Centennial on Tap for Traffic Club of Memphis

MICHAEL WADDELL | Special to The Daily News

The Traffic Club of Memphis is kick-starting its 100-year celebration with the introduction of its 2013 officers, led for the second straight year by president Mason Wilson.

Left to Right: Robin Colwell, John Brewer, Jim Deweese, Stuart Leslie, Marty Morelli, Ken Opperman, Carey Treadwell, Dan Pallme, Larry Mays, Mason Wilson.

(Photo: Don Koehler)

The club’s activities this year will feature a series of local events, including the Traffic Club International annual conference in September.

The Traffic & Transportation Club of Memphis formed in May 1907 when a group of railroad men met and organized in the N.C. & St.L. Railway Office in the Tennessee Trust Building at 81 Madison Ave. The club remained mostly dormant until 1913 when a meeting was held and V. T. Fort was elected president.

Wilson was sworn in as the 2013 president earlier this month.

“I’m honored to be the president this year,” said Wilson, who has been involved with Traffic Club for six years. “We are working towards putting together a great year of excellent speakers.”

Wilson, an attorney at law, formerly handled transportation matters at Butler, Snow, O'Mara, Stevens and Cannada PLLC before moving to Clarksville, where he became city attorney.

“Part of my practice then was transportation, so when I came back to town and joined Baker Donelson (Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC), I was looking to continue that transportation practice and looking for opportunities to get involved in the industry,” said Wilson, who handles motor carrier litigation and freight claim litigation. “A large portion of my practice is transportation law.”

The club provides opportunities for its members to network at social events and educational programs. Upcoming speakers at the club’s monthly luncheons at The Racquet Club of Memphis will include Wally Devereaux, director of sales for Southwest Airlines, on Feb. 12, and Darren Hawkins, senior vice president of sales and marketing for YRC Freight, on March 12.

The club also hosts a charity golf tournament whose proceeds go to helping students pursue careers in logistics.

“One of the main missions of the Traffic Club is to provide scholarships to college students who are planning to go into the transportation or logistics industry, and the golf tournament is the primary fundraiser for those scholarships,” Wilson said.

The club awarded a total of $5,200 in scholarships last year and has given more than $40,000 over the past nine years. Money for the scholarships is raised at the club’s fundraising events throughout the year.

“We are planning a crawfish boil for April, and our annual golf tournament will be held in May,” Wilson said.

In September the Traffic Club will host the Transportation Clubs International annual conference. Last year the TCI conference took place in St. Louis, and next year it is tentatively slated for San Antonio.

Wilson expects the host hotel for the conference to be Downtown, and he hopes other conference activity will take place at the FedEx Institute of Technology. Final planning is in the works now.

The group is one of many traffic and transportation clubs across the U.S.

“It’s really grown over the years to include transportation professionals from all modes of transportation,” Wilson said.

The 2013 Traffic Club of Memphis officers and board of directors are vice president Carey Treadwell of Dynamex; secretary/ treasurer Ken Opperman of Jamac Logistics; and editor Stuart Leslie of Vaco.

Board members are John Brewer of ACH Foods, Robin Colwell of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Jim Deweese of ABF Freight System, Larry Mays, Marty Morelli of Old Dominion Freight Line and Dan Pallme of the University of Memphis.

This year, in honor of its 100th birthday, the club is featuring a membership drive contest in which the member who recruits the most new members wins the equivalent of $3,500 to use on a vacation.

“The goal of our ‘100 for 100’ membership drive is to get 100 new members this year,” Wilson said. “Our membership’s been steadily increasing for the past two to three years.”