The NASCO Story
NASCO was founded in 1994 in North Texas as the “I-35 Corridor Coalition” by a group of local elected officials and private industry partners concerned about the recently ratified North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its impact on congestion in the region. Interstate Highway 35, which runs from Laredo, Texas to Duluth, Minnesota, and has major connectors to Central and Eastern Canada, was already a critical corridor for trade between the United States, Canada and Mexico. People tend to forget there was a substantial amount of North American trade before NAFTA, and I-35 was already very congested with trucks moving through Texas.
Unsure if the new NAFTA would be successful, they did know one thing – it would bring more trucks. So, these entities came together in an effort to improve the highway infrastructure in Texas to accommodate the growth in trade, and to turn what could be a congestion crisis into an opportunity for economic development and growth.
Word traveled fast. Many other elected officials along I -35 from north Texas all the way to the Laredo border crossing found out about the effort and wanted to join. There was even interest from Mexico, and the interest grew to Oklahoma, Kansas City, and even Manitoba, Canada. As the interest grew, so did the vision.
In 1996, the group decided they wanted to formally organize and become a non-profit corporation. At that time, they began using the acronym NASCO, which stood for North America’s Corridor Coalition - the I-35 highway was referred to as “North America’s Corridor” because it connects Mexico, the heartland of the United States and Canada by way of I-29, and there was such a substantial amount of North American trade moving on it.
The Coalition members recognized that North American freight was not just moving by truck, but moved on all modes of transportation and in every direction. Freight movement impacts every industry, every community, and every person. Freight movement is the backbone of every nation’s economy, and issues can’t be solved in isolation. Things overlap.
NASCO began to gradually expand its focus on trucking to include every mode of transportation, sea and inland ports, supply chains and logistics, environmental issues caused by freight movement, energy opportunities throughout North America, and, eventually, how to solve the workforce skills gap – a crisis facing every North American company and economy.
NASCO grew, and continues to grow, it’s membership very organically – mostly by word of mouth passed from one satisfied member to their other business contacts.
NASCO has kept its head down and blinders on – passionately focusing on our core initiatives and the issues critical to our membership. We have not been sidetracked by politics or pettiness, and we have developed close working relationships with all three federal governments.
We are not starved for attention. We don’t publicize all of our successes, and we don’t take credit for every single thing we do. Our efforts do not stem from a need for accolades or recognition. We work hard because we love our continent, we see the huge potential before us as North Americans – to live on the greatest continent on earth with free democracies and abundant resources - and we want to do our part in moving all of us forward. It sounds corny, but it’s true. And, because of that, over the past 25 years we have earned a reputation as a highly credible, highly effective, trustworthy organization.
We respect all North Americans, and we welcome different opinions and ideas. We are not afraid to try something and fail – that’s how you learn - and we NEVER stop learning and improving our initiatives - and adding value for our members.
We have no ego. We embrace the fact that nothing can be accomplished alone, and only through partnerships with like-minded organizations can North America ever achieve lasting success.
We believe in the old adage - “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!”
We believe a globally competitive North America - with efficient and secure supply chains and border crossings, a versatile and skilled workforce, and a clean, healthy climate - may only be achieved through hard work, cooperation at every level of government, academia and industry, and by accomplishing small successes every single day.
They lead to big successes over time.
Today, NASCO – now named North American Strategy for Competitiveness – is the only truly grassroots, trinational membership organization focused on the North American supply chain and logistics, energy and the environment, and closing the skilled workforce gap. We have members from across the continent – provinces, states, cities, counties, global corporations, SMEs, small mom and pop shops, every mode of transportation, sea ports, inland ports, energy and environment entities, colleges, graduate schools, high school independent school districts, and community colleges and technical schools, chambers of commerce, economic development corporations, industry associations and corridor coalitions. We have a vast, diverse, energized, very high-level membership that is dedicated to North American competitiveness in the global marketplace.
NASCO connects. We connect North America. We connect people, businesses, ideas, information, efforts and organizations. We inform and involve. And, if you engage with NASCO, your people, your businesses, your ideas, your information, your organizations and your efforts connect to us and through us. It is a powerful, continental, information sharing network in multiple layers and directions. It is a valuable, proven business development tool.
And it is working.
Our story is only 25 years old – we are just getting started! We hope you will join us for the next chapter!