The American Trucking Associations said that Christopher Spear had been named vice president and chief of legislative affairs, responsible for advancing ATA’s policy priorities in Congress. He will report to Dave Osiecki, executive vice president of national advocacy, as part of ATA’s recent efforts to align policy, regulatory and legislative efforts more closely.

“Chris has a long career on Capitol Hill and in the federal government and we’re thrilled to have him as part of our advocacy team,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves.  “Chris also brings a wealth of experience from the private sector which benefits our vital industry as we pursue our legislative priorities on Capitol Hill.”

Spear previously served as vice president of emerging markets and government relations for Honeywell following a stint as assistant Labor secretary during the Bush administration. From 1993 until 2001 Spear served in various professional staff positions in the U.S. Senate.

Spear (seen at right) told Fleet Owner that his experience shepherding legislation through Congress and strong knowledge of the parliamentary process will help ATA achieve many of its goals in the face of partisan gridlock.

“We have to look for vehicles to get done what needs to get done,” Spear said. “The industry doesn’t go on hold because the government can’t move legislation. We have to adapt to the limited legislative environment we are working in.”

People on Capitol Hill used to talk about the 80/20 rule; if you could get 80% of what you wanted you worried about the other 20% later, Spear told Fleet Owner. “If you can get 20% now it’s a pretty good effort.”

Regardless of the challenges, ATA’s membership expects the association to be effective, Spear said. “I am very results driven. I don’t like regurgitating the same thing year over year, and I don’t point fingers at others as why we didn’t get things done.”

Spear believes that his managerial responsibilities at the Labor Department overseeing nine agencies and his P&L responsibilities at Honeywell will add to his effectiveness in advocating for the trucking industry. And even his time working overseas helps give him perspective. In many countries – Greece, for example – business faces a whole host of impediments that are foreign to companies that operate only in the United States, Spear said.

“Their dysfunction makes what we’re facing here look pretty simple.”