The owner of an Ohio trucking company was part of a meeting with President Trump and one of his closest advisors, daughter Ivanka Trump, earlier this week at the White House.
Sherri Garner Brumbaugh, president, CEO and owner of Findlay, Ohio-based Garner Trucking, said she told the Trumps about one of the industry’s biggest challenges: Finding and retaining skilled employees.
“Finding a qualified workforce —truck drivers and technicians — is a huge challenge for us in this industry,” Brumbaugh said. “My question to Mrs. Trump was what can the administration do to tackle this problem so that we can find a qualified workforce for good paying jobs.”
Brumbaugh said she also mentioned the challenges that regulations pose to the industry’s productivity and profitability.
Brumbaugh’s meeting with the Trumps was part of a listening session organized by the Small Business Administration. Brumbaugh says there were about 100 people present, including representatives from small businesses across all sectors of the economy.
“They were interested in gathering information from small businesses —- what are the barriers we’re facing, what can they do as an administration to remove those roadblocks,” Brumbaugh said. “They can’t fix what they don’t know, so listening to small businesses —- people that are providing jobs —- is the first step to making a difference.”
She was in the meeting through an invitation from the American Trucking Associations. The White House contacted ATA to see if there were members who had recently utilized a Small Business Administration loan. Garner Trucking received an SBA loan in 2016 to purchase a truck and trailer repair business. “And we had some growth last year,” said Brumbaugh.”So that was why we connected with the White House.”
Brumbaugh’s 100-truck fleet employs 150 people, she said.
In addition to President Trump and Ivanka, Brumbaugh said several other high-profile White House staffers were present, including Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, new Chief of Staff General Michael Kelly and White House advisor KellyAnne Conway.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also attended the meeting, Brumbaugh said. Rubio is a member of the Senate’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. Also in attendance was SBA Administrator Linda McMahon.
Brumbaugh has headed Garner Trucking since 2008, when she assumed the roles of president and CEO. She became owner of the business in 2012, taking over for her parents, who founded the carrier as a single-truck owner-operator business 50 years ago.