Jeb Bush offers four-part economic strategy at AmeriQuest meeting

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Jeb Bush, former two-term Florida governor and keynote speaker at the recent AmeriQuest Transportation Industry Symposium held in Orlando, Fla., generated an enthusiastic audience response to his plan for stimulating economic growth in the United States. His four-part strategy is based on acceptance of alternative energy sources, a sound immigration policy, an end to oppressive regulation and a transformation of the country’s educational system.

“For the first time, alternative energy sources, like natural gas, are being wholeheartedly embraced by American entrepreneurs as a way to lessen our nation’s dependence on foreign oil,” he said at the gathering of top trucking executives. “An acceptance of natural gas, which is abundant in North America, could cut our dependence on foreign sources by half. We need our government to support the transportation industry at this transformational moment instead of blocking it with extreme regulations and taxes.”

Bush said an intelligent immigration policy would call for a compassionate approach to dealing with the country’s immigrants. “One thing we should do is make it easier for students who come to the United States to pursue higher education to stay and contribute their talents to help the U.S. economy,” he said.

Bush said oppressive regulations suppress the entrepreneurial spirit of the country. “Right now, the cost of regulatory compliance is estimated to be $1.75 trillion,” he said. “Unfortunately, small business is the hardest hit by this burden.” He hopes for a time when the nation can start from scratch in the development of common-sense regulations for American business.

Radically transforming the educational system “is our greatest challenge and our greatest opportunity,” Bush said. While governor of Florida from 1998 through 2007, Bush reformed the state’s education system, helping Florida students achieve their greatest gains in the state’s history.

The AmeriQuest Symposium took place in April at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes. Speaker Dan North, chief economist with Euler Hermes ACI, expressed “cautious optimism” about the state of the U.S. economy and the trucking industry. His viewpoint was supported by speaker John Larkin, managing director of Stifel Nicolaus & Co. and transportation industry specialist. “Domestic freight volume is steady and seeing indications of growth,” he said, adding that current market forces are tightening supply and demand in the industry.

The AmeriQuest Transportation Industry Symposium, which brings together executives with private fleets, truckload carriers and industry suppliers, opened with a talk by the first day’s keynote speaker Billy Beane, a Major League Baseball executive and inspiration for the film “Moneyball.” Beane told of how the Oakland A’s baseball front office used rigorous statistical analysis to predict his team’s path to success.

Other speakers included Gary Petty, president and chief executive officer of the National Private Truck Council; Run Huibers, president of sales and marketing for Volvo Trucks North America; and Brian Cota, vice president of sales for Daimler Trucks North America. The event concluded with a presentation by Robert Tucker, expert in product and service innovations, who revealed the best practices of 23 innovation vanguard companies.