2022 Minnesota Trucking Association Annual Conference Highlights

In today’s economy and environment, it can seem impossible to step away from our businesses to educate, network, and have fun. But sometimes we must make the time. When we do, it never fails to reward us. I was able to “make the time” and take the opportunity to attend the 90th Minnesota Trucking Association‘s Annual Conference (MTA). As usual, getting together with friends, clients, and referral resources was well worth it, and I left the conference rejuvenated and ready to go on my own business.

Wednesday Highlights

The day 1 opening keynote speaker, David Horsager, CEO of Trust Edge Leadership Institute, kicked us off with his presentation “Build Trust or Die Amidst Change: How to Build Trust, Lead Others and Grow Revenue Through Times of Transition.” He has identified trust as the leading business cost and developed eight pillars of trust. The eight pillars of trust can give you an edge in business and life. Trust Edge’s website states, “most people think trust is an ambiguous, complex idea that you either have or don’t. We know trust is the leading indicator of success and that it can be actively built. Our framework based on the 8 Pillars of Trust can be quickly taught and consistently reinforced so everyone can perform at their best.”

These are the 8 Pillars of Trust that David shared with us:

  • Pillar 1: Clarity
    • People trust the clear and mistrust the ambiguous.
  • Pillar 2: Compassion
    • We need to care for more than ourselves.
  • Pillar 3: Character
    • Doing what is right over what is easy.
  • Pillar 4: Competency
    • We need to stay relevant and fresh.
  • Pillar 5: Committed
    • We need to keep our promises. If we say we have an open-door policy, then we need to keep our doors open and be always available for questions. Not when it is convenient to us.
  • Pillar 6: Connection
    • We need to connect with all.
  • Pillar 7: Contribution
    • Contributions are the results we are producing.
  • Pillar 8: Consistency
    • Even though we need to be competent (relevant and fresh), we still need to do the little things consistently. Sameness is trusted. Every interaction we have with others will either increase or decrease trust.

The next presenter was Chris Clark, President of Xcel Energy – Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota, with his presentation called “The Future: Electricity Power & Trucking”. This was a very thought-provoking topic. Chris’ most important concern is keeping the lights on for Xcel’s customers. The interesting item I took from his presentation was that Xcel Energy’s plan for 2030 was developed to only be able to handle 1.5 million electric vehicles. But he said not to discount advancements in technology. When Xcel was required to develop wind power, it was very costly and nowhere near ready to begin. But by being forced to enter that market, it accelerated R&D, and now wind energy is the most cost-effective energy source for Xcel.

Chris also explained that nuclear power would be necessary as we are trying to get more clean and renewable energy. Most concerns regarding nuclear energy involve nuclear “waste”. He explained that nuclear “waste” isn’t waste at all. When nuclear power is used, only 8% is expanded. Nuclear “waste” really is the remaining 92% of the energy. But there is R&D being performed to try to reuse this nuclear “waste”. Unfortunately, that could be 15 or 20 years or more from being possible unless R&D makes a significant discovery. The afternoon started with a CEO roundtable with representatives from various trucking and transportation carriers, followed by breakout sessions about work-life balance, economic analysis of critical issues in trucking, preparing for mergers and acquisition presented by our own Dane Boeckermann from Boeckermann Grafstrom & Mayer CPAs, and finally examining your operations to increase margins.

Thursday Highlights

The event wrapped on Thursday morning, with Dan Meers giving the closing presentation. Dan is a professional mascot known as KC Wolf for the Kansas City Chiefs. He also has the honor of being in the mascot hall of fame. Dan presented “Courageous Leadership: Living a Life of Influence”.

Dan talked about his 33 years as the Kansas City mascot and his most memorable moment in 2013 when he almost lost his life. It was the Saturday before a game, and he was practicing a bungy zip line that was supposed to drop 20 feet when he jumped off before ziplining over the stadium. But the zipline was too loose, and he plunged 75 feet into stadium chairs and concrete. But rather than ending there, as he was on a zipline, it bounced him up, and he had to continue across the zip line before he could be rescued.

That night in the hospital, the doctor said he was lucky and that he should have died. Even though it was a painful learning experience, Dave learned to live life with character, passion, and purpose and that the most meaningful things in life are not objects but relationships. He explained you can “rise and shine” or “rise and whine”. Everyone has something to complain about and something to be thankful for. And you can choose what you want to do. Decisions are like a coin. You can spend it as you want, but you can only spend it once.

Final Thoughts

Finally, I congratulate Steve Yaggy from Yaggy Trucking Inc. for his wonderful job as Chair of the MTA the past year and Sam Anderson from Bay & Bay Transportation on being elected the new Chair.

Every year I wonder if I can fit this conference in, and every year I go home with very valuable information. I hope to join again next year, August 8-10, 2023, at Cragun’s Resort on Gull Lake and see all my friends, clients, and referral relationships again. To learn more about how Boeckermann Grafstrom & Mayer serves clients in the transportation and logistics industry, visit our Transportation and Logistics page or contact Jason Marvin at 952-844-2531 or

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