Public disagreements in this industry generally are passionately pursued by organizations whose members have a stake in the outcome, but they typically are not personal. However, the long-running feud between Bob Voltmann, president of the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), and James Lamb, head of the Association of Independent Property Brokers & Agents (AIPBA), has gone quite public, with each slinging mud at the other via e-mails with many (presumably) interested parties copied in.
Lamb accuses Voltmann of having orchestrated federal legislation to hike the minimums for the surety bonds brokers must post, to $75,000 from $10,000, an increase Lamb says threw thousands of small brokers out of business and paved the way for TIA members—many of them bigger fry—to grab additional business. Voltmann and TIA contend that the increase, the first in decades, was reasonable; that it was needed to protect all parties against the risk of bad brokers absconding with shippers' freight, funds due carriers, or both; and that small businesses make up a large chunk of TIA's membership.
The enmity between the two reached a crescendo March 31 when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Department of Transportation subagency that, among other things, regulates brokers, rejected AIPBA's request to overturn the higher bond limit, saying it was in no position to circumvent congressional intent. The following day, which happened to be April Fools day, Lamb distributed a bogus e-mail announcing Voltmann's resignation in the wake of the FMCSA's action. Voltmann, for his part, has not hidden his disdain for Lamb in several of his own e-mails.
While we all appreciate some excitement now and then, these behaviors do nothing to improve the reputation of transportation brokers, or of the transportation industry as a whole.