Montana trucking executive Kuntz named ATA chairman

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Montana trucking executive Ray Kuntz has been named chairman of the American Trucking Associations. The action came Tuesday, June 12, as ATA completed its Executive Committee meeting in Dallas.

Kuntz, chief executive officer of Helena-based Watkins & Shepard Trucking Inc., began a 16-month term as chairman of ATA’s board of directors. He succeeds Patrick Quinn, CEO and co-chairman of U.S. Xpress Enterprises, who has held the position since October 2005. Normally, ATA officers hold one-year terms, but Quinn and Kuntz served longer to fill the term of Mac McCormick, who died in a plane crash last year.

During his term as chairman, Kuntz says he aims to build consensus within the trucking industry on highway funding, environmental and tax policy issues. Kuntz also is supportive of tort reform and attracting new drivers to the industry.

During his term as ATA’s first vice chairman, Kuntz played a lead role in developing ATA’s truck driver recruitment campaign, which includes ATA modeled its Company Driver Tuition Finance Program after a financing program successfully piloted by Kuntz at Watkins & Shepard as a means of addressing the company’s shortage of long-haul truck drivers.

Watkins & Shepard is a national transportation company providing truckload — both dry van and flatbed — less-than-truckload and brokerage services. From a humble beginning 33 years ago that married a small 16-truck company and a beer distributorship, the company has grown to more than 700 trucks and drivers, 1,095 total employees and a nationwide network of 23 terminals and drop yards in 15 states.