ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Michael B. Russell, American Trucking Associations vice-president of public affairs and veteran newsman, died in a white water rafting accident in Colorado June 15. Russell fell from a raft on Clear Creek and was declared dead when pulled from the river. Extended efforts to resuscitate him werenot successful. He and his wife Rita were in Colorado for a large family reunion.
Russell, 64, was a resident of Potomac Falls, Va., and joined ATA in 1999 after serving as director of public and consumer affairs for the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration in the U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C.
Russell was a familiar face at many state trucking association meetings, industry trade shows and ATA’s MC&E, where he conducted media training and managed communications committees in his role as super-promoter for the trucking industry. He also worked as a television reporter, editor and anchor in Pennsylvania and Michigan before moving to Washington and a 25-year public relations career in government, including House and Senate staffs and the Executive Branch.
Russell was a four-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and a graduate from Boston University and the Milton Hershey School. Russell is survived by his wife, Rita; a daughter, Michelle; son-in-law, Mike; a granddaughter, Morgan; as well as four brothers, a half-sister, a half-brother, two step brothers and a step sister.
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