ATA vice president dies in rafting accident

Mike Russell, vice president for public affairs for the American Trucking Associations, died Thursday, June 15 while whitewater rafting in Colorado. Russell, 64, had been with ATA for about seven years. He was heavily involved with media training and communications committees on behalf of state trucking associations, industry trade shows and ATA’s annual Management Conference & Exhibition.

Previously, Russell held top public relations posts at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Vice President Al Gore’s National Performance Review and the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General. Before his work in the executive branch, Russell served as press secretary to Sen. Donald Riegle and Rep. William Ford of Michigan. He began his career in journalism, however, and worked in television news in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Russell was a four-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and a graduate of Boston University and the Milton Hershey School. He is survived by his wife, Rita; a daughter, Michelle; son-in-law, Mike; a granddaughter, Morgan; and several siblings.