Hoosier hoedown

ACCORDING to the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, the most-asked question by Indiana visitors isn't: “How do I get Larry Bird's autograph?” or “How wide is the gap in David Letterman's front teeth?”

It's, “What's a Hoosier?” The association says no one seems to know the exact origin of “Hoosier” (hoo-zhur), but at least 30 stories attempt to explain it.

We won't delve into any of them now, but attendees at The Work Truck Show 2005 and 41st Annual National Truck Equipment Association Convention will have plenty of time to explore them when they aren't strolling the showroom floor or attending educational sessions at the Indiana Convention Center & RCA Dome. The show runs March 2-4, with the convention and educational sessions starting March 1.

This is the first time the NTEA has held the show in Indianapolis since 1999.

“Besides being a high-density location for the commercial truck and transportation equipment industry, Indianapolis provides a unique package of hotels, convention center, downtown restaurants, and shopping opportunities that convention-goers are sure to enjoy,” NTEA executive director Jim Carney says. “Combining the winning location, a leading conference program, and a huge equipment display, The Work Truck Show 2005 and NTEA Convention is the ‘can't-miss’ industry event for 2005.”

Billed as a one-stop marketplace for anyone seeking work-truck equipment, solutions and training, The Work Truck Show features North America's largest gathering of Class 1-8 vocational trucks and equipment, enabling attendees to compare and spec custom chassis, bodies, accessories, and components from 450 suppliers on a single show floor. Many Work Truck Show exhibitors staff their booths with engineers and other technical experts who can help show participants explore customization options and other specification issues.

The majority of the 30-plus training opportunities scheduled for The Work Truck Show are designed to help truck equipment distributors with various aspects of their businesses.

Andrew Sanchez, of Stanhope, New Jersey-based distributor Tony Sanchez Ltd, attended The Work Truck Show last year and came away impressed.

“The educational sessions gave us helpful information on certifying chassis. Consequently, we learned how to improve our current processes,” Sanchez says.

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 eight key sessions.

Management

“Mitigating Rising Costs of Business and Health Care Insurance,” Tuesday, March 1, 1:30-2:45 pm: In today's business environment, how you manage your insurance coverage risk exposure and benefits package can significantly impact your bottom line along with your ability to recruit and retain quality employees. Learn how to prepare your company for more favorable rate quotes well in advance of your renewal date. Information on health care insurance trends, lines of coverage, risk management, loss control, safety programs, and more will be featured. Presented by: NTEA Business Insurance Program Administrator, Program Brokerage Corporation Representatives, New York, New York.

“Federal Excise Tax Industry Update,” Tuesday, March 1, 3-4:15 pm: Learn the status of federal excise tax (FET) laws and requirements applicable to the work truck industry. Better understand your responsibilities for payment and collection of the tax as a supplier or purchaser. Discuss tax implications for the sales of truck bodies and equipment, trailers, semi-trailers, parts, and accessories. Review the latest congressional efforts to retain the mobile machinery exemption and learn how the Internal Revenue Service interprets recent court cases that could eliminate the exemption. Also learn about the NTEA's efforts to clarify the “suitable for use” rule and how it will affect the sale of platform bodies, dump bodies, van bodies, and refuse packers. Presented by: Mark Sidman, Partner, Weiner Brodsky Sidman Kider PC, Washington, DC; Mike Kastner, Government Relations Director, and Bob Raybuck, Technical Services Director, NTEA.

Sales

“Spec'ing the Right Truck for Municipal Markets and Other Applications,” Tuesday, March 1, 3-4:15 pm: It's no secret that municipal markets have various spec'ing requirements for trucks. Learn how to deliver the right trucks to meet the needs of these specific applications. Examine critical spec'ing factors in the industry today such as powder-coat paint, frame options, auxiliary components, alternator upgrades, and hydraulic power requirements. Presented by: Josh LePage, Vocational Marketing Manager, Severe Service Vehicle Group, International Truck and Engine Corporation, Warrenville, Illinois.

“Managing Sales for Increased Total Gross Profits,” Wednesday, March 2, 9:30-10:45 am: What is the fastest way to improve your bottom line? There are three key ratios in the sales department where even small improvements produce BIG increases in profits. Discover the ratios every business should continually review to assist with sales management. Documented results will be presented, utilizing data from businesses in the truck equipment industry. Discuss how to incorporate these ratios in your sales process to improve your company's bottom line. Presented by: Dave Mills, President, Twenty-First Century Marketing, East Peoria, Illinois.

Technical

“Simplifying Weight Distribution Calculations for Commercial Trucks,” Tuesday, March 1, 1:30-2:45 pm: Understand and recognize the importance of weight distribution calculations in the utilization and design of commercial trucks. Learn the basics of vehicle weight distribution to safely and legally position equipment and payloads while maintaining the regulatory compliance of the vehicle. An actual calculation exercise is presented along with a software package that simplifies these calculations. Presented by: Richard Toner, owner, Toner & Associates, Pentwater, Michigan.

“Truck Hydraulic System Compatibility for Portable Tools,” Wednesday, March 2, 8-9:15 am: The hydraulic system of a truck is key to the overall operation and productivity of any vehicle in the field. System compatibility issues can significantly impact the effective operation of portable and hand hydraulic tools. Learn how tool circuit classifications, system standardization, and compatibility requirements must be considered to optimize the effectiveness of the vehicle. Presented by: The Hydraulic Tool Manufacturing Association Representatives.

“Truck Frame Modification for Body Mounting,” Thursday, March 3, 9:30-10:45 am: Vocational work trucks come in all shapes, sizes, and applications. Examine the basic frame characteristics and requirements needed for quality and durable mounting of truck bodies and equipment. Understand how the effects of welding and fastener usage can affect frame strength and durability. Identify how to avoid the mistakes that can lead to costly repair. Presented by: Toner.

“What Truck Distributors, Manufacturers, Dealers & Purchasers Should Know About Vehicle Certification,” Thursday, March 3, 9:30-10:45 am: Review the ongoing work between the NTEA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to rewrite the certification rules for multi-stage produced vehicles. As a result of this negotiated rulemaking, NHTSA has proposed a significant reallocation of the legal responsibilities associated with certification. Learn how this proposal could relieve you of some certification liability. Understand your responsibilities and what to look for from your suppliers regarding certification compliance and penalties. Ask questions and get the facts on incomplete, final-stage, and altered-vehicle certification and proper labeling. Presented by: Raybuck and Mike Kastner, Government Relations Director, NTEA.

Chassis

“Freightliner LLC Chassis Update,” Tuesday, March 1, 3-4:15 pm: Get first-hand technical information on chassis specifications, design, body installation, and equipment mounting to improve your final-stage results. Learn more about future models and options offerings.

“Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America Inc Chassis Update,” Tuesday, March 1, 3-4:15 pm: Hear the latest information and body builder updates for the 2005 model year. Information will be presented on body applications, frame information, emissions devices, accessory installation (PTOs), and the new rear fuel tank. The Mitsubishi Fuso modification policy will also be addressed. Presented by: Robert Aquaro, VP Product Assurance, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America Inc, Bridgeport, New Jersey.

“International Truck and Engine Corporation Chassis Update,” Wednesday, March 2, 8-9:15 am: Get first-hand technical information on the new International CF Series as International presents a look at the new International CF500 and International CF600 models. These two models are the first members of the International CF Series: a line of light gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) cabover trucks designed in North America for the North American market. The CF500 is a 16,000-lb GVWR vehicle and the CF600 is a 19,500-lb GVWR vehicle. The International CF Series is made for customers in a variety of vocations, including pick-up and delivery, food distribution, wholesale and retail services, recovery, utility, and landscaping. Learn about the ease of maintenance and serviceability from details on vehicle specs, components, and common body applications. Presented by: John Randall, Product Manager, Medium Product Center, International Truck and Engine Corporation, Warrenville, Illinois.

“Dodge Chassis Update,” Wednesday, March 2, 9:30-10:45 am: Get first-hand technical information on chassis specifications, design, body installation, and equipment mounting to improve final-stage results. Learn more about future models and options offerings. Presented by: Craig Fisher, Director Commercial Vehicle Marketing and Product Planning, Dodge, Auburn Hills, Michigan.

“Ford Trucks Chassis Update,” Wednesday, March 2, 9:30-10:45 am: Ford Commercial Truck representatives present first-hand technical information on chassis specifications, design, body installation, and equipment mounting to enhance final-stage processes. Gain knowledge about future models and options, including the 2005 F-Series Super Duty and the 2006 Ford LCF.

“General Motors & Isuzu Commercial Truck Chassis Update,” Thursday, March 3, 9:30-10:45 am: Get first-hand technical information on chassis specifications, order codes, design, body installation, and equipment mounting to maximize the chassis and equipment's performance. Learn more about 2005-2006 future models and options offerings.

“Sterling Truck Corporation Chassis Update,” Thursday, March 3, 9:30-10:45 am: This session presents all of the innovations in store for 2005 for Sterling Truck Chassis. Learn about the many new options and features designed to make equipment installations easier and more economical, and how Sterling Truck Chassis are optimized for vocational applications. Presented by: Jim Crowcroft, Manager of Product Marketing, Sterling Truck Corporation, Willoughby, Ohio.

Fleets

“Using Telematics to Improve Productivity and Uptime,” Tuesday, March 1, 1:30-2:45 pm: Telematics solutions are in-vehicle devices that communicate vehicle performance and location information to fleet administration and maintenance managers from remote locations. Learn how Telematics can increase equipment utilization, minimize down time, reduce maintenance costs, and increase residual value through location-based services, vehicle performance monitoring, and prognostics. Presented by: Mark Schumacher, Marketing Manager, Truck Electronics, International Truck and Engine Corporation, Warrenville, Illinois.

“IT and the Truck Fleet Manager,” Wednesday, March 2, 8-9:15 am: Fleet operations often generate information exceeding a manager's ability to process it for effective decision-making. This session provides insights to help fleet managers make better use of existing data and systems. Fundamental data management issues will be discussed, including an overview of how relational databases function and methods to control data gathering mediums to reduce errors and minimize “garbage in — garbage out.” The fundamentals of establishing exception reports and ad-hoc queries to focus on what is critical while weeding out the routine information will also be reviewed. Tips on organizing information into formats useful for presenting to internal and external customers and executive decision-makers to effectively tell the fleet story will be shared. Presented by: Christopher D. Amos, CAFM, Commissioner of Equipment Services, St Louis, Missouri.

“Tire Management for Vocational Truck Fleets,” Wednesday, March 2, 8-9:15 am: Tire management is a critical element for any truck fleet manager. Discover issues specific to vocational trucks that must be considered when making decisions regarding proper tire utilization. The elements of tire selection for various vocational applications, maintenance best practices, reuse of tires, recapping (pros and cons) and disposal will be addressed. Presented by: Guy Walenga, Manager of Commercial OE Engineering, Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire LLC, Nashville, Tennessee.

“What Does a World-Class Equipment Fleet and Shop Manager Look Like?”, Wednesday, March 2, 9:30-10:45 am: Today's fleet professional must be well-qualified in more than truck specifications and shop management. Learn the critical career success factors that create opportunities for leading fleet managers to earn higher compensation, earn decision-making control, and achieve vice president/director status within their organizations. Learn how to apply Fortune 500 company practices in the fleet and shop departments, while utilizing high-tech applications for managing mobile assets and labor in the field. Presented by: Kelly Walker, President, Kelly Walker and Associates, Dallas, Texas.

“Component Spec'ing for Optimum Vehicle Life-Cycle Costing,” Thursday, March 3, 9:30-10:45 am: To optimize life-cycle costs of vocational vehicles, the vehicle designer must take into consideration a number of critical factors, including the proposed vehicle's basic functional requirements, loading and operating cycles, environmental operating conditions, and vehicle maintenance considerations. In addition, the life-cycle value of optional components or features designed to reduce operating costs and/or enhance the vehicle's productivity must be evaluated. Learn how to identify critical design and maintenance factors, select vehicle components to match the design factors identified, and use basic after-tax net present value analysis techniques to evaluate the life-cycle value of alternative design components. Presented by: Robert Johnson, Lead Consultant, Fleet Consulting and Design Services, Jefferson, Maryland.

New this year, International Truck and Engine Corporation will bring the excitement of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racing to the Cyber Café with the company's race truck simulator. Attendees can test their skills in this replica of the race truck of driver Terry Cook, who also will be on-hand to sign autographs in the International booth (#1501). The Cyber Café is an area where, when not racing, show attendees can surf the Web and check e-mail.

At Allison Transmission's training trailer, visitors can interact with video presentations featuring Allison's vocational models and new Fourth Generation controls.

Fleet managers are invited to two exclusive training events. The first is a day-and-a-half Fleet Management Symposium, February 28-March 1. The symposium, “Master's Seminar in Advanced Equipment, Fleet and Shop Management,” is dedicated to helping vocational fleet managers reduce costs, risks, and liabilities while maximizing performance. It's led by Kelly Walker, president of fleet management consulting firm Kelly Walker Associates of Dallas, Texas.

On March 3, a special truck fleet manager training session and networking luncheon will explore “Lease vs. Purchase — Which Is Right for My Fleet?” The short program will cover basic questions to ask when determining whether to purchase or lease new equipment. Christopher Amos, commissioner of equipment services for the City of St Louis, is the session presenter. Following the presentation, participants will have the opportunity to network and discuss common issues with colleagues during a special luncheon.

The Opening Reception on March 1 from 6:30-9 pm at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown features a racing theme and gives attendees an opportunity to network with peers in a vibrant environment including games, full-size race cars, and food.

Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole will present the Keynote Address during the President's Breakfast & NTEA Annual Meeting on the morning of March 3. Dole retired from the Senate in 1996 to run for President and is currently chairman of the International Commission on Missing Persons and of the National World War II Memorial.

Howard Hyden, president of The Center for Customer Focus, leads the Business Forum session on “Leadership for the Next Millennium” on March 4. Hyden will show business leaders how to build competitive advantage (and boost the bottom line) in good times and bad by bringing more value to customers. As an “in the trenches” businessman, he brings 25 years of experience and reality-based ideas from some of the country's leading companies to The Work Truck Show.

Later that day, from 6:30-9 pm, the Closing Party at the Westin Indianapolis provides a networking opportunity that's open exclusively to NTEA members.

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