IN the hallowed land of the world's fastest car race, The Work Truck Show lapped all previous events in spectacular fashion.
Held in conjunction with the 47th Annual National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) Convention at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, from March 8-10, this year's Show broke all event records. Verified attendance was 10,020 — a 24% increase over 2010 and a 10% improvement over the previous record of 9084 set in 2007. With an unprecedented 560 exhibitors occupying 16% more floor space than in 2010, the Work Truck Show 2011 was also the largest in the event's 12-year history.
“This year's record attendance demonstrates that the industry has made The Work Truck Show the must-attend event for everyone involved with vocational trucks and equipment,” said Jim Carney, NTEA executive director. “We had a great week in Indianapolis. The overall feeling was one of renewed optimism in the future of the industry.”
More than 85 products debuted, with seven OEMs using the Show as a platform for significant product announcements: Hino Trucks introduced its new cab-over-engine trucks, the first time Hino has launched a truck outside of Japan; Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America introduced its Canter line of trucks to North America; Western Star Trucks unveiled its all-new Class 8 vocational truck; and other major product launches came from Ford Commercial Truck, International Truck, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc., Ram Trucks, Supreme Corporation, and Utilimaster Corporation.
“Green” was a prevailing theme at the Show. Many products that improve work truck fuel utilization were introduced. Show attendees took advantage of the opportunity to test drive a record 21vehicles in the Green Truck Ride-and-Drive on March 8 and 9, with the Green Truck Summit experiencing a record attendance of 683, a 21% increase over the 2010 Summit.
Nearly 1500 guests attended the event's formal kickoff at the Opening Reception on March 7. Held at Conseco Fieldhouse — home of the Indiana Pacers — the Opening Reception provided a fun venue for guests to network with peers and strengthen industry connections.
Comedic actor and business motivator John Cleese inspired and enthralled attendees at the President's Breakfast and NTEA Annual Meeting with his keen insights on harnessing creative thinking in business.
Also, Allen Birmingham, national sales manager for Tommy Gate Co, passed the gavel to incoming NTEA President Steve Sill, president of Aspen Equipment.
“My primary focus over the next year as president of the NTEA will be to help fellow NTEA member companies to better position themselves to take full advantage of the rapidly revitalizing economy,” Sill said.
Sill, the 47th president of the NTEA, began his career as the first third-generation employee in the family business, Road Machinery & Supplies, in high school. He went on to attend Montana State University and the University of Minnesota Duluth before moving to Vail, Colorado.
Sill eventually returned to Duluth to finish school and then moved to Minneapolis for work. In 1986, he accepted the position of rental coordinator at RMS Truck Equipment Division's Bloomington office. Those responsibilities led to roles as used equipment manager, territory manager, general sales manager and, ultimately, vice-president/ general manager.
Then, in 1993, a plan was formed to separate the assets of what would eventually become Aspen Equipment from those of RMS. That goal was accomplished on July 1, 1994, when Aspen Equipment was born under Sill's leadership as president.
Also serving on the 2011-2012 board are Executive Committee members: First Vice-President Frank Livas, Senior Vice President/COO for Brake & Clutch, Inc.; Second Vice-President Shawn Jacobs, President of STS Trailer & Truck Equipment; Third Vice President and Treasurer Bobby Horton, General Manager of Commercial Body & Rigging; and Carney.
The NTEA also used the convention as the venue through which it unveiled a new logo, which uses the acronym NTEA, a bold tagline (“The Association for the Work Truck Industry”) and simple graphic.
“We have a new look, but remain the same progressive association that is committed to providing our members with support, services and information they can trust,” Carney said.
To address the ways in which the association has changed and to provide an eye to the future, the NTEA Board of Trustees approved and commissioned the development of the new logo as an outcome of one of the largest marketplace research studies the industry has ever undertaken.
The association's previous logo was created back in 1979 based on the changing work truck industry from its humble beginning when the organization was formed in 1964.
The Work Truck Show returns to the Indiana Convention Center next year from March 6-8, with educational sessions, including the Green Truck Summit, kicking off March 5. Online registration opens at NTEA.com in October.