Bob Russo, NJWMA Legend Retires
For those of you who have not yet heard, I will be retiring from NJWMA this year. I decided to spend more time with my family and to enjoy life. I actually enjoyed working in the moving industry. I met many people that dedicated their lives to making our industry better for future generations, and I made many good friends.
I thought I would go out quietly, but I was surprised that Tracy orchestrated a special event at our annual convention to honor my years with NJWMA. I know Tracy put a lot of work into creating a video, organizing the event, contacting my friends, family, board members, and movers that I worked with over the years. I was very emotional. I can’t say thank you enough to Tracy for all her work, and I thank everyone who participated in making it a wonderful night that I will not forget. I am blessed to have worked with Tracy, a wonderful board, and our members.
I must tell you why I got involved with the association. There is great value in being an active member! I accomplished many things because I was active. Being active lets you see everything going on in our industry, it can help you Advance your business. Here is a brief history of what this association has accomplished and now offers for all members of NJWMA.
I began working in my family’s business in 1965; before our industry was regulated, there were some very bad movers ripping off consumers. In 1968, legislation to license movers was passed. My dad met with local movers to discuss applying for a mover’s license. His company became licensed, and he joined the newly formed NJ Warehouseman and Movers Association.
I became an independent owner-operator in 1968, contracting to a van line. I enjoyed driving a truck and traveling throughout the country. I got off the road in 1975, brought my knowledge and truck to Dad’s member company and we built a successful booking/hauling agent for a van line.
It was rewarding to find other NJWMA member movers who reached out to help me grow. That showed me the importance of becoming a good businessman. I realized not everyone was a fierce competitor; some were like-minded people who competed fairly; we coexisted and helped each other when no conflict existed. That is the true meaning of the logo: Our Strength is Unity!
I was running my own moving company when I became a member of the board of directors in 1984. I was active in the fight against unlicensed movers. I visited legislators with other board members, joined committees with AMSA, and; took a strong stance on stopping unlicensed movers. It was an uphill battle for many reasons, it took years to accomplish every little step.
I accepted the position of Executive Director in 2006 after I sold my moving company. I worked with Tracy and the board to pass legislation that expanded enforcement. We proved to DCA that most complaints were on brokers and interstate movers; our members were rarely involved in serious complaints. I stepped down as Director in 2020 to a part-time position as legislative and training Director. Tracy was appointed Executive Director in 2021 and she is doing an excellent job. NJWMA has a much better reputation and relationship with the DCA today than before.
But she needs input from our members to be able to show DCA or FMCSA facts for the issues we fight. When Tracy sends emails or calls requesting information, she needs your feedback to make them realize we are working to help consumers and movers. I urge you to get involved.
We hold chapter meetings to unite members and discuss common industry issues over lunch. I urge you to attend at least one meeting as well as our convention, which is supported by our vendors, other state and national associations and van lines. We have come a long way, but the journey is not over. NJWMA works for all members. Please support your industry.
After 58 years of working, I am stepping down. Now, it is time to relax and enjoy the things I missed on my lifelong journey. I leave you in good hands with Tracy and your board of directors; please give them your support and become ACTIVE!
Thank you everyone for the memories,