Self-driving truck company TuSimple announced Wednesday the establishment of a high-powered executive advisory board, releasing a list of names in regulatory and transportation circles that reads like signposts in a compressed history of autonomous and electric trucking.
On the board is Steve Girsky, the former vice chairman of General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and managing partner of VectoIQ, an investment firm that has become synonymous in freight circles with the SPAC craze and led the reverse merger that made Nikola a public company in June.
Another board member is Eric Fuller, president and CEO of U.S. Xpress Enterprises Inc. The truckload carrier recently introduced a digitally managed fleet, Variant, and is now moving freight for TuSimple customers.
Both companies announced Wednesday that they had taken equity stakes in TuSimple.
All eyes on regulatory environment
Over the past six months the autonomous trucking industry has been in a growth phase, defined by maturing technology and partnerships with OEMs and transportation logistics providers.
Add to that a new presidential administration and many in the industry are looking for leaders who can help advance go-to-market strategies as well as navigate and lobby on behalf of regulations that are favorable to their companies.
Helping TuSimple in that regard are two board members who are also former members of the U.S. House of Representatives:
Jeff Denham, a former representative from California, is a decorated former Air Force staff sergeant and Gulf War veteran with in-depth legislative and political knowledge of agriculture, transportation and infrastructure, natural resources, veterans, immigration and California-centric policies.
Jim Kolbe, a former representative from Arizona, served for six years on the House Budget Committee and for 20 years on the Appropriations Committee. He currently serves as a senior trans-Atlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund, where he advises on trade as well as issues of effectiveness of U.S. assistance to foreign countries. In Arizona, he is also co-chair of the Governor’s Transportation and Trade Task Force and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Bringing in the railroads
Jean-Jacques Ruest, president and CEO of Canadian railway CN, round out the list of TuSimple executive advisory board members.