The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) has welcomed Lesley Veldstra Killingsworth as the first female chairwoman of its board of directors.

Killingsworth, who has been a member of the NMFTA since 2012, serves as director of traffic and pricing for Mississauga, Ontario-based Polaris Transportation Group. She previously served in the same position with Mountain Valley Express after starting in the industry as an account executive with Worldwide Express.

In leading NMFTA’s board, Killingsworth said she wants to advance the gains from recent changes the organization has made and keep progress moving in a positive direction.

“Last year we had a lot of change,” she said. “This year I really want to spotlight how those changes have built a strong foundation that is not only helping the industry now, but also the future.”

Debbie Ruane Sparks, executive director of NMFTA, said Killingsworth is just the leader NMFTA’s board needs in the current environment.

“Lesley knows the industry inside and out, having started with a 3PL and then moving into the LTL space,” Sparks said. “But she’s also proven her mettle as a person who gets involved and works hard to make a difference. From her service with her local community, to the years she’s already served on our board, we know Lesley is a person of action and commitment. Our members will truly benefit from her leadership.”

Killingsworth cited her personal experience building relationships with other carriers as a key benefit of her long-time involvement with NMFTA, saying the resulting partnerships have broadened her company’s outreach and expanded service points for customers. The continued partnership between the board and NMFTA staff will help keep those benefits flowing to members, she said.

“The staff and the board have been really good together over the years, and the new staff we have added are melding with us really well,” Killingsworth said. “We all have the same goals and desired outcomes for our industry.”

The board under Killingsworth’s leadership will be supporting critical efforts for the industry, including the ongoing simplification of the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) system, the pursuit of an API roadmap for every step in the freight process, and the very high priority of promoting cybersecurity education for the trucking industry.

“The Digital Solutions Conference on Cybersecurity we just wrapped up in Houston, TX brought together so many experts and brought forth invaluable insight to help our industry fight back against cyberattacks,” Killingsworth said. “I am very proud to see our organization exercise so much leadership on this issue, and clearly produce such positive results. This will continue to be one of our top priorities and as chairwoman, I will work with the board to make sure these efforts are supported.”

Reflecting on the fact that she is NMFTA’s first female chair, Killingsworth acknowledged the importance of the milestone.

“I am really excited and I know this is an amazing opportunity,” she said. “I’ve been working hard to get here and I am ready.”