose Country. “Most of the applicants had some trucking industry background,” Warnock told Truck West, adding that a couple of the applicants also brought with them some type of association background, though not necessarily related to transportation.
As for Card, before taking over as director of carrier services (a position she held for about a year-and-a-half), she served a couple of years with Driver Programs and Licensing, also with the Alberta government – but before that she hung her hat in the private sector.
“I spent a year at Diversified Transportation, setting up the driver training standards and the school in Edmonton,” she told Truck West, “and I have just over 20 years with Greyhound in a number of positions, the last of which was as director of safety.”
Card said applying for the AMTA’s position was a personal decision driven by her lifestyle, not necessarily by an overwhelming urge to get out of the halls of bureaucracy.
“I thoroughly enjoyed working with the government,” she said, noting that she had a terrific team and really enjoyed the work, “but I was commuting, living in Calgary (and working in) Red Deer, and that was getting to be a little bit too much. So when the opportunity knocked to apply for the AMTA I threw my name into the hat.”
It may have been that combination of government and industry experience that tipped the scales in her favour. “We needed someone that has some industry background, for sure,” Warnock said, “and Lorraine having 20-plus years working for Greyhound gave us that, so that was a step up the ladder (for her) in the applicant process.”
Regardless of background and experience, however, any new job brings with it a learning curve, and so it is with the AMTA. Fortunately, Warnock – who has been occupying Card’s new seat since the organization parted ways with its last executive director – said he’s going to stick around to help flatten that curve a bit.
“The goal will be to do (some) mentoring for sure and attend the outside office meetings,” he said. “We have some traction with the AMTA in the political arena, too, and we want that to go forward.”
There’s a possible point of confusion around the naming of their not-quite-mutual position, in that the AMTA renamed the executive director’s title to president and CEO at its annual bash in Banff last spring, while Card will be referred to as the executive director for the duration. Warnock said all should become clear eventually, noting that it’s probably just a temporary renaming of the position.
“It was agreed upon at a recommendation to the board that I remain to assist in the transition changeover,” he said, adding that his job is also to continue being “the face of the AMTA, for lack of a better word. And to do that without a title made it kind of difficult, so through discussion it was decided that I keep the title.”
Warnock said the decision of whether or not to name the final, singular position president and CEO again or go back to executive director will be decided at the end of next year, after Card has begun flying the centre seat solo – though he noted that other provinces have switched to the president and CEO title as well, which is why the AMTA went that way in the first place. That seems to hint at the AMTA returning to the new moniker eventually.
Card said she’s looking to get the lay of the land first before implementing any major changes at the association.
“That’s why I’m very thankful that Richard has agreed to stay on,” she said. “There’s a lot of momentum (in dealings) with the government and with some of the AMTA programs, and so I hope to learn from him, to see what we’re doing here, and obviously after that if there are changes to be made we’ll look at (that) going forward. But the first steps are to know the players and know the product.”
Now that his successor has been selected successfully, Warnock is looking forward to oozing his way out of the office and easing back into private life, though he also noted that it’s impossible to predict the future.
“I would like to say I’m going to completely retire,” he said, “but that could be a false statement because I can pop up doing something else. But my goal is to move into retirement.”
In the meantime, Card wants AMTA members and staffers to know she’s there to work with them and to listen to them. “I’ll certainly look at any comments and recommendations (there may be) and see how we can make the Association even better going forward,” she said.
Warnock agreed with her message, noting that “we’re going to work as a team to support the industry in Alberta.”