This is an archived article that was published on in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As 2012 began, the planets just happened to align for five Utah business leaders.

All are highly respected in their various industries and their home state. And now all are directing national associations that put them center stage in dealing with some of the most important issues facing the business sectors in which they operate.

"When you think about it, it's pretty unusual to have five Utahns heading prestigious national associations all at the same time," said David Creer, president of the Utah Trucking Association. "It says a lot about the quality of leadership in the Utah business community."

Dan England of C.R. England of West Valley City, whose term as chairman of the American Trucking Association ends in October, said two of the biggest issues for the trucking industry are highway funding and hours of service for drivers.

"We have a good funding mechanism in place — fuel taxes — but they haven't been raised in many years," said England. "They need to be increased on both the national and state levels and we need to make sure those funds don't get committed for something other than our highways."

He also said the trucking industry was recently hit with new "hours of service" rules that will further reduce the number of hours drivers can be behind the wheel. "It runs counter to those of us who want to keep our highways safe. Requiring drivers to reduce their hours means there will need to be more trucks on the highways to get the same amount of work done."

Stephen Wade, the owner of the Stephen Wade Auto Center in St. George, was named the National Automobile Dealers Association's chairman early last year. He will step down in February.

Wade described much of his work for the NADA as focused on "trying to help get things back on track" for the nation's automobile dealers, who were hit hard by the Great Recession.

"With our industry improving, one of the big issues we've been dealing with is increasing pressure by manufacturers on dealers to upgrade and enhance the image of their facilities," he said, adding that such mandated "facility image" programs can severely impact the balance sheets of dealers.

Surprisingly, Wade said, there is little evidence as to whether such expenditures produce a return on such investments for the dealers or the manufacturers.

Kyle Treadway of Kenworth Sales in Salt Lake City is the chairman of American Truck Dealers, a division of the NADA. It represents about 2,000 medium and heavy-duty truck dealers nationwide. Treadway will be concluding his term as chairman in February.

"Our industry was hit particularly hard by the recession and we saw a peak-to-trough decline in sales of nearly 60 percent and lost about 10 percent of the dealers as a result," Treadway said.

He said that his efforts as well as those of the ATD have been to help speed the recovery by providing education and encouraging dealership owners to adopt "best practices" that can help them operate more efficiently.

Darrin Flitton, fleet and truck-stop manager at Sinclair Oil of Salt Lake City, is the 2012 chairman of the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, which represents some 1,200 members.

Flitton said one of the issues he anticipates he will be working on as NATSO's chairman is that of "rest area commercialization" and the detrimental impact it could have on travel plaza and truck-stop owners and operations.

NATSO is worried that states, in an attempt to raise revenue, could increase pressure to overturn federal laws that prevent states from selling food and fuel in highway rest areas. And NATSO fears that if Congress eliminates such bans, its members could be competing against state monopolies.

Mark Sykes of Little America Travel Centers in Salt Lake City will serve as chairman of AmBest, or America's Best Truck Stops, through September.

Sykes said there are two big issues facing independent truck stop operators — issues that also are affecting virtually every segment of the nation's economy.

"One big issue is that of consolidation. It is effecting every industry from the airlines to banking and telecom. Companies are merging with one another and becoming bigger, and the smaller mom-and-pop operators are disappearing," he said.

The other big issue is credit-card fees, which fall particularly heavily on independent truck-stop operators compared with what large truck-stop chains must pay, Sykes said. —

Utahns lead five national associations

Dan England of C.R. England • American Trucking Association

Auto dealer Stephen Wade • National Automobile Dealers Association

Kyle Treadway of Kenworth Sales • American Truck Dealers

Darrin Flitton of Sinclair Oil • National Association of Truck Stop Operators

Mark Sykes of Little America • America's Best Truck Stops