The front of the pack

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It is a great honor to recognize Avery Vise, editorial director for Randall-Reilly Publishing Co.’s Commercial Carrier Journal, for his second Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award in three years. The latest award, for his monthly editorial column, was presented at the 52nd annual Neal Awards luncheon on March 23 in New York City and was one of only 32 Neal Awards presented from more than 1,200 entries in various categories submitted by business-to-business publications in a number of industries. This is a huge honor for Vise and for CCJ, where his editorial leadership sets the standard for excellence.

I flipped back through his submitted entries and found the thread that runs through all of them. He’s daring when it comes to challenging conventional wisdom. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon, he tries to blaze new trails by adopting fresh perspectives that often are overlooked by other industry observers. Here are the columns the awards committee considered:

  • “Let sleeping berths lie?” (February 2005) warned that FMCSA likely would target split rest in sleeper berths as it crafted a new hours-of-service regulation. Vise argued, however, that eliminating split rest could be acceptable if the agency took some measures to soften the blow to productivity. Six months later, FMCSA issued rules that did, in fact, target split rest. Some in the trucking industry claimed they were blindsided, but Vise’s column should have served as a fair warning.
  • “A surging shortage?” (June 2005) took the position that the driver shortage may be much ado about nothing. Studies of the driver shortage rarely account for the efficiencies in equipment and driver utilization that will follow as tight capacity spurs consolidation.
  • “Fueling a false economy” (July 2005) dismissed the notion that federal legislation truly can level the playing field between large and small trucking companies when it come to imposing and enforcing fuel surcharges on shippers and brokers. Vise posits that ultimately, the ability to obtain a true net surcharge depends on fundamental supply-and-demand market conditions. Any attempt to use the court system to enforce surcharges will result only in expensive litigation.
  • And “Going nowhere fast?” (November 2005) argues that fleet owners should care more about the effects of speeding on fuel economy and risk management than about pressure from drivers and supposed productivity losses.

These are just a few examples of the high-quality, informative analysis Vise provides in his columns and editorial direction. Join me in congratulating him on a job well done!