Kirk Altrichter, general chairman of American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) for 2013 to 2014, is putting a special emphasis on membership growth in an effort to make the technical knowledge base of the TMC more readily available to a wider spectrum of industry professionals.
TMC is dedicated to providing maintenance and technology solutions to the trucking industry through education, networking and standards development (tmc.trucking.org). The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry (www.trucking.org).
Altrichter, vice president of maintenance for Gordon Trucking, Pacific, WA., says those industry professionals, including technicians, can benefit from the wealth of resources provided by TMC in the form of recommended maintenance and engineering practices, position papers, technical advisories, technical presentations at two annual meetings, an equipment exhibition, technician competition and member networking.
As part of his goal to increase membership, Altrichter plans to focus more attention on technician recruitment, explore funding streams for trade schools and increase the representation of technical schools at TMC. He says a shortage of qualified maintenance technicians is challenging the industry and causing more fleets to send repairs to dealerships.
A diversified background has provided a unique set of management skills to oversee both Gordon Trucking’s maintenance operations, with its 1,950 tractors and 6,400 trailers, and lead TMC through the first year of a new strategic plan of growth and revitalization. A 20-year military career taught him drive and determination to succeed as he led Marine combat artillery operations as a chief warrant officer.
That experience, along with a Master of Business Administration degree from Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania, a position as a logistics management professor and a job as an account service manager for Schneider National, has provided business aplomb, industry knowledge and experience for Altrichter to become a progressive manager and industry leader.
ACTIVE INDUSTRY INVOLVEMENT
Altrichter has been an early adopter of SmartWay-approved technologies, is a proponent of the use of TMC’s Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards (VMRS) and has improved fuel economy for his fleet by changing new vehicle spec’ing. He has learned to adapt to, at-times-complicated, rules by the California Air Resources Board, as does any fleet successfully operating on the West Coast.
It was just those attributes that made him a logical choice for chairman of the Washington Trucking Association Maintenance Council.
His reputation as an astute industry participant also led to his appointment last fall to a two-year term on the board of directors of the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) Research Advisory Committee. ATRI (www.atri-online.org), an ATA affiliate, has charged this committee with annually identifying the trucking industry’s top research needs.
A TMC member since 2002, Altrichter began serving in leadership roles with TMC’s S.4 Cab & Controls Study Group; became first vice chairman of the S.22 Automated Data Entry Study Group; and then chairman of the S.4 Study Group from 2005 until 2011 when he was elected to the TMC’s board of directors. He served this past year as vice chairman and chairman of meetings, and took over the reins as chairman in March.
Also in March, Altrichter received the Silver Spark Plug, TMC’s highest honor. It is awarded annually to individuals who have given outstanding service to TMC.
Altrichter is pragmatic, a strong believer in technology when used appropriately and a tireless advocate of doing the right thing; a perfect combination for leading the Technology & Maintenance Council.
TMC's current officers and directors.