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NMFTA taps Banks to head enterprise cybersecurity efforts

Computer expert comes from metro Atlanta transit system

Antwan Banks is the new director of enterprise security at the National Motor Freight Traffic Association. (Photo: NMFTA)

The National Motor Freight Traffic Association Inc., the group that represents the interests of the less-than-truckload industry, announced Thursday it has named Antwan Banks its director of enterprise security.

Banks will lead the “enterprise” side of cybersecurity, spearheading efforts to safeguard the trucking industry against cyberattacks as the industry continues to digitize. NMFTA is taking an active role in working with all trucking interests to ensure increased digitization doesn’t create opportunities for hackers and other cyberterrorists.

Banks will run the group’s cybersecurity outreach efforts with the industry as well as leading all education and standardization efforts in the field. He will also oversee NMFTA’s annual Digital Solutions Conference on Cybersecurity each fall.

Banks joins NMFTA from the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, where he spent nine years as director of cybersecurity. In that role, Banks coordinated with state and federal agencies to protect the authority’s enterprise interests against cyberattacks.

“After nearly a decade cultivating security programs and training staff to guard against threats in the transit realm, Antwan is an ideal choice to lead this critical imperative for the trucking industry at NMFTA,” said Debbie Ruane Sparks, NMFTA’s executive director, in a statement.

Banks said in the statement that NMFTA is taking an “essential leadership role” to ensure that the trucking industry is protected, and that the work the group is doing is “critically important” to all of trucking.

Formed in 1956, NMFTA is best known for managing an age-old formula that sets LTL prices based on how commodities are classified according to various shipment characteristics. In recent months, especially with the January 2022 hiring of Sparks, a longtime truckload industry executive, the group has branched out to take the lead on digitization and cybersecurity, two areas of paramount importance to all truckers.

The two disciplines “fit hand in glove,” Sparks said in a recent interview with FreightWaves, explaining that the more a company’s operations are digitized, the more vulnerable they are to having their systems hacked. The risk is more pronounced when one or more parties to a transaction do not have robust cybersecurity protocols, she added.

Sparks is positioning NMFTA as the go-to player in both areas for LTL, starting with sharing best practices that carriers can use to combat cyberthreats. “We are working towards digitizing and safeguarding the industry,” she said in the interview. 

Sparks said in the interview she wants NMFTA to become the cybersecurity support mechanism for “all of trucking.” For example, Sparks pointed out the organization has been talking with the American Trucking Associations about, at some point, formalizing NMFTA’s research and expertise in cybersecurity and how the two groups could collaborate.

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Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.