Tom Landry and the new NTEA logo

YOU don't have to thumb past the cover of our Work Truck Show Report Issue to notice that it wasn't exactly business as usual at this year's event.

There were plenty of new things happening in Indianapolis this year, and you can read about those elsewhere in this issue. Perhaps the highest profile change was the association's new logo, and you can only read about that on this page.

At the risk of sounding like a television anchorman staring befuddled at his roving reporter, we dare to ask the question, “What does all of this mean?” Here's our take.

The old logo was created because it had to be. Everything at the association back then seemed to be changing all at once. Headquarters had moved from Cincinnati to Detroit. The organization had recently hired a neophyte executive director named Jim Carney. But the reason for creating the now-familiar logo was that the Truck Equipment & Body Distributors Association had changed its name. It was now the National Truck Equipment Association. Who wanted to receive a letter from NTEA that was written on D/A letterhead? A new logo was one more change that NTEA had to implement.

Until this year's Work Truck Show, the logo was the only one the National Truck Equipment Association ever had. Kind of like the coaching situation in Dallas before the Cowboys fired Tom Landry.

But circumstances change. And like a lot of things that have been around since Jimmy Carter was president, there was a sense that the logo needed an update.

In the interest of full disclosure, we in no way were involved in the redesign. Nor have we talked to anybody who was. And we make no claim to be experts in graphic arts. At Trailer/Body Builders, that work is performed very capably for us by folks across the hall.

But just for fun, let's reflect a little about what we see and what the new look says about the organization it represents.

For starters, the road ahead dominated the old logo. That was fitting for an association with a brief past and a long future. By contrast, the new logo contains just a hint of the highway, and “NTEA” has become substantially larger. Likewise, the association itself has grown significantly since the days when the entire convention fit easily inside a single hotel.

While NTEA has never been a middle-of-the road association, the “NTEA” letters no longer straddle the center stripe. “NTEA” has shifted over into the lane where the driving takes place. That, too, reflects reality. This year's Work Truck Show was filled with concepts that its staff, directors, and members have conceived and driven forward.

Also significant is the new line beneath the letters “NTEA.” Symbolically, the National Truck Equipment Association has been replaced by “the association for the work truck industry.” Anyone attending this year's Work Truck Show, with all the chassis manufacturers, fleets, truck body and equipment manufacturers, and truck equipment distributors could easily understand why. What began as an association of truck equipment distributors now includes those who design trucks, those who use trucks, and virtually anyone in between.

One final parallel: When a logo has been around as long as this one has, changing over to the new one is a monumental task. At the beginning of this year's Work Truck Show, the old logos were everywhere. But once the new design was unveiled at the president's breakfast and annual meeting, the old logo had virtually disappeared. The process was fast, extensive, and startling. Appropriately, it was a transition that reminds us of the changes that are happening in our industry. 

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