A New Day for LMTA
D. Chance McNeely, New Executive Director, Shares His Journey to LMTA
It is not every day that a 30-year-old takes the helm as the leader of a key statewide trade association, much less in an industry so important and so regulated as trucking. My path joined LMTA’s in an interesting way, and I appreciate this opportunity to tell you about it.
I was raised in a rural part of Northwest Louisiana, DeSoto Parish, though virtually all my extended family has long resided in Rapides Parish. My parents relocated to DeSoto for work in the early 1980s where I grew up hunting and fishing. I’ve always been taught that only hard work will get a person somewhere in life. My parents, two high school graduates, exemplified this philosophy. They’ve always found a way to provide for their three children. It was their hard work and sacrifice that allowed me to move to Baton Rouge for college, and afterwards to Washington, D.C. and begin my career in public policy.
Two days after graduating from Louisiana State University with a degree in Agricultural Business, I boarded a plane to Washington, D.C. with no idea if or when I would ever return home. I had three bags and an address for my short-term housing arrangements. I would start an internship at the Republican National Committee the next day. I had never been to Washington and did not know a single person in the area. Many friends and family thought I was crazy, but I had faith that I would find my way. It was baptism by fire, but after only a few months of knocking on doors of congressional offices and learning how to network, I found my way. It was not easy but I learned that I was capable of so much more than I had ever imagined.
My first full time job was at a national trade association as a recruitment specialist in the membership division. My goal, however, was to work in the U.S. Congress. Over the course of the four years I spent in Washington, I served as an advisor to two members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Republicans Kay Granger of Fort Worth, TX and Blaine Luetkemeyer of central Missouri. Each of these Members blessed me with the opportunity to focus on transportation, agriculture, energy, and environmental issues. It was here that I developed my expertise before answering the unexpected call to move back to Louisiana and serve for Governor Jindal.
Despite all that I had learned about myself during the previous four years, it was my time working in state government that truly brought out my ability to produce and deliver. The dynamic in the previous administration was one where, as staff, you were allowed no maximum capacity. It was here that I served as the primary point of contact with several cabinet secretaries and sharpened my expertise in transportation, agriculture, energy, and environmental issues, before being appointed as an Assistant Secretary at the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) where I oversaw over half of the agency’s employees and budget. I served here until the administration ended, after which I was appointed by the new Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) secretary to serve as his advisor and, more specifically, his workhorse. I was happily thriving in this role until I heard the news that long-time LMTA Executive Director Cathy Gautreaux was leaving the association to serve as an appointee to President Trump. My initial thought was pride for Louisiana and happiness for Cathy, my second thought was what an unexpected and interesting opportunity it could be for me.
NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
The interviewing process with LMTA felt right. It was the vision the Search Committee had for the organization. It was the people in the trucking industry that I would get to represent. The self-made, small businesses that represent the majority of Louisiana’s trucking industry resonate with my family history, my career path and my beliefs. While I don’t have a CDL yet (stay tuned), I do understand the people in the trucking industry. I understand the hard work that is taken for granted by so many, as if the modern economy could exist without the trucking industry (of course it wouldn’t). I am humbled and honored the Search Committee selected and entrusted me to lead LMTA into the future.
As we embark on this journey together, I will need your help. First, know that I am committed to serving the membership and that I understand I am only here because of you. With your support, I am going to modernize and grow the LMTA so that we can do more for our members and for the industry. I will need your expertise, your time, and your trust. The first two are yours to give and the last is mine to earn. It starts by being accessible: my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my cell phone is (318) 518-5367. Don’t be a stranger.
I am excited about being your new Executive Director and what we will accomplish together. It has been a wild ride that joined LMTA’s path with mine and I am looking forward to a wild ride together for many years to come.
My number one goal is to add value to an LMTA membership.
This means demonstrating to potential new members, and our current members, that their investment in LMTA will pay back dividends on an annual basis for their company and for the industry as a whole. We can do this by providing effective programs that appeal to the masses for improving safety and compliance.
It also means working with allied members to provide discounted services and/or products to our trucking members, and so much more.
Here are some initial ideas that I am working toward as your new Executive Director:
Website and marketing overhaul.
Development of new events
• Scholarship fundraising events for the children of member-company employees
• Trucking Day at the State Capitol Regional recruitment dinners/events on an annual basis
Reinvigorate the Leadership Council
• Engage past presidents of LMTA to cultivate upcoming leaders in the Louisiana trucking industry.
Develop ongoing positive message, public education.
• From local media coverage, to the steps of the state capitol
• I am and will always be taking your feedback on how to improve our organization
Aside from the many blessings I have already discussed, the most meaning in my life undoubtedly comes from my wife, Ashlee, and my two daughters, Colette and Celia. Ashlee and I had similar paths, having left our rural upbringings to serve in the U.S. Congress. It was at an LSU alumni gameday event where we first met, and over lunches and coffees in the congressional cafeteria where we got to know one another. We brought each other back home to Louisiana and have been blessed with two beautiful little girls. We live in Baton Rouge and enjoy being much closer to friends and family. My family will be joining me at many of our annual events and I look forward to them getting to meet you and yours.