A giant among us has fallen. Jim Hardman died on August 8, 2017 in Minnesota. Jim spent his formative years as a young lawyer representing motor carriers in contested administrative proceedings before the Interstate Commerce Commission, where he earned a reputation as a vigorous advocate for his clients and a staunch defender of trucking regulation. He was very active in the Transportation Lawyers Association (then known as the Motor Carrier Lawyers Association) from the very beginning of his career, giving presentations at seminars, writing papers and serving on planning committees.
Jim served as an officer of the organization from 1973 to 1980. When his tenure began there was little serious attention given to the topic of "deregulation" but by the time he assumed the presidency it was an accomplished fact. Jim's year as president was perhaps the most tumultuous in the history of the organization.
We have Jim to thank for the fact that this organization exists today. His steadfast leadership was pivotal factor in convincing many of us that deregulation was not the end of the world. His keen sense of vision foretold of a future transportation lawyer with many diverse legal skills and a fundamental understanding of the industry he serves. Many others helped steer the ship into safe waters, but Jim was the captain when it struck the iceberg.
After his presidency Jim accepted a position as chief counsel for Dart Transit Company, in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he indulged in one of his greatest passions, defending and advocating for the owner-operator independent contractor model. He displayed his diverse skills as an attorney and an issue advocate not only on independent contractor issues but also other issues such as truck lengths. Everywhere you look in today's motor carrier industry you see tangible evidence of Jimi's numerous and lasting contributions.
Jim was a prolific author of legal articles for The Transportation Lawyer, the Transportation Law Journal, and other legal publications, and was a frequent speaker at TLA events. He remained active in the organization over nearly 40 years following his presidency, and served as a sounding board for those of us who followed him in TLA leadership roles. He was a deserving recipient of the TLA Distinguished Service Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Many of us have fond memories of Jim as a personal friend. He was a delightful conversationalist and a generous host. On Saturday afternoons in the fall he could be seen donned in various shades of purple, reflecting his passion for his beloved Northwestern Wildcats, whether at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois or at various Big Ten venues and bowl games. He knew how to enjoy life and bring joy to anyone who spent time with him.
Life will not be the same without Jim.