How many people do you know that rate more than 2,500 references in Google – or are quoted by newspapers all across Europe? I can only think of Geoff Dossetter, who retires on 26th September as director of external affairs at the Freight Transport Association.
Geoff has been the public voice of the freight transport industry for almost three decades. I can remember watching him on television 25 years ago explaining why industry needed heavier lorries. At that time the weight limit was 32.5 tonnes. And he has gone arguing the industry’s case right up to the latest efforts to persuade the government to consider trialling larger vehicles on specific routes.
He has sparred with John Humphreys on Radio 4’s Today programme as well as making numerous other television and radio appearances.
He appears regularly in the heavyweight press – The Times, Guardian and FT, not to mention The Sun and the Daily Mail, The Glasgow Herald, Basingstoke Gazette, and even the Burnham & Highbridge Weekly News. And his name occasionally gets bandied about on the floor of the House of Commons.
Geoff has also made the pages of newspapers in France, Italy and Germany – including rousing the ire of l’Humanité, the French communist newspaper.
With the rising price of fuel over the past year, Geoff has been in demand more than ever, explaining that the price of goods in the shops is affected every time oil prices rise or the government sticks another penny on the duty. I remember an anti-lorry campaigner remarking to me: “… and he seems such a nice bloke …”
That surely must be one of the reasons that Geoff has done such a good job for the industry. People might not like lorries but they cannot help but like Geoff. He never comes across as aggressive or unreasonable or threatening – the way campaigners sometimes can.
Our industry has a lot to thank Geoff Dossetter for, and it is worth taking time out to wish him well in his retirement. He will be a hard act to follow.