Georgia on your mind

Two years after making Atlanta the home for The Work Truck Show, the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) is returning.

And why not?

“It went great,” NTEA meetings and member services director Steve Carey says of the 2006 show, which featured an attendance of 7,091. “I don't think we'd be repeating back to the city if we didn't feel it was a good market for us.

“Geographically, the Southeast does have a fairly high density of industry professionals. The Georgia World Congress Center is a facility that's big enough to accommodate the event. With the growth of the show, that's an important thing we have to look at. There just aren't many facilities in the country that have the square footage we need (450,000).

“The city certainly has done lot of development in downtown area since we've been there. The World of Coca-Cola Museum opened right next to the aquarium. A number of restaurants have opened in the last 18 months.”

The show — held February 25-28 in conjunction with the 44th annual NTEA Convention — is North America's largest gathering of vocational trucks and transportation equipment from Classes 1-8, including chassis, bodies, components, and accessories.

The event is open to manufacturers, distributors, fleet managers, leasing companies, truck dealers, buyers, and users of work trucks in all industries. Products from all aspects of the industry — including chassis, bodies, aerial devices, snow and ice control, accessories, and components — are featured at the show.

Altogether, 500 industry suppliers are expected to exhibit, including at least 40 new exhibitors this year. Some of the largest fleets in the country attend The Work Truck Show. Nearly 90% of those fleet attendees have final purchasing authority. Distributors/upfitters, manufacturers, truck dealers, trade association members, and trade media also attend.

Many booths are staffed with engineers and other technical personnel to help attendees spec vehicles and equipment. Dozens of new Class 18 vocational truck and equipment products and technology innovations are displayed on the expansive show floor, including new commercial trucks from the major chassis manufacturers. At least 35 exhibitors will display new products at the show.

The Opening Reception will kick off the event, giving attendees a chance to mingle and network in the stunning Georgia Aquarium on Monday, February 25, from 6:30 pm-9:30 pm. From the electric eel and giant pacific octopus to the whale shark, Georgia Aquarium boasts eight million gallons of fresh and marine water and more aquatic life than any other aquarium.

Three-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Darrell Waltrip will be the keynote speaker at the President's Breakfast & NTEA Annual Meeting on Wednesday, February 27, from 7:30 am-9:15 am.

The Truck Fleet Manager Training Session & Networking Luncheon will be held February 27 from 11:15 am-1:15 pm.

Featuring Steve Saltzgiver, manager of Mercury Associates and executive director of the National Conference of State Fleet Administrators, this is a special training opportunity and networking luncheon open exclusively to truck fleet managers. Following a short, informative presentation, lunch will be served, giving participants time to network and share ideas with other fleet professionals.

Saltzgiver will talk about the ever-changing role of the fleet administrator, focusing on: the dynamics in the fleet industry that are causing these perennial changes in the role of the fleet administrator; how the fleet industry has and is changing and what the current expectations are from upper management; the basic skills that should be included in the fleet manager's arsenal to prepare for continued success; and how to successfully communicate internally and externally as a professional fleet administrator.

“Do Something About Your Brand Before it Does Something About You” is the title of this year's Business Forum on Thursday, February 28, from 8:30 am-10 am. Stan Slap, president of international consulting company Slap, will share with attendees how to create unbeatable branding in any market. The Forum is preceded by breakfast from 8 am-8:30 am.

One optional tour features Roswell, a charming town founded in 1839 that sits on land once occupied by the Cherokee nation before their journey West known as the “Trail of Tears.” During the Civil War, Roswell was occupied by 36,000 troops, but only the mills were destroyed, leaving original structures still standing today. The tour begins with a visit to the Archibald Smith Plantation built in 1845. Three generations of the Smith family have occupied this home, preserving all of the original belongings.

Each year, the NTEA offers an educational program designed specifically to foster the education, growth, and leadership of professionals in the work truck and trailer industry.

Here is a look at the educational sessions, breaking them down into the categories of management, sales, technical, chassis, and fleets. See accompanying article for an in-depth look at some key sessions.

MANAGEMENT

“Driving Results by Engaging Employees: The SRC Story (Part 1 of 2),” February 25, 1:30 pm-2:45 pm: Would you want to compete with a company that has employees who are fully engaged in the business? This means that all of the employees understand how the business works and what is critical for success. Top-performing companies regularly track results and continuously think about how they can improve them. Also, because they have a common goal and incentives tied to that goal, departments easily collaborate and employees focus their energies on serving customers substantially better than the competition. In addition, because employees openly discuss wins and losses, they keep learning and improving. Learn how one privately held manufacturing company, Springfield ReManufacturing Corp (SRC), has applied these principles, turning an initial $100,000 investment in 1983 into $171 million in equity value. Presenter: Bill Fotsch, Head Coach, The Great Game of Business Division of SRC, Springfield, Missouri.

“Customer Service: The Lean and Successful Way,” February 25, 3 pm-4:15 pm: Customers have more information and options now than ever before. In today's competitive business environment, the service and products you deliver must meet or exceed your customers' expectations. Hear how one NTEA member company has adopted a systematic approach to serving customers, and gain a broad understanding of how a lean customer value-added approach can substantially elevate your position in the marketplace. Presenter: Scott Druhot, President and CEO Truck Engineering Ltd LLC, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

“Differing Paths to Achieving ROI for Distributors and Manufacturers,” February 25, 3 pm-4:15 pm: Manufacturers and distributors all have return on investment (ROI) goals. According to NTEA research, distributors actually achieve a higher ROI than manufacturers. So, it is no surprise that manufacturers and distributors reach their ROI goals in very different ways. Gain a better understanding of manufacturer and distributor financial pressure points to help plan for and achieve profitable growth. Presenter: John Mackay,President, Mackay Research Group, Lafayette, Colorado.

“Driving Results by Engaging Employees: Implementation Success Stories (Part 2 of 2), February 25, 3 pm-4:15 pm: In Part 1 of this two-part series, you heard how Springfield ReManufacturing Corp (SRC) went from being a money-losing, $16 million dollar manufacturing company to an incredibly successful, growing company with more than $256 million in sales. But how does that apply to you? How can SRC's success help you with the unique challenges that exist in your business? Hear firsthand success stories and implementation of best practices from Fotsch, who has helped more than 250 companies — large and small — apply SRC's business principles. Take away your own implementation plans on how you can apply these principles in your business and begin to create your own success story.

“Lean Management for Parts and Service Departments,” February 26, 8 am-9:15 am: Learn new management techniques to increase the effectiveness of your service department. Participants will be introduced to the “Balanced Scorecard” technique based on the needs of customers and areas in which suppliers need to excel to retain and satisfy their customer base. Implementation obstacles will also be reviewed to facilitate implementation at the repair facility. Presenter: Ron Slee, President, RJ Slee & Associates, Rancho Mirage, CA.

“Work Order Process Management,” February 26, 9:30 am-10:45 am: Review the complete cycle and steps of a work order during this “how-to” on shop floor management. Topics of discussion will include organization and collection of labor; customer communication and interaction; purchasing requirements; and all points between job opening and closing. Participants will learn how to incorporate customer dialogue on repair determination, work order processes, effective job scheduling, and minimizing work in progress. Presenter: Slee.

SALES

“Positioning Your Company to do Business with the Federal Government Through the GSA,” February 25, 1:30 pm-2:45 pm: Learn how to do business with the U.S. government and how to position your company to conduct business with federal, state and local agencies. Representatives from the General Services Administration (Center for Automotive Acquisition) will provide information on their role as the vehicle purchasing agent for the U.S. government. The agency purchases more than 60,000 non-tactical vehicles and vehicle-related products for federal civilian and military customers, including aerial devices and digger derricks; alternative fuel vehicles; light, medium and heavy trucks; trailers; and more. Presenters: Russell Miller, Automotive Vehicle Engineer General Services Administration, Arlington, Virginia; John McDonald, Automotive Vehicle Engineer, GSA; Denise Banks, Automotive Acquisition Light Vehicles, GSA; Jonathan Todd, Automotive Acquisition Light Vehicles, GSA; Cheryl Harris, Heavy and Medium/Multiple Award Schedules, GSA; John McDonald, Automotive Vehicle Engineer, GSA; Carmen Calloway, Heavy and Medium/Multiple Award Schedules, GSA.

TECHNICAL

“Specifying Vehicle Powertrains for Optimum Work Truck Performance,” February 26, 9:30 am-10:45 am: A properly specified powertrain for your work truck is critical. Your component selections will determine the vehicle's ability to perform the task at hand and can have a major impact on vehicle productivity, fuel utilization, operating costs and operator satisfaction. Learn the fundamentals of vehicle propulsion and the forces acting on the vehicle, such as load (inertia); rolling resistance; air resistance; and grade resistance. Also, review critical powertrain component selection factors, such as engine gross versus net power; lug-back versus lug-up engine curves; and the various options available when selection transmissions and axles. Additionally, learn how to define required performance factors, such as startability and gradeability; traction requirements; cruise performance; and how to properly specify the vehicle engine, transmission and rear axle to achieve the desired performance. Presenter: Joe Johansson, Senior Application Engineer, Allison Transmission, Indianapolis, Indiana.

“Requirements of Durable, High-quality Truck Frame Modification,” February 27, 9:30 am-10:45 am: Examine basic frame characteristics and requirements needed for sturdy, professional mounting of truck bodies and equipment. Understand how the effects of welding and fastener usage can impact frame strength and durability. Identify ways to avoid the mistakes that can lead to costly repairs. Presenter: Richard Toner, Owner, Toner Associates, Pentwater, Michigan.

CHASSIS

“Hino Trucks & Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc CHASSIS UPDATE,” February 25, 1:30 pm-2:45 pm: Hino Trucks will discuss the company's past, present and future, including its chassis-cab model lineup, options, and body builder information. Emphasis will be placed on new options added specifically for the service/utility vocational market. Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc will present firsthand technical information on chassis specifications, design, body installation, and equipment mounting options. Learn more about future models and commercial applications. Presenter: Nick Vermet, Senior VP of Sales, Marketing & Customer Support, Hino Trucks, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

“Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc CHASSIS UPDATE,” February 25, 1:30 pm-2:45 pm: Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc will present 2008 and 2009 chassis changes and model lineup, application support, and contacts. Presenter: Dan Cutler, Executive Director Product Development Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc, Cerritos, California.

“Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America Inc CHASSIS UPDATE,” February 25, 3 pm-4:15 pm: Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America Inc will discuss body application issues that relate to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2007 and projected EPA 2010 chassis configurations. Mitsubishi representatives will discuss heat rejection issues that affect body mounting clearances, temperature sensors, pressure sensors, and locations of other devices that must not be damaged or relocated.

“Peterbilt Motors Company CHASSIS UPDATE,” February 25, 3 pm-4:15 pm: Peterbilt Motors Company representatives will provide information on chassis specifications, design, body installation, and equipment mounting options.

“Dodge CHASSIS UPDATE,” February 26, 8 am-9:15 am:

Dodge will present technical information, chassis specifications, and content changes on its full line of 2008 model year commercial product offerings. Learn more about future models and commercial applications and take advantage of this opportunity to interact with Dodge engineers and product specialists.

“Kenworth Truck Company CHASSIS UPDATE,” February 26, 8 am-9:15 am: Kenworth will present information on chassis specifications, design, body installation, and equipment mounting options. Learn more about future models, commercial applications, and new medium-duty product offerings.

“Sterling Truck Corporation CHASSIS UPDATE,” February 26, 8 am-9:15 am: Sterling Truck Corporation will present additional information on Environmental Protection Agency 2007 emission-compliant exhausts, the Acterra Body Builder Book, Bullet, 360, ISL, and Alternative Fuel Programs.

“Ford Commercial Truck CHASSIS UPDATE,” February 26,9:30 am-10:45 am: Ford Commercial Truck representatives will provide information on chassis specifications, design, body installation, and equipment mounting options

“International Truck and Engine Corporation CHASSIS UPDATE,” February 26, 9:30 am-10:45 am: International Truck and Engine Corporation will present firsthand technical information on chassis specifications, design, body installation, and equipment mounting options. Learn more about future models, commercial applications, and new products, such as the 5900 SBA, Diamond Logic Electrical Systems, and AWARESM Vehicle Intelligence.

“Freightliner Trucks CHASSIS UPDATE,” February 27, 9:30 am-10:45 am: Freightliner Trucks will detail new cab and chassis enhancements as well as new exhaust configurations for its 2008-model-year medium- and heavy-duty product lines. These enhancements are designed to better serve operators, body builders, and upfitters. The Business Class M2 (medium- and heavy-duty) will be on display, showcasing the latest features and benefits.

“General Motors Fleet and Commercial Operations CHASSIS UPDATE,”February 27, 9:30 am-10:45am: General Motors will present 2009 model year updates on Chevrolet and GMC commercial vehicles.

“Mack Trucks Inc CHASSIS UPDATE,” February 27, 9:30 am-10:45 am: Mack Trucks Inc will present a Granite chassis update, component positioning chassis layout, Mack Power MP Engine series updates, and information on power curves and body interface with diesel particulate filters. Presenter: Steve Ginter, Vocational Product Manager, Mack Trucks Inc, Allentown, Pennsylvania.

FLEETS

“Generators and Inverters: Addressing Your 21st Century Mobile AC Power Needs,” February 25, 1:30 pm-2:45 pm: Vocational fleets are faced with ever-increasing requirements for providing clean AC commercial-grade (120-volt/240-volt-60-Hz) power on work trucks. Session attendees will review basic AC power terminology; learn the different types of mobile generators and inverters available to meet these power needs; and hear an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative. Generator and inverter installation issues and how generators and inverters can be utilized in conjunction with hybrid powertrains will be covered. Presenter: Gary Ford, President, Fleet Electrical Services Inc, Worcester, Massachusetts.

“Making Investment Decisions Using Vehicle Life-cycle Cost Analysis,” February 27, 9:30 am-10:45 am: While the concept of life-cycle costing is widely accepted, far too often it is not used when making long-term investment decisions. When it is used, important factors such as return on investment and the impact of income taxes are frequently ignored. Look at various applications of life-cycle cost studies, review the factors that should be included in a study and discuss alternative methods for determining your internal rate of return. Examples of life-cycle cost studies for vehicle and equipment purchases will be presented using the NTEA Vehicle Life-cycle Cost Analysis Program and NTEA Plant, Property & Equipment Life-cycle Cost Program templates to evaluate single investments, alternative purchases and option selections. Presenter: Bob Johnson, Director of Fleet Relations, NTEA.

“The Power of Telematics for Fleet Management and Vehicle Productivity,” February 27, 9:30 am-10:45 am: If lowering operating cost, maximizing productivity, increasing uptime, and improving safety are areas of concern, join us for this informative presentation on the power of Telematics. Business managers, fleet managers, and maintenance professionals will learn how to leverage the benefits of Telematics to maximize their fleet's revenue and minimize cost. Learn the proper vehicle and business applications to increase productivity and return-on-investment for your work truck. Also, learn how an integrated Telematics system combining real-time wireless communications, vehicle monitoring, and GPS can benefit your fleet. Get answers to your questions on Telematics and on how to successfully apply the benefits of this technology to your fleet operation. Presenter: Brian Payne, Marketing Director, International Truck and Engine Corporation, Warrenville, Illinois.

“Best Practices and Emerging Trends in State and Municipal Fleet Management,” February 26, 9:30 am-10:45 am: Learn about some of the best fleet-management practices and emerging trends currently being used to manage state and municipal government fleets. Hear a quick overview of what these fleets are doing to increase employee productivity, reduce costs, and manage more efficiently to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities to the ultimate stakeholder: you, the citizen. Session attendees will learn progressive strategies government agencies are using to manage their fleets effectively in light of decreasing tax revenues; hear about government fleets that are setting examples in efficient fleet management for their private fleet counterparts; and learn how politics and fleet management can co-exist in an ever-changing fleet industry. Presenter: Steve Saltzgiver, Manager, Mercury Associates, Gaithersburg, Maryland.

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