Bison’s Rob Penner named TCA chairman

by Nicholas Camilleri

NASHVILLE, TN – Rob Penner, president and Chief Executive Officer of Bison Transport, has been named chaiman of the Truckload Carrier Association (TCA) for the 2017-2018 term.

Penner, the second Canadian to ever hold a chairman position with the TCA, took the stage at the association’s annual convention in Nashville, Tennessee, and began by cracking a joke that he’d be the first chairman in a long time without an accent.

“It is truly a privilege to serve you all as the chairman of the TCA,” said Penner. “Eight or nine years ago I got a call from TCA past chairman Kevin Burch, to see if I had any interest in becoming an officer here. This association and the opportunity to get involved and to know many of you has provided tremendous value to me personally, as well as to our company, Bison Transport.”

With over 30 years in the industry, and 25 years with Bison, Penner has been involved with many industry organizations, including the Ontario Trucking Association where he served on the board of directors.

“The TCA has had a positive influence on our businesses and has helped us get where we are today,” said Penner. “But there is no question there is big change upon our industry and we must embrace the future and all of the opportunities it will hold.” 

“To overcome the changes the future holds, the industry must continue to build upon the strengths, capabilities and the influence of the TCA,” he said.

“We need more and we are capable of delivering more,” Penner added. “It’s time for us to move from debate to action and we need to chart our paths, detail our strategy and focus on executing on that strategy to get some meaningful things done.”

During his speech, he announced the formation of a strategic task force that will be responsible for producing a TCA position paper to address issues impacting productivity, profitability, and the movement of freight across North America.

“I challenge our members to be more active and more engaged here, engaged in the current activities and opportunities within the association, and also engaged in bringing many more of our fellow truckload members, those currently not in this room, into this association,” he said. 

“To use a trucking analogy, we need to decide if we’re going to be the truck or the trailer. We can continue to be the trailer, and follow along the path others are taking us on, or we can choose to be truck,” he said. “To be the truck we need to be actively involved in managing our own path. We must map the route that will take us where we want to go.”

Penner said the industry appears to be “trapped” spending the majority of its facetime with lawmakers and regulators discussing things the industry doesn’t want. He went onto explain that the industry needs to discuss what it stands for and desires.   

Penner’s history with the TCA stretches back to 2010, where he was chairman of the TCA’s Regulatory Policy Committee. In addition, Penner was a member the Highway Policy Committee, the Benchmarking Best Practices Group, and the Financial Oversight and Long-Range Planning Task Force.


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