Geared for pragmatists

May 1, 2006
NUTS AND BOLTS issues attracted approximately 1,500 pragmatists to the 2006 National Association of Trailer Manfacturers convention in Las Vegas. The

NUTS AND BOLTS issues attracted approximately 1,500 pragmatists to the 2006 National Association of Trailer Manfacturers convention in Las Vegas.

The convention program was well stocked with practical advice for light- and medium-duty trailer manufacturers. Topics included how to use adhesives to bond trailers together, how to paint trailers effectively, and how to keep their wheels on.

Attendance at the event was up 25% from the 1,200 visitors that last year's event attracted. Participation in the trade show also was up sharply. The 188 exhibitors at the Las Vegas show filled 241 of the 10' × 10' booth spaces that were available this year, up from 167 booth spaces purchased in 2005.

The convention marked the conclusion of Carl Maxey's term as president, a year in which the association grew in numbers, in programs, and cooperative efforts with other trade associations. He is succeeded by Andy Gehman with MGS Inc, Denver PA. Gehman has set a goal for the association to reach 1,000 members this year. Other objectives include continued improvement in member services and a pledge to carefully monitor government regulations and legislation.

In addition to the trade show and convention program, NATM recognized the contributions of several members. Among them:

Associate member of the year award went to Ed Freele, president of KampCo Steel Products. Freele has seen lengthy service on the NATM board of directors and has served the association through work on several committees.

Bill Bernhardt Award presentations went to Conrad Clement, president of Featherlite Inc, and Norm Helmke, director of administration with Featherlite. The award goes to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to NATM and the light- and medium-duty trailer manufacturing industry. Clement was an NATM board member from 1989 and 1998. As a member of the association's technical committee, he worked to complete the electrical section of NATM's Guidelines for Recommended Minimum Manufacturing Practices for Trailers Under 26,000 lb GVWR. He also volunteered his company's staff to update state regulations for inclusion in this NATM publication. Helmke joined the NATM board of directors in 1998 and served as chairman of the technical committee from 2001 to 2005. He was responsible for the association's warning label program and revisions to the Guidelines publication.

The Young Entrepreneur Award was presented to Jeff Jackson, a partner in S & H Trailers in Madill, Oklahoma. The award is given in recognition of success in the trailer manufacturing industry of an individual under the age of 40. Jackson has been working in the trailer manufacturing industry since he was a high school student, performing a variety of jobs in his family's company. Recently he helped design and build a 240,000-sq-ft manufacturing plant. The plant includes the use of welder support arms that he designed. The arms, which enable welders to reach the entire trailer during the assembly process, were featured in an article in a welding magazine.

Next year's convention will be held at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida. The association is expecting larger attendance than this year's crowd, and will have more exhibit space available.

PresidentAndy Gehman
Denver PA

Matt Arnold
Haulmark Industries
Bristol IN

Travis Eby
M H Eby Inc
Blue Ball PA

Past president
Carl Maxey
Maxey Manufacturing
Fort Collins CO

Ed Brady

Redneck Trailer Supplies
Springfield MO

Bob Bushnell
Western World Inc
Caldwell ID

Eric Clement
Featherlite Inc
Cresco IA

Rick Coffey
Carlisle Tire and Wheel
Aiken SC

Jeff Jackson
CM Trailers
Madill OK

Jack Klepinger
Wells Cargo
Phoenix AZ

Larry McDonald
Lucky ‘B’ Mfg
Cookeville TN

Greg Snyder
Car Mate Trailers
Leeper PA

Michael Terry
Cimarron Trailers
Chickasha OK