National Transportation Week is the result of efforts started by Charlotte Jones Woods.
In 1952, as the 1st Educational Chairman of the newly formed Women’s Transportation Club of Houston, an educational program was set up in the amount of $500 which was designated to go to a scholarship program at the University of Houston for their degree course in transportation subjects.
Guess what? Nobody applied.
The college reported they had not been able to interest anyone in becoming a truck driver or a policeman. That’s when Charlotte and the Women’s Transportation Club decided, “We’re in trouble, the University of Houston knew as much about the field of Transportation as the students...Nothing!”
Not wanting the project to fail, the Club made inquiries to see if a day, week or month was set aside to honor the Transportation Industry. Nothing was found, so the Club decided to change that themselves and have a Houston observance of Transportation Week! The first Houston observance came about the week of March 29 to April 4, 1953.
Contacting other Texas towns, nine additional cities were set up for the observance of Texas Transportation Week in 1954. In collaboration with attorney Frank Norton of Dallas and the Texas Motor Transportation Association, the interested parties put together a 50-page book which addressed itself to the “How’s, Why’s and Where's” for Transportation Week. The book was sent out across Texas and to Clubs in other states where a similar interest was found.
At the 1954 Educational Congress of Traffic Clubs International, the members from Texas gave evidence to the success story of two years experience in promoting the Transportation Industry.
Charlotte Woods was elected to her first term as Director of TCI and sold TCI on the National Sponsorship of National Transportation Week. A National Chairman was appointed for 1955.
Immediate efforts were unsuccessful toward a set date to be proclaimed by the President of the United States. A great many people spent long hours in Washington and other areas trying to accomplish this end. There is no telling how many “out of pocket dollars” were spent by those dedicated TCI Officers, the management of the industry and various carriers themselves before they even began to approach success.
Year after year a bill would get through the United States House of Representatives, then the U.S. Senate, for a Presidential Proclamation only to have it amended before passing...for specific year only.
Finally, in 1962 President John F. Kennedy declared a permanent date and from that day forth it will always be the week in May which contains the third Friday (National Defense Transportation Day), with the Maritime Day on the following Saturday.
ITMA Making History:
Ann Wilson served as ITMA President 1998 to 2000. The Newsletter/Communications Director was Mary Ann Chambers.
While Serving as Past President on the ITMA board under Betty Vernon who served as President in August 2000 to 2002, the ITMA Board decided and Ann obtained Proclamations each year from Governor Perry for National Transportation Week to be recognized by the State of Texas. This had to be done yearly.
During this time other Transportation Clubs had obtained Proclamations locally from the Mayors of Houston. Ann's personal goal was to get a bill passed by the Texas Governor honoring this week in Texas - permanently bringing this to Texas law, where Charlotte Woods started her mission.
In June 2002, during an ITMA Board Meeting, Mary Ann Chambers brought to the board's attention that she had just attended her reunion at St. Agnes and it was there she ran into one of her former classmates who is now Rep Beverly Wooley.
Mary Ann visited with Beverly during this reunion explaining to her briefly what ITMA wanted to do and on June 17th she sent more information to her via email advising Beverly that Ann would be working with them on this.
On July 8th Rep Wooley's assistant, Wendi Ayles, and Ann made contact. Beverly was in Colorado and was due back in Houston from September thru December. Wendi and Ann put together the information needed which was to be given to the Texas Legislative Council to subsequently present a bill for permanent Texas acknowledgement of NTW. The next session for legislature was set for January through May 2003.
On February 7, 2003 Wendi sent Ann a copy of the language for Transportation Week in Texas. She explained there were 2 pieces of legislation: (1) a bill that seeked to make Transportation Week permanent, and (2) a resolution which wouldl establish Transportation Week temporarily for this year.
Betty Vernon and Ann reviewed this information making a few slight changes and by Valentine's Day changes were accepted by the Legislative Council. On February 18, 2003, Wendi advised H816 and was referred to the House Committee on State Affairs and would be heard before the committee on February 24.
On May 9, 2003, Wendi advised that HB816 passed the House and was scheduled for public hearing May 12, 2003. After the Senate committee she explained it would have to pass the Senate and would then go to the Governor for his consideration.
In June 2003 Governor Rick Perry signed HB816 into law.