ATA makes law department moves

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The American Trucking Associations announced a pair of personnel moves: the promotion of Prasad Sharma to senior vice president and general counsel, and the hiring of Richard Pianka as the association’s new vice president and deputy chief counsel.

“I’m extremely pleased to be able to promote Prasad and have a great deal of confidence he will continue to provide the first-rate legal guidance and service that our members have come to expect from ATA,” says Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer. “ATA is also fortunate to be able to add an attorney of Rich’s stature and ability to our team, and we expect great things from him in the years to come.”

Sharma has been with ATA since 2000, most recently as vice president and deputy chief counsel, and in that time has been responsible primarily for the association’s business activities, as well as concentrating on cargo claims and motor carrier operations issues. Sharma also oversaw ATA’s Highway Watch program from 2007-2009. Prior to coming to ATA, Sharma was an attorney with Holland & Knight. Sharma replaces Robert Digges as ATA’s general counsel following Digges’ retirement.

“ATA has been tremendously lucky to have Bob’s services for nearly 30 years,” Graves says. “His legal acumen and understanding of our industry has allowed ATA to prevail on dozens of issues of great importance to our members, issues that run the gamut from taxation to independent contractor status. His experience and his intellect will be sorely missed as he moves on to a well-earned retirement.”

Pianka comes to ATA from the firm of Mayer Brown, where he specialized in general and appellate litigation. Prior to that, he was with the firm of WilmerHale and before beginning his law career was a computational linguist and taught history and archeology.