Lt. General Russel L. Honoré (U.S. Army Ret.), widely heralded for his role as commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, told attendees that having their American Truck Dealers Convention & Expo in New Orleans has meant a lot to the people of the city.
“Thanks for coming to New Orleans. This city survives because industries like yours come here and have conventions,” he told attendees. “A lot of people are working today because you came to New Orleans.”
Honoré’s leadership after the 2005 Katrina disaster has been praised by many for restoring order and efficiencies to the Gulf Coast. And trucks played a critical role in that recovery, he said.
To ensure trucking can meet future needs, dealers and industry leaders use their skills to embrace change.
“Leadership [needs to look] toward the future of trucking 15, 20, 30, 40 years now,” he said. “Are we talking trucks without drivers? Are we talking about zero emission trucks? Most people you mention that say ‘Oh that’s impossible.’ The only reason it’s impossible is it hasn’t been done yet. How do we get there? Leadership. Just like this city, it took leadership. It took resilience.”
Honoré spoke extensively about Gen. George Washington, his troops and the Founding Fathers and how their leadership and sacrifices created the United States.
“You are going to have to apply leadership the way General Washington applied it. [He and his troops] weren’t worried about personal safety. They had a bigger vision for our country. They believed in the words of the Declaration of Independence when all of them were not free,” he said. “Twenty percent of them were not free, but they fought for the concept of freedom. If we want to continue to create the type of economy you can [see in the exhibition hall], that’s what we have to do.”