AFTER a highly successful convention and T3 2000 last year in St Louis, the NTEA is taking its massive show to Baltimore, the "Charm City" along the Chesapeake Bay, for four days of education and networking from Feb 28 to March 3.
Did you know that the "Star Spangled Banner" was written in Baltimore or that some of the nation's most respected visual and performing arts institutions are located there? Probably not. You might not even care. Trips to the B&O Railroad Museum, the National Aquarium, the Babe Ruth Museum, and the sparkling Inner Harbor are going to be mere sidelights to the business at hand.
And big business is going to be conducted.
Concurrent with the 37th annual convention is T3 2001: The Commercial Truck, Trailer, and Technology Expo, with 13 of the world's leading chassis manufacturers and 399 exhibitors - 34 from foreign countries, 64 exhibiting for the first time - displaying the newest commercial trucks, trailers, and equipment at the Baltimore Convention Center. They'll occupy 165,000 sq ft of exhibit space, not including aisles. Records are being set for number of exhibitors, net square footage, and number of chassis manufacturers.
The NTEA launched the first T3 in St Louis last February, bringing together over 5,500 leaders in the commercial truck and transportation equipment industry and 390 exhibiting suppliers.
"It's exciting to launch into T3's second year now that the NTEA is committed to sponsoring a large, hands-on equipment show every year," said Pete Jones, T3 2001 and NTEA Convention Committee chairman and president of Crysteel Manufacturing Inc in Lake Crystal, Minnesota. The NTEA discontinued the triennial SUPERSHOW (1982-1997) in favor of the reformatted annual T3 event.
With the industry in a dynamic and changing mode, this annual event offers an international marketplace where suppliers and distributors can partner to showcase commercial trucks, truck bodies, trailers, equipment, and accessories to the truck buyer. The value of distribution and the services distributors can provide are a focal point of the exposition.
Since the NTEA started holding an annual convention in 1964, it has combined a multitude of industry-specific educational sessions and casual networking events for building business relationships. Over 30 sessions are scheduled this year.
Here's a look at the sessions, breaking them down into the categories of technical, chassis, and fleets. (An in-depth look at six other sessions can be found on the following pages.)
Technical Sessions - "Introduction to Truck Certification Regulations," Wednesday, Feb 28, 1:30-2:45 pm: Adhering to complex federal regulations for vehicle certification is one of the truck equipment upfitters' biggest challenges. Learn the ins and outs of vehicle certification compliance and penalties from one of the industry's most knowledgeable technical experts. Get the facts on incomplete, final-stage and altered-vehicle certification, and proper labeling. Includes a question-and-answer session. Presenter: Louis Kleinstiver, NTEA, Farmington Hills, Michigan.
- "Troubleshooting Paint Problems," Wednesday, Feb 28, 1:30-2:45 pm: Learn to identify and correct common paint problems found in both liquid and powder coatings, including craters, dirt, pinholes, off color, and dry spray. Understand the causes of defects and how to prevent them. Color standards, paint adhesion, and corrosion issues are also explored. Presenters: DuPont Co, Wilmington, Delaware; PPG Industries Inc, Strongsville, Ohio; Sherwin-Williams Corp, Cleveland, Ohio.
- "Truck Frame Overview for Body Mounting," Wednesday, Feb 28, 3-4:15 pm: Do it right the first time. Learn basic frame characteristics and requirements needed for quality and durable mounting of truck bodies. Understand the effects of welding and using fasteners. Presenter: Dick Toner, Toner Associates, West Bloomfield, Michigan.
- "Understanding Vehicle-Mounted Air Compressor Basics," Wednesday, Feb 28, 3-4:15 pm: Learn the differences between rotary-screw and reciprocal truck-mounted air compressors. Know the importance of pressures, flows, and capacity requirements for different tools. Understand which compressor types are best suited to different vocational applications. Presenter: Ralph Kokot, Vanair Manufacturing Inc, New Buffalo, Michigan.
- "Auxiliary (Lift) Axle Trends," Friday, March 2, 8:30 am-9:45 am: Review the purpose and functions of auxiliary (lift) axles, including steerable and nonsteerable axle designs. Understand related federal legislation and the growing trends in state legislation. Hear about future trends toward lightweight designs and reduced maintenance. Presenter: Richard Rickman, Watson & Chalin Manufacturing, McKinney, Texas.
- "Driveline Installation and Service Guidelines," Friday, March 2, 8:30-9:45 am: Review proper driveline installation, including balancing, u-joint angles, and critical speed. Learn to eliminate driveline vibration and avoid costly installation mistakes. Find resources to use in installation and servicing of drivelines. Presenter: Tom Koedam, Dana Corp-Spicer, Toledo, Ohio.
- "Simplifying Weight-Distribution Calculations," Friday, March 2, 8:30-9:45 am: Understand the importance of weight-distribution calculations in the utilization and design of a commercial truck. Learn the basics of vehicle weight distribution and see a demonstration of computer spreadsheet software that simplifies these calculations. Presenter: Toner.
Chassis Updates - "International Truck & Engine Corp," Wednesday, Feb 28, 1:30-2:45 pm: Learn about the new 4000 and 7000 Series recently introduced.
- "Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America Inc Chassis Update," Wednesday, Feb 28, 1:30-2:45 pm: Get an in-depth preview of the 2002 Mitsubishi Fuso new model enhancements and details on the 2002 model line-up.
- "American Isuzu Motors Inc Chassis Update," Wednesday, Feb 28, 3-4:15 pm: Learn about the N-Series and F-Series Class 3-7 commerical vehicles including new 2002 NPR HD and N and R seven-passenger crew cab models.
- "Bering Truck Corp Chassis Update," Wednesday, 3-4:15 pm: Get first-hand technical information on chassis specifications, design, body installation, and equipment mounting. Learn about the current and future model lineups.
- "GM Trucks Chassis Update," Thursday, March 1, 9:15-10:30 am: Get first-hand technical information on chassis specifications, design, body installation, and equipment mounting. Learn about the current and future model lineups.
- "Kenworth Truck Co Chassis Update," Thursday, March 1, 9:15-10:30 am: Get first-hand technical information on chassis specifications, design, body installation, and equipment mounting. Learn about the current and future model lineups.
- "Dodge Div of DaimlerChrysler Chassis Update," Thursday, March 1, 10:45-noon: Get first-hand technical information on chassis specifications, design, body installation, and equipment mounting. Learn about the current and future model lineups.
- "Freightliner Corp Chassis Update," Thursday, 10:45-noon: Get a sneak preview inside and out of the new Condor chassis, plus a functional look at the design below the surface.
- "Peterbilt Motors Co Chassis Update," Thursday, March 1, 10:45-noon: Hear about enhancements made to the medium-duty Model 330, the new Model 270 Class 6/7 COE, and the new crew cab conversation kit. Learn about the latest medium-duty sales programs and updated information for body builders.
- "Ford Motor Co Chassis Update," Friday, 8:30-9:45 am: Get first-hand technical information on chassis specifications, design, body installation and equipment mounting. Learn about the present and future model lineups.
Fleet Management - "How Information Technology and Wireless Communications Are Changing Truck Fleets," Thursday, Feb 1, 9:15-10:30 am: Look at the information technologies and wireless communications systems that are about to enter the truck market. Hear about the recent development of regional and local wireless systems as well as new onboard and handheld hardware, which used together, offer substantial productivity gains for many types of vocational and local fleet operations. Presenter: Jim Mele, Wendy Leavitt, Fleet Owner, Stamford, Connecticut.
- "Understanding Vehicle Life-Cycle Costing," Thursday, 9:15-10:30 am: Understand how fleet managers use vehicle life-cycle costing as an aspect of the buying decision. Learn the factors that enter into the financial decision regarding when to replace existing equipment. Learn how this technique can help you as a seller or purchaser of vehicles and equipment. Presenter: John Dolce, fleet management consultant, Roseland, New Jersey.
- "Connecting Your Fleet to Your Business Objectives," Thursday, 10:45-noon: Commercial truck purchasers and fleet managers need to know that the fleet is providing the business benefits that organizations require. Learn to define what a fleet is contributing to the organization. See how an audit of operations can identify fleet purchasing decisions to give greater results. Presenter: Scott Pattullo, Wheels Inc, Des Plaines, Illinois.
- "Evaluating Truck Equipment Quotes and Bids," Thursday, 10:45-noon: See how to analyze truck equipment quotes and bids. Understand both low and best bid resolutions. Learn how matrix review and analysis are used to improve the purchasing decision. Understand how equipment distributors and manufacturers can prepare the most effective bids. Presenter: Dolce.
- "Leveraging the Internet for Competitive Truck Fleet Management," Friday, March 2, 8:30-9:45 am: Learn how the industry can utilize technology, primarily the Internet and application service provider (ASP) models, to enhance fleet performance through improved resource management. See how interactive, cooperating, secure ASP environments provide work truck fleet professionals with tools and instant access to trading partners, enabling today's manager to leverage resources and make fully informed decisions about driver and vehicle management issues. Find out how fleet owners can use these to increase driver and customer satisfaction, manage human resources and driver recruitment, and heighten vehicle efficiency and productivity. Presenter: Rusty Gordon, iFLEET, Inc, Roswell, Georgia.
The convention starts Wednesday, Feb 28, with the "B&O NTEA Monopoly Night" reception from 7 to 10 pm at the B&O Railroad Museum, which includes the 1884 Roundhouse that houses the museum's oldest and finest historic steam, diesel, and electric locomotives.
Thursday morning kicks off with the President's Breakfast & NTEA Annual Meeting from 7:30 to 9 am, featuring a keynote address by syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry at the Baltimore Convention Center. The Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer has penned two books that were used as the basis of the CBS-TV sitcom "Dave's World."
Activities wrap up Saturday with the "Best of Baltimore" closing party from 7 to 10 pm at the Wyndham Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel. Big Cam & the Lifters will provide the rock 'n' roll.
Optional tours are available March 1 and 2 from 1 to 4 pm. One provides a "backstage" look of the National Aquarium, featuring feeding sessions of the aquatic animals and trips to the holding tanks and medical facilities that few visitors get to experience. The other tour takes visitors to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore's praised baseball park, and on to the Babe Ruth Museum.