What’s in Print
The National Association of Trailer Manufacturers NATM is taking its Convention amp Trade Show back to Orlando in 2017 for the first time in 10 years with the expectation of record attendance Photo courtesy of Visit Orlando

The National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM) is taking its Convention & Trade Show back to Orlando in 2017 for the first time in 10 years, with the expectation of record attendance.

NATM 2017 will be hosted by Orlando for the first time in 10 years, and a spike in attendance is expected

The National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM) is taking its Convention & Trade Show back to Orlando in 2017 for the first time in 10 years, and this could be the biggest one ever.

The 2016 Show in Las Vegas experienced a 35% increase in trailer manufacturing attendees over 2015, thanks to the Early Bird registrations that started as low as $100 and the Beginner’s Luck promotion that gave two free full registrations to all first-time trailer manufacturing attendees or those members who had not been to a show in 10 years. There were 983 attendees, 250 booths, and 191 exhibitors.

But those numbers could increase February 15-17 as the NATM convenes at Disney’s Coronado Springs—located just east of Animal Kingdom Theme Park and close to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios—because attendance usually is higher at the East Coast events.

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“We like the Coronado Springs,” executive director Pam Trusdale said. “We’re going to go back in 2019. It’s worked out well for us before, so we’re looking forward to going back. Orlando has worked really well for us. It’s an easy place to get into and out of. There are good airfares and lots of non-stop flights. We always pick up a lot of our East Coast members who don’t want to travel too far west. Our attendance will pick up because they like the East Coast locations.”

Supplier Members exhibit at the Show in order to meet with trailer manufacturers who are both potential and current customers. In order to ensure that suppliers are continuing to meet new potential customers, the 2017 booth rates were increased $100 per 10’ x 10’ space. This additional revenue created is earmarked specifically for incentives such as the Beginner’s Luck and Early Bird promotions aimed at bringing more trailer manufacturers to the show. The small increase in booth rates will help cover the cost of offering low or free rates to trailer manufacturers, which helps pull in new attendees.

“We have a lot of members who have been members for a long time and have never been to a convention, so we offer Beginner’s Luck,” Trusdale said. “We had a member who said after last year’s convention, ‘I’ve been a member 10 years and had never come to a convention, but I took advantage of Beginner’s Luck. And I’ll never miss another one.’ ”

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As of mid-November, NATM had over 35 first-time attendees who were using that promotion, along with 16 who used it at the 2016 Show and have signed up for 2017.

There are only two minor changes to the Show’s format:

•  The Technical Forum has been switched to Wednesday/Thursday instead of Thursday/Friday.

“We’ll get better attendance,” events director Allison Malmstrom said. “We just didn’t have as strong of a turnout on Friday.”

•  The final event, the Friday Night Gala, will be more of an informal, family-friendly event to take advantage of the Orlando location.

“Our younger membership has been growing,” Trusdale said. “We’re really trying to promote participation among younger members, so we wanted to make this more of a family event, and they’ll stay through Friday night and into the weekend.”

Technical Forum

Marco Garcia

Marco Garcia and Jim Fait of U-Haul kick if off on Wednesday from 10-11:30 am with “Trailer Dynamics.”

They will discuss various trailer parameters affecting combination vehicle dynamics as well as attributes perceived to affect trailer behavior. This will include the philosophy of “Load Heavier in Front” using the Marco Garcia Trailering Demonstrator (the viral video seen on Facebook). It will include the role that effective tongue length, trailer CG location, speed, trailer tire pressure, and accessory devices all have on trailer dynamics.

The U-Haul Engineer­ing Services team has decades of experience investigating trailer accidents. Garcia and Fait will review key elements of trailer crashes, early identifiers as to the nature of the crash, and explain how causation analysis may relate to the trailer.

Pat Godwin

From 11-11:30 am, Pat Godwin Jr of Champion Hoist will present “Production Pay: Making Money on Both Sides of the Fence.”

Production pay programs can be very rewarding for employers and employees alike, but how, exactly, does a production pay program work? This session will help you determine if this business model will work for your company. Attendees will learn simple and practical steps one company has used to implement a production pay program. Entry into this arena and challenges along the way will be discussed, as well as if all employees are candidates for production pay.

Session Two, from 1:30-3 pm, is “A Comparison of Cargo Trailer Assembly Methods, featuring 3M’s Dave Herington, US bonding business manager; Brent Bystrom, technical service specialist; and Jeff Sprout, transportation segment leader.

Dave Herington

In the early days, cargo trailers were assembled using screws and mechanical fasteners to fasten aluminum side-wall panels to metal posts. After a few years of use and abuse, many trailer owners experienced panel leaks at the overlap seam and at fastener locations. These failures required repairs to be completed by the trailer dealer or owner. In fact, some trailer manufacturers supply a bag of screws with the delivery of a trailer, knowing that leaks will eventually occur with trailers assembled with mechanical fasteners.

To solve this problem, trailer manufacturers began to experiment with alternative panel attachment methods that greatly reduced or eliminated the probability of leaks. These alternatives include acrylic foam tapes (AFT), liquid adhesives (adhesive) and a combination of AFT and adhesive (combo). These solutions led to the creation of the “smooth-sided” trailers—free of rivets and screw heads. The design and assembly process associated with these three methods differ greatly.

A comparison of the various trailer assembly methods, including design, assembly and performance considerations, will be provided.

Following the presentation, representatives from two trailer manufacturers will hold consecutive demonstrations of sidewall panel attachment methods, including AFT and combo (AFT and liquid adhesive). Attendees will see the process steps involved and engage the assembly team in a discussion each method.

John Capp

Session Three features John Capp of General Motors from 8-11 am in “Trends in Vehicle Safety Technology.”

This talk will discuss vehicle safety priorities and the technology evolution toward avoiding crashes and improving mobility. Topics include active safety and crash avoidance systems, opportunities in Vehicle-to-Vehicle and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure communications (V2V/V2I), and the role of vehicle automation in safety.


Workshop Session One is Wednesday from 10-11:30 am, with MVP Business Solutions representatives presenting “Lean for Trailer Manufacturing.”

Today’s rapidly changing trailer industry offers significant opportunities for the trailer manufacturing facility that is equipped with the knowledge, expertise, and commitment to evolve with emerging trends and meet the challenge of change head on. The real key to future success lies in lowering lead time and processing more work with existing assets. It requires a well-planned, re-engineering of the entire traditional manufacturing process. It also requires leadership, the right talent and a culture committed to continuous improvement that is measurable and market driven. Those who can deliver quality and speed while improving their cost structure will enjoy an extraordinary competitive advantage.

This session will explore: value added versus non-value added activity; understanding waste and how to identify it in the process; reducing lead time and the impact on other critical performance measures; value stream mapping for analysis and alignment; creating flow in a process, take time, pull versus push, the impact of batching.

Joe Stoddard

Workshop Session Two, from 1:30–3 pm, features Joe Stoddard of Eide Bailly LLP presenting, “Tax Research and Development Credits.”

The research and development tax credit was enacted in 1981 to promote innovation and keep jobs in the US. A major regulation change in 2003 opened the door for small to medium-sized businesses to take this credit. Federal R&D credits total more than $10 billion annually; in addition, most states also offer some kind of R&D tax incentive.

A 2016 law change now allows the credit to offset Alternative Minimum Tax for companies with less than $50 million in revenue—making the R&D credit more beneficial than ever. This session will explore how R&D tax incentives impact on manufacturers.

Learning objectives:

•  Identify the different R&D tax incentives.

•  Discuss what is necessary for a company to qualify.

•  Outline the many benefits that manufacturers can gain from these types of incentives.

•  Discuss recent R&D tax incentive developments, including the recently enacted credit enhancements.

•  Review current examples of manufacturers taking advantage of the R&D tax credit.

Workshop Session Three is on Thursday from 9:30-11 am. Jim Pancero will present, “How to Attract the Best Millennials.”

Will you be able to attract the best millennials to your sales team?

Jim Pancero

If you are interested, open-minded, and ready to improve your team’s success, Pancero has answers for you. The proven selling philosophies, processes, and structures Pancero shares all have just one goal: to increase your personal “Powerhouse Selling Advantage.” The leading-edged ideas he shares have been researched, validated, and fine-tuned through his over 30 years influencing and guiding top performers selling higher priced and/or competitively complex distribution materials, large equipment, or business services. He has conducted extensive work within the agricultural industry, including training over 3500 John Deere dealer team members in the US and Canada.

His combination of humor and real-world examples provides even experienced audience members who think they’ve heard it all before and are convinced there’s nothing new in sales with immediately implementable concepts that work. His concepts center on showing you ways to strengthen the messaging and positioning of your uniqueness and value, gaining more control of your selling processes, and strengthening your leadership team’s abilities to coach and lead in today’s hyper-competitive economy and global marketplace.

His background includes being a top performer selling large computer systems for the Data Processing Division of the IBM Corporation. During his prestigious IBM career, he earned several awards including the coveted “Golden Circle” designation annually awarded to the top 5% of their international sales force.

Since founding his sales training and consulting company in 1982, he has conducted over 3100 speeches, in-depth seminars or consulting days for more than 600 companies in over 80 different industries. Over 90% of his clients have utilized his ideas and services more than once. He has also been recognized by the National Speakers Association having earned their CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) designation and been inducted into their Speakers Hall of Fame. This combined honor has only been awarded to less than 3% of its 3500 professional members.

Speed Networking

On Wednesday from 3:15-4:15 pm, attend the newest networking event purposed to facilitate meaningful and quality connections for trailer manufacturer and supplier attendees.

Speed Networking maximizes your time at the NATM Convention by making beneficial new connections with like-minded professionals.

Cargo trailer manufacturers looking for a lighting manufacturer? Marine axle suppliers looking for boat trailer manufacturers? This event allows participants to pre-select the OEMs or vendors they are interested in meeting.

Once the participant is registered, they will create a matching profile with the preference of individuals they want to meet. This process only takes a few moments and is required to confirm participation. Upon arriving at the event, participants will receive a schedule and seat assignments for their fast rounds of conversation with someone that best matches the criteria selected in their matching profile. A Speed Networking moderator will be there to guide participants through the event and to provide further details to help you make the most of your conversations.

Friday Night Gala

On Friday from 6-9 pm, wrap up the Convention & Trade Show with an evening at The Living Seas at Epcot and a trip to a private viewing station for Disney’s IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks display.

Keynote speaker

Mix thousands of black leather, bandana-wearing Harley-Davidson riders, one 100th year anniversary celebration, and a beige Ford Taurus and you get the Nice Bike principle in action.

Mark Scharenbroich

On Thursday at 12:30 pm, Mark Scharenbroich will present “Nice Bike: Making Connections That Move People” and take the audience on a ride to building stronger and more meaningful connections in our personal and professional lives.

Scharenbroich will inspire you, motivate you, and validate the importance of recognizing people to improve employee and team performance. Whether you are a team of one, or a team of one hundred, you will walk away from this keynote with a reinvigorated spirit for what you do as well as an appreciation of what the other team members around you do.

The Nice Bike principle will demonstrate the three powerful steps to develop stronger relationships in our work which results in improved employee engagement, enhanced team collaboration, embracing innovation versus the fear of change, fueling the passion to serve others, and creating meaningful connections.

Part motivational speaker, part thought-provoker, and pure entertainer, he tells engaging stories on how to develop meaningful connections. His credentials include: Emmy award winner, author of Nice Bike: Making Meaningful Connections on the Road of Life, inducted into the National Speaker’s Association Hall of Fame, International film awards for his film, The Greatest Days of Your Life … (So Far).

Young Professionals Reception

On Tuesday, from 7:30-8:30 pm, this event will be held for members 40 years old and younger. Attendees can learn more about the association and how to become more involved with NATM programs.


The tournament will be held from noon to 5 pm on Tuesday at Celebration Golf Course. Transportation will be provided to and from the hotel and course.

Registration is $150 per registrant. Denim of any kind is not allowed.

Celebration Golf Club opened in 1996 and was inspired by its Old World legacy. It was the final course co-designed by the renowned team of Robert Trent Jones Senior and Junior. Celebration is almost like a natural park, with undulating swells and topography, a course reflective of the very best of every course they have created around the world. Celebration has hosted events such as the US Senior Open Qualifier, Robert Gamez Celebrity Invitational, Florida State Public Links Championship, Buick Scramble National Championships, and The Golf Channel’s Drive, Chip and Putt Finals.

Their belief was that “every hole should be a hard par and an easy bogey.” Using their joint design strategies and the natural lay of the land, they crafted an upscale daily-fee golf resort that takes full advantage of the natural pine forests and Florida wetlands. The layout is protectively framed by borders of native trees and natural wetlands and speckled with clusters of native oaks, pine and magnolia trees. Featuring strategic hazards and challenging greens, this championship caliber course demands accurate approach shots and consistent putting. With five sets of tees, the course now stretches from 4933 to a new total yardage of 7028 and invites competition from all skill levels. ♦

For more information visit NATM 2017

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