The Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) Board of Directors voted to accept Karen Rasmussen and Don Blake as new members at their August meeting, held at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Texas.
Rasmussen is the president and chief executive officer of HELP Inc., the provider of PrePass and other commercial vehicle safety services. PrePass allows trucks from fleets with good safety records to bypass truck scales and inspection facilities in 33 states, saving them time and fuel, and reducing operating costs. PrePass also helps enforcement agencies more efficiently focus their safety efforts.
From 2001 through late 2012, Rasmussen served as the president and CEO of the Arizona Trucking Association (AzTA) and as executive director of the Arizona Transportation Education Foundation (ATEF), a 501(c)(3) incorporated through her efforts and funded through safety grants and industry donations. Under her leadership, AzTA received the Summa Cum Laude award in 2009 for best safety program, and ATEF conceived and produced the well-known “Teens & Trucks” novice driver training video and curriculum through a grant from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Association. Teens & Trucks is still widely used throughout the United States and Canada to teach teens how to drive safely around large trucks.
Prior to 2001, Rasmussen served as director of Government Relations for Ryder System, Inc., the Fortune 500 truck leasing and logistics company. Before joining Ryder, she spent 13 years with the California Trucking Association (CTA) heading CTA’s work in areas ranging from safety, environment, commun-ications, and government relations, and serving as vice president from 1994-1997.
Rasmussen’s experience also includes tenure at the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and the Montana state legislature. She currently serves on Arizona’s Freight Plan Advisory Committee, on American Trucking Associations’ Safety Policy and Communications & Image committees and as a member of the ATRI Research Advisory Committee (RAC). Rasmussen has also been named co-chair of a new task force coordinating the 2017 National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.
Throughout her career, Rasmussen has received numerous awards, recognitions and honors. Most recent achievements include winning the Mike Russell Trucking Industry Image Award from American Trucking Associations in late 2016. In May 2016, she was named by Fleet Owner Magazine as one of the Dozen Outstanding Women in Trucking.
“Since I first became aware of TAT through Chief Dave Lorenzen (HELP’s immediate past chair), I’ve developed an avid interest in and support for TAT’s efforts to spread the word about human trafficking and train truck drivers what to look for and how to report it,” Rasmussen explained. “Trafficking is finally getting the attention it deserves, and TAT is on the forefront of doing something about it. I’m proud to be part of this forward-thinking and dedicated organization.”
Don Blake is the new truck sales manager at Inland Kenworth’s flagship store in Tolleson, Arizona and has served in the trucking industry for over 21 years. He is an active member of the Arizona Rock Product Association and the Arizona Trucking Association and was elected to the American Trucking Associations’ board in 2010, serving four years as chairman of their Leadership Conference.
Blake holds a bachelor of science in Industrial Business from Humboldt State University and is graduate of NADA Dealer Academy Program. He holds two patents and loves to invent and tinker.
After listening to a TAT presentation in 2016, Blake decided to do something that had never been done before: build a special themed truck and auction it off as a fundraiser for TAT. With the support of Inland Kenworth, including $12,000 toward the project, and Kenworth Truck Co., Blake began talking to corporate sponsors, and through his leadership, raised $89,000 in direct sponsorships and $35,000 in in-kind sponsorships to build the Everyday Heroes truck, a customized 2018 Kenworth T680. The truck was auctioned off in June of this year, netting a donation for TAT of $89,000, the largest one-time gift in the organization’s history.
“The ‘Everyday Heroes’ truck is making a lasting impact,” Blake said, “much more so than we could have ever imagined. It’s gratifying to pull so many people together for a cause and to fight something so awful as human trafficking. Many people have worked to make this possible and it’s just unreal.”
When Inland Kenworth was named the 2017 Successful Dealer of the Year during the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas in August, Blake and the Everyday Heroes truck were singled out as having played a major role in the final decision-making by those selecting the award winner.
“The folks at TAT are awesome,” Blake enthused. “They make you feel good just being around them. It’s an honor to be part of this ‘force of good.’ I look forward to driving Kendis crazy with wild ideas.”