Check Call: The next best thing to being there

You’ll notice the content in this issue is a little different than normal. Two of our regular sections (Profitability and Data Driven) are absent and there are fewer feature-styled articles. If you’re missing what we usually present, don’t worry, everything will be back to normal in the January/February issue.

Much of this issue is devoted to conference coverage.  The majority of the reporting originates from Transportation Media’s Surface Transportation Summit, but there are also articles from Niagara Falls and the Fleet Safety Council’s 23 Annual Educational Conference and from CITT’s Canada Logistics Conference 2014, which was held in Calgary.

It has been a busy few months at Transportation Media. The editorial team that brings you Truck News, Truck West, and Canadian Shipper, in addition to Fleet Executive, has been in attendance at industry gatherings across the country, all because we know our readers can’t always escape from the office to attend all of the shows, events and conferences that are on the schedule. By being there and reporting on the proceedings, both in the pages of our magazine and on our websites, we hope to bring some of the highlights of each event directly to you.

Not only are we there in the audience, live tweeting the presentations, taking pictures, videotaping interviews, and doing our duty as reporters, the Transportation Media team has been an active participant in many events. Of course, as hosts of the Surface Transportation Summit, you saw Lou Smyrlis, Julia Kuzeljevich, James Menzies and me at the podium as moderators, but the odds are pretty good that if you’ve been out to an event, you’ve seen us perform similar duties at other conferences, and it’s our privilege to do so. And while I can’t necessarily speak for my colleagues, I personally find hosting and moderating duties a lot of fun. I like not knowing what the presenters going to say or what questions audience members will ask. I just know that if I can get a conversation flowing, that means all sides are gaining some benefit from the day.

As journalists, we believe in the value of disseminating information, and if we can help do that—if we can aid in shaping the conversation, or asking the questions you want answered—we consider that a job that’s well worth doing.

Being active participants also means that we can do our part to give back to this industry—an industry that we all care about. While we may not make our living logging hundreds of miles per day or working out the logistics of getting a trailer load of merchandise from the warehouse to a retail outlet three provinces away, it is the industry we are immersed in. We know how vital shipping, transportation and logistics are to the economy of this country. So anything we can do that goes beyond putting out a magazine or posting news to a website to connect industry participants with each other, to introduce new ideas to the table, and to get the word out that transportation and logistics are (or, when they’re at their best, can be) an innovative, creative and responsible endeavours.

So as you start to plan your 2015 travel schedule and you’re trying to figure out if an event is worth your time and travel budget, remember that you can always take a look back at the events we’ve covered and get a flavour for their content. Just in the past few months alone, the busy Transportation Media team has reported from the Highway H20 conference, Richard Lande’s annual Transport Conference, Natural Gas Vehicles Canada, American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference and Exhibition (in San Diego), the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association’s Annual Transportation Summit (in Moncton), and the Saskatchewan Trucking Association’s Annual General Meeting and Gala Awards Banquet in Saskatoon, among others.

I do want to emphasized, that if you seen any of the Transportation Media team at an event, please come up and introduce yourselves. We always love to meet our readers and hear what you think about our websites, videos and publications. We do our jobs for your benefit, so if you think there is something we should be covering or an angle to a story we haven’t considered, please let us know. It’s only by getting your feedback that we can improve our products. On the flip side, if there is something you think we’ve done well, it’s always great to hear about that too. I love it when readers say, “I ripped a page out of the magazine and passed it along as inspiration.” Then we know we’re on the right track.

The other reason we love speaking with our readers, is because usually you have something newsworthy to tell us we can share with the rest of our audience. If there is one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that trucking companies, for the most part, tend to be a bit publicity shy, and that’s something I’d love to see change. If you’re doing something innovative or novel or praiseworthy, then let the world know. I understand that certain procedures or processes can be thought of as a competitive advantage and that there is a reluctance to speak about them, but if your customers and the rest of the world don’t know about the wonderful thing you are doing, you’re not making the most of your advantage.

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