Work Truck Show and NTEA Convention head for Chicago for the first time, hoping to cash in on the city's accessibility

Jan. 1, 2009
The Work Truck Show, North America's largest work truck event, will be held in conjunction with the 45th Annual NTEA Convention at the McCormick Place

The Work Truck Show, North America's largest work truck event, will be held in conjunction with the 45th Annual NTEA Convention at the McCormick Place West Building from March 4-6, with the convention and educational sessions kicking off March 3.

It will be the first time that The Work Truck Show will be held in “The City That Works,” the nickname for Chicago.

The Work Truck Show will showcase more than 500,000 square feet of Class 1-8 vocational trucks and equipment and bring together thousands of work truck professionals, including fleet managers, equipment buyers, maintenance personnel, manufacturers, distributors, and dealers.

McCormick Place West, which opened in 2007, has added more than 700,000 square feet to the nation's top convention center. The West Building offers one exhibit hall (470,000 square feet), 61 meeting rooms, and a 100,000 sq ft ballroom. The city recently opened a busway between the convention center and downtown. By allowing charter buses for convention and trade shows to bypass local traffic, this two-lane, 2.5-mile road decreases travel time and busing costs.

Visitors will be welcomed at the opening reception, to be held Tuesday, March 3 at Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears.

Mike Rowe, host and producer of the Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs TV series, will give the keynote address at the President's Breakfast and NTEA Annual Meeting on Thursday, March 5. As host of Dirty Jobs, Rowe regularly serves as an apprentice to everyday men and women who perform the jobs no one else wants — such as horse inseminator, road-kill-removal specialist, and sewer inspector. Rowe pays tribute to a nation of unsung heroes while exploring the dirty side of earning an honest living. He is constantly putting his hands (and body) into places that are often curious, sometimes dangerous, and always dirty. Many of his jobs have required Rowe to use work trucks and equipment.

The Green Truck Ride-and-Drive, set for Wednesday, March 4, from 11 am-5 pm and Thursday, March 5, from noon-5pm, will give attendees a chance to take the wheel during an event featuring vehicles with the highest level of technological advancement in hybrid technology or alternative fuel applications. They'll be able to choose from more than a dozen new vehicles ready to hit the Chicago streets.

The Business Forum on Friday, March 6, from 8:30 am-10 am will once again feature Stan Slap, president of international consulting company Slap, who regaled the audience last year with his twisted sense of humor and descriptive vocabulary.

The topic this year — “The Seven Deadly Sins of Strategic Implementation” — deals with the fact that even the smartest companies subscribe to the most dangerous strategic myth: A strategy has to be planned well to be successful. Slap believes a strategy has to be implemented well to be successful, but most corporate strategies are front-loaded with all the emphasis on the planning side. In between planning and execution lie “The Seven Deadly Sins of Strategic Implementation,” which will stop any strategy from being accurately realized.

Slap will explain these sins and how to avoid them, starting with “The Original Sin: Failure to Respect the Power of the Culture to Bury You,” and cover key issues including change, compensation, and communication. He believes the employee culture has the vote on whether any corporate strategy will be successful - if they want it to work, it will; if they don't, it won't.

As usual, there is an optional tour — this time to the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio and the historic neighborhood of Oak Park on Wednesday, March 4, or Thursday, March 5, from 12:30 pm-3:30 pm.

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

More than 40 intensive educational sessions will be presented, including special sessions on fleet productivity, emission compliance, business strategies, and survivability in today's challenging environment. Educational sessions are designed for the fleet, truck dealer and manufacturer, and distributor audiences.

There is also a free training theater on the show floor with short, informative takes on business practices and industry operations.

With so many industry-specific sessions occurring simultaneously, schedule conflicts are inevitable. To enable attendees to access concurrent educational sessions they missed or would like to see again, the NTEA is offering recordings of the sessions on CD-ROM and online. Everyone who registers for the Complete Event or Conference & Trade Show package will automatically receive a free copy of the CD-ROM by mail, as well as full access to session content online via password. The recordings will also be available for $199 to NTEA members and $249 to non-members.

Here is a look at the educational sessions:

  • Upfitting 2010 emission-compliant chassis March 3, 8:30am-noon

    Presenters: Bob Raybuck, technical services director, NTEA; and Bob Aquaro, principal, Robert J Aquaro & Associates LLC, Cherry Hill, New Jersey

    Panelists from: Daimler Trucks North America, Dodge, Ford Commercial Truck, General Motors Fleet and Commercial Operations, Hino Trucks, and International Truck

    Ask all your questions and get answers from six leading chassis manufacturers about issues you may encounter when mounting equipment on chassis that meet 2010 emissions requirements.

  • Trailer towing specs for Class 1-4 Trucks March 3, 1:30 pm-2:45 pm

    Presenter: Dave Decker, manager of truck engineering, Wheels, Inc, Des Plaines, Illinois

    The use of trailers in conjunction with light commercial vehicles (Class 1-4) is growing at a rapid rate. These trailers are commonly used to transport relatively heavy loads and can easily become overloaded. Understanding the dynamics of properly specifying a truck and trailer combination is critical.

    Session attendees will review factors that must be considered when specifying a vehicle for towing applications. Considerations include towing vehicle ratings, hitch type, hitch ratings, trailer ratings, trailer weight distribution, safety equipment, and applicable regulations.

  • Designing and specifying work trucks March 4, 9:30 am-10:45 am

    Presenter: Bob Johnson, fleet relations director, NTEA

    In Part II — which directly follows Johnson's 8 am opener focusing on body equipment and design — he will offer tips on spec'ing for fuel efficiency.

    He says the high cost of fuel — combined with a growing interest in environmental issues — has many fleet managers thinking about ways to improve their trucks' fuel utilization.

  • Green Truck Summit March 3, 9 am-4:30 pm

    With the rising price of fuel, increased environmental concerns, and new emissions regulations, hybrid and alternative fuel work trucks are a fast-growing segment of this industry. These sessions will guide fleet managers, equipment manufacturers, and upfitters in determining how the rapid development of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles will impact their businesses. Now in its third year, the Summit has grown in response to industry demand and is considered the industry's foremost education forum for real-world deployment and application of this technological revolution impacting commercial trucks.

    This year's Summit includes a full day of offerings, four courses along with 15 breakout sessions, led by top industry and academic experts covering such topics as technology deployment, fuel utilization, fleet and vehicle integration, and the cost justification of purchasing hybrids. Three additional courses related to hybrid trucks and fuel utilization are offered Wednesday and Thursday.

  • Controlling weight of multi-stage vehicles March 3, 3 pm-4:15 pm

    Presenter: Russell Miller, director, engineering division, GSA Automotive, Arlington, Virginia

    Many completed work trucks frequently exceed their design weight, which can cause an overloaded axle, reduced payload or center of gravity that fails to meet the chassis manufacturer's pass-through certification criteria. To combat this issue, the General Services Administration (GSA) recently developed a process to ensure that the weight of its completed vehicles matches the original design weight. Increase your knowledge as GSA vehicle engineering staff review this process and explain how a similar practice can benefit your fleet.

  • Truck equipment market overview March 3, 3 pm-4:15 pm

    Presenter: Stephen Latin-Kasper, market data and research director, NTEA

    What does the future hold? Review current data on truck sales and end-user markets with analysis from the NTEA's staff economist. Discover where the truck equipment market is headed and what role the US and international economies play in the short- and long-term. Review current NTEA statistical and forecasting information.

On topic: a preview of the sessions by area of interest


“From Tactical to Practical: A Playbook for Identifying Profitability and Survivability,” Tuesday, March 3, 9 am-12 pm: Understanding the consolidation changes, globalization, and advancing technologies within today's work truck industry and distribution channels will be key to positioning your company for the future. Learn about the developments, the threats, and the opportunities facing the industry today in order to position yourself for tomorrow. Review detailed strategic factors and trends reshaping the industry and the real-world implications to OEMs, truck equipment manufacturers, and distributors/upfitters. Topics covered will include business productivity processes and technological expectations; the changing corporate culture; the impact of globalization and how to identify global opportunities; how to determine and foster strategic alliances and why; and much more. Based on a 2008 research study conducted for the NTEA by a Washington D.C.-based strategic consulting firm. Attendees will receive a copy of both the North American Truck Equipment Industry Outlook and Strategy Report (2007) and the Profitability, Cost and Technology Playbook (2008).

“Customer Retention is a Process and Not an Event,” March 3, 1:30 pm-2:45 pm: This session will review how to be proactive and not reactive; show you how to determine costs of customer defection; and highlight methods to build customer loyalty in order to retain a higher percentage of your customers. Presenter: Ron Slee, President, RJ Slee & Associates, Rancho Mirage, California.

“The Ins & Outs of Federal Excise Tax,” March 3, 1:30 pm-2:45 pm: Learn the status of FET laws and requirements applicable to the work truck industry. Have your questions answered regarding which truck bodies are taxable or non-taxable. Attendees will have the opportunity to review specific questions and scenarios with the presenters and gain clarity regarding the implications of collecting FET. Presenters: Michael Kastner, Senior Director of Government Activities, NTEA, Washington, DC; Bob Raybuck,Technical Services Director, NTEA; Mark Sidman, Partner, Weiner Brodsky Sidman & Kider PC, Washington, DC.

“Technology as a Differentiator for Parts & Service,” March 3, 3 pm-4:15 pm: Providing your staff the tools they need to do their jobs is critical to employee satisfaction and success. Technology, not just computer systems, can influence the operations of parts and service departments. Best practices of high-performance organizations are explored and discussed in this session. Presenters: Slee.

“Customer Service: Efficiency versus Effectiveness — Can You Have Both? (Part 1 of 2),” March 4, 8 am-9:15 am: This two- part series will focus on providing the outstanding customer service that translates into returning customers. From first contact through resolution, deliver the consistent, efficient service that helps ensure customer satisfaction. You will learn three essential tools to transform your current customer service initiatives into exceptional customer experiences. Find out the latest trends and techniques that your competitors may not know. Presenter:

Scott Druhot, ASH Brokerage, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Customer Service: Understanding Your Customers' Needs (Part 2 of 2),” March 4, 9:30 am-10:45 am: In today's highly competitive market, customers have more information and options than ever before. Outstanding customer service — fast, accurate and courteous assistance — is one of the few ways to separate your firm from the competition. Learn a simple process for gathering, translating and prioritizing your customers' “critical to quality” service requirements to help your company exceed your customers' expectations. Presenters: Druhot, Roland Cavanaugh, Managing Partner, Implementation Partners LLC, Jamestown, Rhode Island.

“Making Vehicle Investment Decisions Using Life-cycle Cost Analysis,” March 5, 9:30 am-10:45 am: The investigation and valuation processes of life-cycle costing are extremely beneficial when making long-term investment decisions for vehicles and equipment. Factors such as return on investment and the impact of income taxes need to be considered but are often ignored. This session will provide an overview of the financial concepts associated with life-cycle cost analysis; discuss key elements that should be included; and address alternative methods for determining internal rate of return. All of the examples presented will utilize the NTEA Vehicle Life-cycle Cost Analysis Program or the NTEA Plant, Property & Equipment Life-cycle Cost Program templates. Presenters: Bob Johnson, Fleet Relations Director, NTEA.

“The Future is Your Decision,” March 5, 9:30 am-10:45 am: The short-term and long-term economic outlook for the globe and potential ramifications on the truck-equipment industry will be addressed. Insights into what is happening in many of the key industries critical to sales of upfitted commercial vehicles will be presented. Questions common to all attendees will be answered. For example: What leading indicators should I be watching? How will inflation and interest rates impact my business? Does the stock market give a true reading of the economy? This presentation will help company leaders prepare for changes and challenges that will impact the industry over the next several years. Presenter: Alan Beaulieu, Senior Analyst, Economist and Principal Institute for Trend Research, Concord, New Hampshire.


“Enhancing your Government Sales Strategy,” March 3, 3 pm-4:15 pm: How do government buyers find you among the surplus of competitors vying for their business? How do you develop relationships with key players? How can you effectively use electronic communication? What is the most effective way to position your company to be successful during the bid process? Learn from a leading expert in marketing to the government and pinpoint activities and events crucial to your success. Presenters: Steve Saltzgiver, Manager, Mercury Associates, Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Executive Director, National Conference of State Fleet Administrators.

“Driving Results by Engaging Employees: SRC & The Great Game of Business (Part 1 of 2),” March 4, 8 am-9:15 am: How much more profitable do you think your company would be if all your employees were fully engaged in the business, understood how your business worked, and knew exactly what was critical for success? This is how Springfield ReManufacturing Corp (SRC) turned an initial $100,000 investment in 1983 into $230 million in equity value. Teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, SRC turned itself around by getting all of its employees to track results and to continuously think about improvements. Find out how SRC and other successful companies have applied Open Book Management principles, what they refer to as “the Great Game of Business.” Presenter: Bill Fotsch, Head Coach, The Great Game of Business Division, SRC, Springfield, Missouri.

“Driving Results by Engaging Employees: Improving Sales in a Difficult Economy (Part 2 of 2),” March 4, 9:30 am-10:45 am: How does SRC's story apply to you? In today's challenging market, you'll want to hear first-hand success stories, sales tips, and implementation best practices from Fotsch, who has helped more than 300 companies — large and small — apply SRC's business principles. Take away implementation plans on how you can apply these principles in your own business and begin to create your own success story.

“Your Most Wanted Marketing Strategy,” March 4, 9:30 am-10:45 am: In a world of intense competition and market uncertainty, it's easy to get wrapped up in the battle of day-to-

day tactics. Yet, clear strategic objectives and defined goals are the proactive tools that will truly help separate you from your competition in the mind of your customer. Learn the three most important questions you can answer that will define your path to superior marketing effectiveness. Presenter: Steve Miller, Consultant and Owner, The Adventure LLC, Federal Way, Washington.


“Understanding Truck Frames and How to Avoid Modification Pitfalls,” March 3, 1:30 pm-2:45 pm: Examine basic frame characteristics and requirements needed for sturdy, expert 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 mistakes that can lead to costly repairs. Presenter: Richard Toner, Principal, Toner Associates, Pentwater, Michigan.

“Simplifying Weight Distribution Calculations for Work Trucks,” March 4, 8 am-9:15 am: Weight distribution calculations are critical in the utilization and design of commercial work trucks. Learn the ins and outs of vehicle weight distribution to safely and legally position equipment and payloads while maintaining regulatory compliance of the vehicle. Sample weight distribution calculations will be presented along with a demonstration of a beneficial software tool available exclusively from the NTEA to help you perform complex vehicle calculations. Presenter: Toner.

“Safely Integrating Truck Mounted Equipment on a Hybrid Chassis,” March 4, 9:30 am-10:45 am: When mounting equipment on an electric hybrid chassis, truck equipment distributors are faced with several challenges. To take full advantage of the customer's investment in the hybrid powertrain, the truck-equipment systems should be powered by and integrated with the hybrid-control system. With the high-voltage conditions, caution must be used during installation and integration so as not to damage the electronics of the hybrid system or injure the equipment technicians. Take advantage of this timely opportunity to learn how to accomplish these tasks from a leader in the field of electric hybrid work trucks. Presenter: Josh Lepage, Sales Manager, Product Integration, International Truck, Warrenville, Illinois.

“Understanding Multi-Stage Vehicle Certification & Labeling Requirements,” March 5, 9:30 am-10:45 am: Proper vehicle certification is required by law and assures the purchaser of safety, reliability, and durability. But vehicle certification is more than just sticking labels or placards on trucks. In fact, the certification label is the last step in the process. You need to perform payload analysis, weight distribution, and complete a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Compliance Analysis. You also need to understand the regulatory changes (that took effect September 1, 2006) and learn the importance of the Incomplete Vehicle Document as a key component to the final certification process. Proper certification labeling is also one of the required criteria to achieve Member Verification Program (MVP) status. This session provides the opportunity to review your certification labeling procedures and to ask questions to help assure certification labels are properly completed. Learn how to determine which label is required for each different stage of certification and how to properly complete each label. Presenter: Raybuck.


“Hino Trucks/Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc CHASSIS UPDATE,” March 3, 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. Presenter: Nick Vermet, Senior VP, Sales & Customer Support, Hino Trucks, and Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc representatives, Novi, Michigan.

“Isuzu Commercial Truck of America, Inc. CHASSIS UPDATE,” March 3, 1:30 pm-2:45 pm: Isuzu Commercial Truck of America, Inc. will present technical information on chassis specifications, design, body installation, and equipment mounting options on 2010 models and give an update on emissions. Presenter: Mitch Atari, Manager, Product Planning, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc, and representatives, Cerritos, California.

“Mack Trucks Inc CHASSIS UPDATE,” March 3, 3 pm-4:15 pm: Mack Trucks, Inc. will present technical information on the Mack Titan, Granite, Pinnacle, and the powerful, fuel-efficient Mack Power engine lineup. The MP7, MP8, and MP10 will be highlighted. Chassis architecture and VMAC IV software capabilities for 2009 and improvements for U.S. 2010 emissions compliance will be presented. Presenters: Stephen Ginter, Vocational Product Manager, David McKenna, Powertrain Product Manager, Mack Trucks Inc, Allentown, Pennsylvania.

“Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America Inc CHASSIS UPDATE,” March 3, 3 pm-4:15 pm: Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America, Inc. will present technical information on chassis specifications, design, body installation, and equipment mounting options for 2010 and 2011 model products and will cover emissions updates. Presenters: Jeff Hallam, Manager of Light Commercial Vehicles,Brock Wiencziewski, Product Manager, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America Inc, Redford, Michigan.

“Dodge CHASSIS UPDATE,” March 4, 8 am-9:15 am: Dodge continues to increase the breadth of its commercial products and offers a comprehensive array of vehicles and services designed with business customers in mind. In setting the new commercial standard, Dodge has introduced six all-new commercial vehicles. Along with the Dodge Ram 2500 box-off and the Dodge Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs, the Dodge Grand Caravan cargo van complements a growing Dodge commercial lineup. Presenter: Dodge Commercial representatives, Dodge, Auburn Hills, Michigan.

“International Truck CHASSIS UPDATE,” March 4, 8 am-9:15 am: International Truck will present first-hand technical information on chassis specifications, design, body installation, and equipment mounting options. Learn more about commercial applications and new products, such as the 5900 SBA, WorkStar Hybrid, and Diamond Logic electrical systems. Presenter: International Truck representatives, International Truck, Warrenville, Illinois.

“Kenworth Truck Company CHASSIS UPDATE,” March 4, 8 am-9:15 am: Kenworth Truck Company will present technical information on product updates and hybrid vehicles. Presenter: Judy K McTigue, Medium Duty Marketing Manager, Kenworth Truck Company, Kirkland, Washington.

“Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation CHASSIS UPDATE,” March 4, 9:30 am-10:45 am: Freightliner Custom Chassis will present technical information on 2009/2010 engines and alternative fuels. Presenters: Freightliner Custom Chassis representatives, Freightliner, Gaffney, South Carolina.

“General Motors Fleet and Commercial Operations CHASSIS UPDATE,” March 4, 9:30 am-10:45 am: General Motors will present 2010 model year updates on Chevrolet and GMC commercial vehicles. General Motors will also take part in the Green Truck Summit and will be discussing the latest in hybrids and alternative fuel technology. Presenters: General Motors Fleet and Commercial Operations representatives, Detroit, Michigan.

“Ford Commercial Truck CHASSIS UPDATE,” March 5, 9:30 am-10:45 am: Ford Commercial Truck Representatives will provide current information on chassis and equipment mounting specifications for the E-Series, F-Series, and Transit Connect vehicles. Presenters: Ford Commercial Truck representatives, Ford Commercial Truck, Dearborn, Michigan.

“Freightliner Trucks CHASSIS UPDATE,” March 5, 9:30 am-10:45 am: Freightliner Trucks will present firsthand technical information on chassis specifications, design, body installation, and equipment mounting options. Presenters: Freightliner Trucks representatives, Freightliner, Fort Mill, South Carolina.

“Peterbilt Motors Company CHASSIS UPDATE,” March 5, 9:30 am-10:45 am: Peterbilt Motors Company representatives will provide information on chassis specifications, design, body installation, and equipment- mounting options. Presenters: Peterbilt Motors Company representatives, Denton, Texas.

About the Author

Rick Weber | Associate Editor

Rick Weber has been an associate editor for Trailer/Body Builders since February 2000. A national award-winning sportswriter, he covered the Miami Dolphins for the Fort Myers News-Press following service with publications in California and Australia. He is a graduate of Penn State University.