It's back to Baltimore

BUOYED by past success in Baltimore, the National Truck Equipment Association is heading back to the “Charm City” along the Chesapeake Bay for the 40th annual convention and Work Truck Show from March 2-5.

The last time the NTEA went there, in 2001, attendance was 7,143 (a 28% increase), representatives from 24 countries attended the show (a 40% increase), and 425 exhibiting companies occupied 163,000 square feet of space (an 11% increase).

This year, the NTEA is expecting 450 exhibiting companies, including 10 of the world's leading truck chassis manufacturers, eight of which will present informational update sessions on chassis specifications, design, and body installation.

It also is expecting unprecedented interest in the President's Breakfast on Thursday, March 4, from 7:30-9:30 am. That's because the keynote address will be given by a former president — George Bush, the 41st president in US history. His appearance comes five years after former First Lady Barbara Bush delivered the keynote address in Indianapolis.

The Work Truck Show, held at the Baltimore Convention Center, is billed as the only place to see commercial trucks and transportation equipment from Classes 1 through 8 — including chassis, bodies, aerial devices, snow and ice control, accessories and components, and more. It provides a forum for fleet managers, truck equipment dealers, leasing company representatives, and other industry professionals to examine the latest product and technology developments. The event is open to anyone involved in buying, selling, or using commercial vehicles and equipment.

The Work Truck Show offers the opportunity to talk directly with the engineering and technical personnel who design the equipment showcased at the event.

“Attending The Work Truck Show positively impacts my business from cost-saving to relationship-building,” says Rich Ryan, CEO of American Cargo Corp in Goshen, Indiana. “It's an opportunity to see many vendors and products in a short period of time.”

In addition, there are 30 industry-specific education and training sessions designed to provide real-world insights, technical tips, and solutions. Today's commercial truck and transportation equipment distributors must find the best resources and solutions to help their companies adapt to many different issues, including vehicle certification and building relationships with manufacturers and buyers.

“We've made improvements based on what we learned at the NTEA Convention educational sessions, and we've also contacted vendors we met on the show floor,” says Bill Tarter, sales manager for Brian Hoskins Ford in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.

“The educational component of the NTEA Annual Convention is an unparalleled resource that helps us discover solutions to challenges; it provides us with the information we need to make improvements in our operation,” says 2003 Work Truck Show attendee Dan Roland, general sales manager of NBC Truck Equipment Inc in Roseville, Michigan.

Here is a look at the educational sessions, breaking them down into the categories of management, sales, technical, chassis, and fleets. See accompanying article (“Sessions You Won't Want to Miss”) for an in-depth look at 10 key sessions.

Management

“Industry Update: Understanding Early Warning Reporting Requirements,” Tuesday, March 2, 9-11 am: Early Warning Reporting criteria as mandated by the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation Act is now a reality. Get the latest information on the electronic submission of your reports along with warranty claim and field report data collection requirements. An expert on Early Warning Reporting, Erika Jones, a partner in the law firm of Mayer, Brown, Rowe and Maw, and former chief counsel for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration answers your questions. Presenter: Erika Jones, Partner, Mayer, Brown, Rowe and Maw, Washington, DC.

“What is Your Business Worth? Succession Planning & Business Valuation,” Tuesday, March 2, 9 am-noon: This session offers a step-by-step process on how to assign value to a business for financial planning, exit and transition planning, and accessing better lines of credit. Especially valuable for attendees who want to learn how to package their family-owned business for sale to another family member or learn how to make their business attractive to an outside buyer. Substantiating goodwill, the process of valuing a business, getting the most from the sale of a business, and exit planning will be covered. Presenter: Arthur G. Senowitz, Mergers and Acquisitions Advisor, RSM EquiCo, Costa Mesa, California.

“Using Low-cost Technology to Improve Productivity,” Tuesday, March 2, 1:30-2:45 pm: Hear about the latest technologies and how these tools apply to the commercial truck and transportation equipment industry. Real-world applications will be presented that can be implemented in your operation. Discuss online marketing strategies and other ways to maximize the Internet, including developing or modifying your company's Web site. Presenters: Fred Fisher, Vice President, American Roll-Off/Hook-All Hooklifts, Trenton, New Jersey, and Spokane Computer Inc, representatives, Spokane, Washington.

Sales

“Truck Specs 101,” Tuesday, March 2, 3-4:15 pm: Learn the basic questions to ask when spec'ing chassis and equipment. Knowing how to examine your operational needs as they relate to vehicle specifications can help you eliminate operational and maintenance nightmares. Hear how three individuals address and jointly determine what is the best equipment available to meet the needs of the equipment purchaser. Presenters: Bill Green, General Manager, MA Jerry Company, Inc, Plattsburgh, New York; George S. Combes, Superintendent Central Garage, Vermont Agency of Transportation, Montpelier, Vermont; and Shawn Lyman, President, Iroquois Mfg.

Technical

“Do it Right! Maintaining FMVSS 121 Compliance When Modifying Air Brake Systems,” Tuesday, March 2, 1:30-2:45 pm: Anytime an air brake system on a vehicle is altered or modified, there is a risk of taking the vehicle out of compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 121, the Federal Air Brake Safety Standard. This includes stretching a wheelbase, adding axles and changing a truck to a tractor and vice versa. Learn how to make modifications that will maintain compliance, even when increasing gross vehicle weight rating. Anti-lock brake systems, pneumatic systems and foundation brakes (service as well as parking systems) will also be covered. Presenters: Chuck Eberling, Systems Engineer, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, Elyria, Ohio, and Richard Radlinski, President, Link-Radlinski Inc, East Liberty, Ohio.

“Simplifying Vehicle Weight Distribution Calculations,” Tuesday, March 2, 1:30-2:45 pm: Recognize the importance of weight distribution calculations in the utilization and design of a commercial truck. Learn the basics of vehicle weight distribution to safely and legally position your payload. See a demonstration of software that simplifies these calculations. Presenter: Richard Toner, Owner, Toner & Associates, Pentwater, Michigan.

“Truck Frame Overview for Body Mounting,” Tuesday, March 2, 3-4:15 pm: Do it right the first time and avoid costly product failure. Look at basic frame characteristics and requirements needed for quality and durable mounting of truck bodies. Understand the effects of welding and fastener usage on frame strength and durability. Presenter: Richard Toner, Owner, Toner & Associates, Pentwater, Michigan.

“What Truck Distributors, Dealers & Purchasers Should Know About Vehicle Certification,” Wednesday, March 3, 8-9:15 am: Meeting complex federal regulations for certification is one of the most important aspects of your truck equipment purchase. Learn applicable gross vehicle weight and gross combination weight ratings standards for multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, buses and trailers. Understand your responsibilities and what to look for from your suppliers regarding certification compliance and penalties. Ask questions and get the facts on incomplete, final-stage and altered-vehicle certification and proper labeling. Presenter: Louis Kleinstiver, Technical Services Director, National Truck Equipment Association, Farmington Hills, Michigan.

“A Comprehensive Approach to Truck Chassis Specs,” Wednesday, March 3, 9:30-10:45 am: You can improve every aspect of your fleet operation, from capital expense, maintenance, daily operations and personnel to vendor relations and eventual life-cycle replacement, by examining critical chassis spec'ing factors such as powertrain (i.e., engine and transmission), suspension, frames, auxiliary components and duty-cycle of the vehicle. Presenter: International Truck and Engine Corporation representatives.

Chassis

“Kenworth Truck Company Chassis Update,” Tuesday, March 2, 1:30-2:45 pm: Get first-hand technical information on chassis specifications, design, body installation and equipment mounting to improve your final-stage results. Learn more about the future models and options offerings.

“Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America, Inc. Chassis Update,” Tuesday, March 2, 3-4:15 pm: Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America, Inc. will discuss preliminary chassis engineering data for the new 2005 model year product line.

“Peterbilt Motors Company Chassis Update,” Tuesday, March 2, 3-4:15 pm: Peterbilt Motors Company hosts its annual Chassis Update presentation to provide information on spec'ing for top performance, optimizing body installation, realizing the benefits of preventative maintenance and maximizing the lifetime value of vehicles. Attendees will also have a chance to win one year of complimentary TruckCare preventative maintenance for one of their medium-duty vehicles.

“Dodge Chassis Update,” Wednesday, March 3, 8-9:15 am: Get first-hand technical information on chassis specifications, design, body installation and equipment mounting to improve your final-stage results. Learn more about future models and options offerings.

“International Truck and Engine Corporation Chassis Update,” Wednesday, March 3, 8-9:15 am: Get first-hand technical information on the new DT466/570 International Engines. Learn about the ease of maintenance and serviceability of the new Diamond Logic II Electronic Engines featured in the new line of International High Performance Vehicles. Improve body installation and equipment mounting utilizing electrical body integration features on the International chassis. Explore value-added opportunities utilizing the Diamond Logic Electrical System and Diamond Logic Builder Tool. Discover the industry's first comprehensive Telematics Systems for fleet customers.

“GM Fleet & Commercial Chassis Update,” Wednesday, March 3, 9:30-10:45 am: Get first-hand technical information on chassis specifications, design, body installation and equipment mounting to improve your final-stage results. Learn more about 2004-2005 future models and options offerings.

“Ford Trucks Chassis Update,” Thursday, March 4, 9:45-11 am: Ford Motor Company representatives will present first-hand technical information on chassis specifications, design, body installation and equipment mounting to improve your final-stage results. Learn about future models and options including changes to the F-Super Duty for model-year 2005.

“Sterling Truck Corp. & Western Star Trucks Chassis Update,” Thursday, March 4, 9:45-11 am: Sterling Trucks offers you the opportunity to look at its all-new and upgraded L-Line conventional trucks product line. Sterling Trucks will provide details on upgrades and new product offerings for its Acterra medium-duty product line, including new engine offerings from Mercedes-Benz. Featured in its presentation will be information about new component offerings from many their products. Sterling Trucks will share information about body installer software aids and publications to support the needs of the aftermarket when working with its products. In addition, Sterling Trucks will offer tips and advice on ways to spec' and configure your Sterling trucks to accommodate unique body and equipment installations that save installation time and money.

Fleets

“Using Telematics to Improve Productivity & Uptime,” Tuesday, March 2, 3-4:15 pm: Telematics solutions are in-vehicle devices that communicate vehicle performance and location information to fleet administration and maintenance locations. Learn how your fleet can leverage Telematics to increase equipment utilization, minimize downtime, reduce maintenance costs and increase residual value through location-based services, vehicle performance monitoring and prognostics. Presenter: Mark Schumacher, Truck Electronics, International Truck and Engine Corp, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

“Applying Negotiations to Reduce Fleet Owning, Operating, Disposal Costs & Risks,” Wednesday, March 3, 8-9:15 am: Learn the techniques world-class fleets use to manage their equipment, fleet and shop departments. Reduce cost and risks of commodities purchased by fleet and shop departments by applying negotiation strategies and tactics to build an optimum supplier team. Gain a greater understanding of the benefits of forming strategic alliances with manufacturers, distributors, resellers, specialists and funding sources. Presenter: Kelly Walker, President, Kelly Walker Associates, Dallas, Texas.

“Exploring World-Class Fleet Asset Funding Options,” Wednesday, March 3, 9:30-10:45 am: Gain a better understanding of fleet asset funding options and how they can help your fleet achieve top financial and operational performance levels in equipment, fleet, shop and work crew departments. Scarce financial resources can be stretched by applying the optimum asset funding option to each asset demand scenario. Fleet asset funding options may also be applied to reduce technician man-hour consumption. Presenter: Walker.

“Latest Strategies for Total Vehicle Life-Cycle Costing,” Wednesday, March 3, 9:30-10:45 am: How do today's fleet managers use total vehicle life-cycle costing to justify and manage vehicle equipment purchase decisions? The latest strategies for life-cycle cost management, including acquisition, maintenance and disposal, will be covered. Managers from fleets of all sizes will learn cost factors that influence the decision and cycles of replacing equipment. Discover how this technique can be applied to maximize your operation's profitability. Presenter: Jim Salas, Director of Maintenance Field Support Services, Ryder, Miami, Florida.

“Component Spec'ing for Optimum Vehicle Life-Cycle Costing,” Thursday, March 4, 9:45-11 am: In order to minimize the life-cycle costs of vocational vehicles, chassis specifications must take into consideration the way the vehicle will be used. Failure to do this may result in either an under- or over-spec'd vehicle which, in turn, will increase your life cycle costs. Examine important spec'ing factors such as loading rates and cycles; learn how gross vehicle weight rating and gross combination weight rating relates to the way the vehicle is used; and develop an understanding of duty-cycles (e.g., stop-start, long haul, on-/off-road usage). Other component issues to be examined include: steering, brakes, batteries, cooling systems and suspension. Presenter: Robert Johnson, Manager of Fleet Technical Support, Verizon Communications, Hagerstown, Maryland.

“Fleet Cost Allocation Strategy Refinement,” Thursday, March 4, 9:45-11 am: Fleets are cost centers regardless of vehicle types, procurement methods, or in-house/out-source management. This session covers cost accounting fundamentals, including U.S. standards, cost allocation methodologies and rate development models applicable to all fleet types. Presenter: Paul Lauria, President, Mercury Associates, Inc, Gaithersburg, Maryland.

The convention opens Tuesday, March 2, with registration starting at 8 am.

Later that day, from 3-5 pm, is the Young Executives Network Business Workshop, “All in the Family.” Ron and Carol Ernst from Leadership Horizons will explore practical ways to bridge the generation gap by identifying barriers to communication and teaching useful ways to begin connecting and growing as a family and a business.

Following their presentation, Stan Coveleskie, president of SIA Truck Bodies Inc in Largo, Florida, and Trak Coveleskie, SIA's vice president of sales and marketing, will present a “Code of Conduct” utilized in their family-owned truck equipment business.

The opening reception follows from 6:30 pm-9:30 pm on the Club Level of M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Super Bowl XXXV champion Baltimore Ravens.

The trade show opens at 11 am Wednesday, March 3, and runs until 5 pm.

The event offers work truck equipment distributors, dealers, manufacturers and purchasers a one-stop marketplace for networking, learning, and examining new products. The show is designed to help attendees improve their businesses' productivity and efficiency by providing the opportunity to see the latest product innovations, catch up on industry news, learn business-building skills and make contacts — over a period of only a few days.

The agenda includes an optional tour — “Shop and Explore Historic Annapolis” — Wednesday, March 3, from 10 am-3:30 pm. After departing from Baltimore Convention Center, the tour takes a leisurely ride to Annapolis, the capital city of Maryland, nestled on the rivers and creeks leading to the Chesapeake Bay. There is a 30-minute driving tour of this colonial town, alive with three centuries of history, then a shopping trip near the harbor.

This year, in an attempt to provide even greater opportunities to talk one-on-one with colleagues, the NTEA has added a special Fleet & Leasing Company Networking Reception on Thursday, March 4, from 5-7 pm.

The week wraps up on Friday night with the NTEA Member Closing Party from 6:30-9:30.

And for those planning into the future, the next Work Truck Show is set for the Indiana Convention Center and RCA Dome in Indianapolis from March 2-4, 2005.

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