Bound for Vegas


That's the theme for the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers Convention & Trade Show in Las Vegas January 31-February 4.

“We're raising safety,” assistant director Michelle Brown said. “We have a lot of workshops that deal with new legislation. The bar's being raised a bit higher in terms of safety.”

Workshops include: Wheel Separation Update, Worker's Compensation, Lean Management, Adhesives-Bonding Technologies, Customer Service, HR-Employee Handbook Review, Paint Processes, and NATM Model User's Manual.

The week begins January 31 with registration and an Early Bird Reception. The following day features the golf tournament, trade show setup, a board meeting, new member reception, and President's reception.

Thursday features a General Session, the annual membership meeting, keynote speaker Jim Craig, and the trade show. Friday and Saturday are anchored by the workshops.

Changes for this convention include:

  • The venue is being switched from the Orleans to the Las Vegas Hilton. This will allow the NATM to offer 250 booth spaces instead of 165.

  • The Nuts & Bolts session, which usually is held after lunch on Saturday, will be combined with the luncheon in the same room and will end at 2 pm, instead of 5 pm.

  • The trade show has been extended each day by an hour. Hours for Thursday are 1-6 pm instead of 1-5, and 8 am-noon instead of 9 am-noon.


Wheel Separation Update:

“Wheels on Trailers:

Elements of Assembly Process Control”


Jack Klepinger, Wells Cargo
Ted Schorn, Enkei

A brief introduction to the wheel-off issue will be provided, along with the work of Trailer Safety Industry Coalition (TSIC) to date. Focus will be on the New Recommended Practice: “Process Controls for the Assembly of Wheels on Trailers,” with applications for manufacturers and dealerships.

In response to an increase in warranty claims for wheel-separation accidents on a variety of trailers, leaders of the industry and its trade groups formed the TSIC in 2004. The TSIC, formed by the NATM, Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), and National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA), has conducted the industry's own investigation into wheel-attachment technology and wheel-separation issues affecting trailers under 26,000 pounds GVWR and has interacted proactively with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The formation of TSIC sent a strong signal to NHTSA that the industry is interested in tackling any issues before they get too complex.

The industry groups are hoping that by coming together as one voice, they can achieve the same kind of success as the Surge Brake Coalition, which includes NATM, NMMA, American Rental Association (ARA), Association of Equipment Manufacturers, and various surge-brake manufacturers, end users, and trailer manufacturers.

The Surge Brake Coalition, co-chaired by Klepinger, submitted a petition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on February 28, 2001, asking for a review of the 1993 ruling against surge brakes and making a case that the wording should be changed to allow surge brakes for use on certain sizes of trailers and towing-vehicle combinations. Finally, on September 14, 2004, FMCSA decided to allow the use of surge brakes on trailers operated in interstate commerce, provided certain conditions are satisfied.

Customer Service:

“World Class Customer Service”


Jep Enck, Enck Resources

Enck will cover key customer service principles:

  • Begin at the beginning: Employees who care about excellent service are people who care about their work. Hire the right people and you will have fewer customer complaints. Make customer service questions a part of your interview process.

  • Train well: Excellent customer service comes from excellent employees. If staff are not trained at the start to identify what service is and how to provide it, it's not their fault.

  • Happiness begets happiness: Is your workplace a happy place? Do you feel confident in your colleagues' skills and commitment? When people work well together, they usually provide high-quality service.

  • Believe in your product: Nothing works better than the belief that what you do for your customers is the best. Pride and confidence in your product keep excellence on track.

  • Employees are the first customer: How management treats its staff is essential to how the customer is treated by the employee. Employees who feel valued and respected pass the good feeling on.

  • Never ever quit: The quest for excellent customer service has no finish line. There are virtually thousands of ways customers can be dazzled. Just put your feet in their shoes, and go.

  • What gets measured gets done: Quality is quantifiable. Find ways to measure what excellent service looks like, sounds like, smells like, and tastes like. How many times does the phone ring before it's answered? How fast does the paperwork get back?

  • Ask and ye shall receive: Organizations that ask for their customers' opinions about service learn more than those that don't. Don't assume you're doing a good job.

  • Reward excellence: When you hear about an excellent example of service, go directly to the individual or team that made it happen and let them know how much you appreciate it. Remember, what gets rewarded gets repeated.

  • Competition breeds mediocrity: Excellent service is generally the result of many people working together. Systems that place colleagues in competition stifle the overall sense of teamwork that has been associated with maintaining satisfied customers.

Enck is known for his dynamic, engaging style, with presentations that are remembered for their content — a blend of carefully chosen theory, useful facts, illustrative stories, and practical how-to's. (One newspaper described him as a cross between a Harvard business professor and a stand-up comic.) Listeners are always entertained yet walk away with a remarkable new wealth of information and skills.

Enck holds an M.S. in human resources from Colorado State University and has over 20 years' management and speaking experience.

Lean Management:

“Tiptoeing Through the Minefield: Lean and Six Sigma for Mid-Sized Companies”


Dale Billet, director of consulting, RSM McGladrey Inc

Many implementations of Lean and Six Sigma at mid-sized companies fail to achieve expected results. This presentation will describe how a mid-sized company with limited resources can successfully combine Lean and Six Sigma to dramatically improve processes. The major factors that determine success and the pitfalls that must be avoided will be identified. Real-world examples of how mid-sized companies are using these tools will be presented.

Following this presentation, participants will be able to: identify the factors that are key for success and the pitfalls to avoid in using Lean and Six Sigma tools in a mid-sized company; evaluate how their company can successfully plan and implement process improvement using Lean and Six Sigma tools; and discuss the specific approaches and benefits received from real world examples of mid-size companies utilizing Lean and Six Sigma.

Billet has 16 years consulting experience (specializing in serving mid-sized companies) and 17 years' operational experience with a variety of manufacturers and distributors. He has considerable experience in assisting mid-sized manufacturing companies in the transportation industry to improve processes through the use of Lean and Six Sigma tools. He has a B. S. in business management and an MBA from Indiana University.

Adhesive-Bonding Technologies:

“Basics of Adhesion for Trailer Manufacturers”


Randy Koza, technical service specialist for 3M

Mark Berman, application development specialist for 3M

Tim Clemens, advanced product development specialist for 3M

The focus will be on what trailer manufacturers should know about adhesives and how they can better use adhesives.

The basics of adhesion will be discussed: Common industry technologies, sealants/acrylic foam/structural adhesives; why adhesives work; the value of different adhesives; how evaluations are performed; how they differ from mechanical fasteners; their advantages and disadvantages.

A case study will be provided. Application will be offered for panel bonding for a smooth-sided trailer.

Koza has more than 31 years of experience at 3M in product development of advanced ceramic materials, application engineering for tape dispensing and applying equipment, and technical service for 3M VHB acrylic foam tapes. Berman has more than 30 years of experience in the development, manufacturing, and application of a variety of 3M technologies. Clemens has more than 14 years of experience in product and process development, manufacturing, and technical service support of 3M products for aerospace, electronics, and industrial markets.

Paint Processes:


Greg Stemley

This workshop will deal with: understanding customer expectations, cosmetic standards, salt spray/humidity, welded areas, warranty claims, types of substrates, cold roll steel, hot roll steel, aluminum preparation, sanding, media blast, solvent wash, acid wash, autophoretic pretreatment process, cleaning/degreasing, conversion coating, iron/sealer, zinc/sealer, topcoat process, spray to waste powder, quick color change for powder, waste treatment, repair process, media resources, paint and powder, metal finishing, and powder coating.

Worker's Compensation and HR-Employee Handbook Review:


Mark Travis, Wimberly Lawson

Keynote Speaker

Jim Craig
Thursday, 9:45-11:15 am.

Craig, 45, is a market service consultant and senior vice president of business development for Keystone Incentives in Easton, Massachusetts.

You might know him as one of the heroes on the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that stunningly won the gold medal.

During two incredible weeks in February 1980, 20 college kids headed to Lake Placid, New York, to be coached by Herb Brooks, one of the great motivators and taskmasters. During those two weeks, they gave a discouraged America — unnerved by the plight of 52 hostages held by Iran — a renewed sense of pride.

One of the indelible images of the euphoric celebration after they defeated Finland to capture the gold medal was that of goalie Craig draped in the Stars and Stripes, searching the crowd for his father.

Walt Disney adapted the story of the “Miracle on Ice” into a feature-length film, Miracle, which was released in February 2004 and stars Kurt Russell as Brooks and Eddie Cahill as Craig.

After the Olympics, Craig went on to play several seasons in the NHL with the Atlanta Flames, Boston Bruins, and Minnesota North Stars. He is a member of the United States Ice Hockey Hall of Fame.

Craig resides in North Easton, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children.


The tournament is set for Wednesday at 9 am with a shotgun start at Angel Park Golf Club, which features 36 holes of championship golf designed by Arnold Palmer, the Cloud Nine Short Course, and the world's original natural grass Putting Course. Both the Cloud Nine and putting course are lighted for evening enjoyment.

Angel Park has been named Best Golf Course in Las Vegas in the “Best of Las Vegas” Las Vegas Review Journal Readers Poll (11 out of the past 12 years) and “Favorite Golf Course” in Las Vegas by visiting golfers (as nominated by What's On Magazine Visitor Choice Awards).

Awards will be presented for first, second and third place, longest drive, longest putt, and closest to the pin. The format is a four-person scramble.

Callaway X-16 irons are available to rent for $40 per set.

Space for an additional 85 exhibitors this year

Company Booth #
3M 123, 125
5/A Baker/Safeview Systems 214
A.L. Hansen Mfg Co 361
Active Technology 227
Al-Ko Kober Corp 137, 139
Allied Tube & Conduit 222, 224,
Aluminum Line Product Company 219
American Bank Note Company 347
American Trailer Parts 115
Amerimax Building Products 229
Atwood Mobile Products 211, 213, 215
Axis Products Inc 538
BASF Corporation 322
Bauer Products 232
BB & T — Pruden Insurance Services Inc 433
Bearden Innovations 432
Bearing Buddy Inc 417
Best Fender Products/Champagne Metals 543, 545, 644, 642
Blaylock Trailer Products 226
Bunkaps by Harley Corp 522
Buyers Products Company 300, 302
C.E. Smith Company Inc 525
C.R. Brophy Machine Works Inc 625
Carlisle Industrial Brake 337
Carlisle Tire & Wheel 339, 438,
Cast Products Inc 355, 357
Cequent Commerical 314, 316, 318
Clancey Hardware & Hinge 351
Command Electronics 233
Crysteel Manufacturing Inc 216
Curt Mfg 234
Custer Products Ltd 401
Dexter Axle 338, 336
DuPont Company 523, 622,
Dutton-Lainson Company 223
Eastern Metal Supply 724, 726
Eaz-Lift Spring Corp 728
Elixir Industries 135, 133
Endura Mfg Co Ltd 504
Engineered Components Company 202
Fiber-Tech Industries Inc 437
Flitz International Ltd 200
Force Electronics 228
Freedom Axle Inc 310
Gate Flexor Inc 734
GE Commercial Dist. Finance 742
Geocel Corporation 419
Global Advantage 400
Globe Specialty Co 443, 542
Greenball Corp 127, 129, 131,
Grote Industries 209
H.E. Parmer Co Inc 516, 518
Hayes Lemmerz International 349
HE&M Saw 230
Hehr Interntional 426
Hickory Springs Mfg Co / JSI Corp 658, 660
HiSpec Wheel & Tire 326
Holland 1916 235
The Holland Group 107, 105
Hopkins Manufacturing Corp 445
HWH Corporation 645
Imperial Stamping Corp 554
Integrity 101
International Extrusions 323
ITW Bee Leitzke 327
JR Products 624
KampCo Steel Products Inc 317, 319, 416, 418
Kenny & Gyl Company 500
Kodiak Trailer Components 225
L & H Threaded Rods Corp 436
Laclede Chain Mfg Co 460
Lippert Components Inc 506, 508
Lucky ‘B’ Manufacturing Inc 623, 722
M & B Supply Inc 324
M-3 & Associates 359
Marmon/Keystone Corporation 461
Maxi-Seal Harness Systems 331
Metalwest LLC 442
Mishawaka Sheet Metal Inc 510
Mize & Company 328
Nordec Inc 212
North West Rubber 524
Nudo Products Inc 444
Obe Co Inc 434
Optronics Inc 111, 113
Orrco International 236
P.M.C.S. Inc 738
Pacific Cargo Control 353
Pacific Rim International, LLC 502
Paktron Products 332
PDG Associates Inc 325
Peterson Manufacturing 333, 335
Philips Products 237, 239
Phillips Industries 435
Phoenix Stamping Group, LLC 748
Plastics By Design Inc 514
Powerbrace Corporation 643
PPG Industries 423, 425
Premier Lights, LLC 424
QDS/Henschen 413
Quality Trailer Products 218
Redneck Trailer Supplies 117, 119
Rigidized Metals Corporation 329
Robin Industries Inc 744
Ryadon Inc 750
Scorpion Protective Coatings 537, 539, 636, 638
Seal Rite Inc 736
Service Plus Distributors (SPD) 730
Shelby Industries 760
Sierra Products Inc 530
Statewide Aluminum 238
Superdrive 639
Textron Financial Corp 447
Tie Down Engineering Inc 422
Timbren Industries Inc 415
Tredit Tire & Wheel Company Inc 439
Trimax/Wyers Products Group 217
Ultra-Fab Products 627
Unified Marine Inc 544, 546
US Wheel Corp 231
USA Harness Inc 201
Vacation Vehicle Mfg 109
Valspar Corporation 343, 345
Whitesell Fasteners 334

NATM 2006 agenda

Tuesday — January 31, 2006
3-8 pm Registration
6-7:30 pm Early Bird Reception
Wednesday — February 1, 2006
8 am Golf Tournament Angel Park
9 am Shotgun Start
3-6 pm Trade Show set-up
(Security will be provided, badges required for admittance)
1-7 pm Registration
3-5 pm Board Meeting
6-7 pm New Member Reception
7-9 pm President's Reception
Thursday — February 2, 2006
7 am-4 pm Registration
8-9 am Breakfast
9-11:15 am General Session
9-9:45 am Annual Membership Meeting
— President's Annual Report
— Financial Report
— Compliance Update
— TSIC Update
— Benchmarking
9:45-11:15 am Keynote Speaker: Jim Craig
11:30-1 pm Golf Awards Luncheon
1-6 pm Trade Show
4:30-6 pm Reception
Friday — February 3, 2006
8 am-5 pm Registration
8-Noon Trade Show
(Breakfast in the Trade Show)
11:30-Noon Door Prizes
(Grand Prize - $2,500 Vacation package)
(Regular members only — must be present to win)
Noon-1 pm Awards Luncheon
1:30-3 pm Workshops
• Workers' Compensation
• Adhesives - Bonding Technologies
• Wheel Separation Update
• Customer Service
3-3:30 pm Break
3:30-5 pm Workshops (Same as above)
Saturday — February 4, 2006
7:30-8:30 am Breakfast
8:30-10 am Workshops
• HR - Employee Handbook Review
• Paint Processes
• NATM Model User's Manual
• Wheel Separation Update
10-10:30 am Break
10:30-Noon Workshops (Same as above)
Noon-2 pm Luncheon / Nuts & Bolts
6 pm-9 pm Saturday Night Gala
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