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Wisconsin Towing Association Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Feb 17th, 2017 | By | Category: Spotlight

On June 7th 1967, a small group of towing and recovery operators with a shared mission to strengthen and bolster the towing industry gathered in Madison, Wisconsin to form the Wisconsin Towing Service Operators Association. The founding members had a goal to protect investments made by business owners, improve conditions within the towing industry, enhance the image of the tow operator, and work together on the many issues faced by the towing industry.

Fifty years later, the Wisconsin Towing Association (WTA) strives to maintain those goals as it now celebrates its Golden Anniversary in 2017. WTA Chairman Shawn Topel reflects on this historic milestone for the Association and also looks forward to its future.

“Much has changed in the towing and recovery industry over the last 50 years, but one thing has not: the dedicated men and women who care about the work they do and the service they provide,” said Topel. “New technology, larger trucks, and better equipment mean nothing without the loyal operators who perform this work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days each year.”

Topel noted the Association founders wanted the group to be comprised of leaders within the industry who would work towards improving the public image of towers, promoting better safety methods on roads and highways, and eliminating abuses within the industry. He believes a great deal of work has been done on all three issues, but knows there is always room for improvement. “One of the top priorities of the Wisconsin Towing Association is safety, both for the operator and the general motoring public,” said Topel. “We go to great lengths to educate the public about Wisconsin’s ‘Move Over’ law and have partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to promote additional traffic incident management training for towers. We want to make sure everyone gets home safely following an incident, and that includes the tow operator.”

Topel also mentioned that in 2016 the Association was successful in creating a statewide Towing Industry Appreciation Week during the second week of September of each year. The resolution, which was adopted by the Wisconsin State Legislature unanimously, not only recognizes the important service provided by the tow operators, but also serves as a reminder to drivers to slow down and move over for stopped tow trucks on Wisconsin highways.

The Wisconsin Towing Association’s 50th Anniversary will be observed throughout the year, culminating at the Wisconsin Tow Show which will be held Father’s Day weekend — June 16, 17 and 18 — at the Chula Vista Resort and Hotel in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

More information about the 50th Anniversary Tow Show can be found on the WTA Web site at