Trailerbodybuilders 11837 Hdaw2019 Opening A2

HDAW ’19 shatters records. Plans made for an even bigger event, venue change in 2020

April 10, 2019
HDAW 2019 coverage

Las Vegas. To use boxing terms suitable to the venue, the “tale of the tape” shows Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week ’19 was a winner—by unanimous decision. The event took place Jan. 28-31 at The Mirage.

By the numbers: 265 companies exhibited this year, hoping to get the attention of the 680 distributor executives on hand. All told, 2,576 people—including distributors, suppliers, service providers, educators and industry media—attended HDAW ’19.

“We couldn’t be happier with the results. There’s a lot of passion for this event,” said Tim Kraus, president and chief operating officer, Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association. “We believe in the independent channel, and the importance of the independent distributor. We’ve got to do whatever we can to support them as best as possible—that’s what HDAW is for.”

Exhibitor spaces for the HDAW Product Expo sold out in less than a month, resulting in a long waiting list, organizers said, and 1,524 one-on-one meetings occurred during the four-day event.

“The buzz during HDAW 2019 was loud throughout the week, and the attendance numbers support the feeling of excitement felt during the elements of the conference,” said Brett Penzkofer, vice president of North American aftermarket at Meritor and HDAW ’19 supplier co-chair. “The independent aftermarket came together for a tremendous week of camaraderie, and it was great to be a part of this record setting year.

“The Product Expo halls were full of activity as suppliers launched new products, technology, and programs into the aftermarket, connecting the independent distributor to their futures.”

After a full day of discussions during the associated Heavy Duty Aftermarket Dialogue (see coverage in the following pages), nearly 1,200 people attended the opening general session. Keynote speaker Daniel Burrus, a futurist, demonstrated how to understand and adapt to trends, predicting disruptions before they disrupt, and how to pay close attention to emerging opportunities so organizations can quickly capitalize on them.

Afterward, Burrus was joined on stage by Sam Schmitt, an Indy car team owner and driver, to discuss the impact of disruptive technologies in motor vehicles in his life and how he used new technology to overcome his disability and drive a vehicle after a catastrophic test racing accident in 2000.

“In one week, we learned to embrace technology and the benefits of using it in our businesses, finding and retaining the right people for our organizations and understanding what the independent distributor will need to know to prepare for the increasing technology on the vehicles our customers will be driving,” said Ian Johnston, vice president of sales and marketing at Harman HVS and HDAW ’19 distributor co-chair. “The record number of distributor attendees at HDAW this year shows us that there is an interest in understanding what impact technology will have on their businesses, both on the trucks and in our back offices.”

CRW Parts was named the 2018 Distributor of the Year. Dave Willis, CRW’s president, accepted the award, which was sponsored by Meritor, Minimizer, Interstate Billing Service and Karmak.

HDMA’s Kraus also announced plans for an even bigger show next year: HDAW is moving to the Metroplex for a more central and accessible location with an additional 80% exposition hall space at the Gaylord Texan, in Grapevine, TX.

“Everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes the Gaylord Texan,” Kraus said. “The decision to move was not taken lightly. It comes after much consideration of industry feedback and our goal to ensure the industry has the best opportunity to come together and conduct business. This new space will provide a more business- culture focused venue, which will allow us to bring innovative new elements to the conference that will ultimately enhance the attendees experience—all under one roof.”

HDAW 2020 will offer the independent aftermarket four days of highly targeted distributor education workshops and product training, including SOLD! (Service Opportunities & Learning Day), offering a two-day program designed for distributors with service and repair technicians. Additionally, the event will feature a world-class product expo with the latest and greatest in HD parts-services on display. Product experts will be available to assist attendees with gathering the information they need to make buying decisions. 

“This move is exactly what the industry needs,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association, the segment owner of HDDA: Heavy Duty (HDDA). “As the industry grows, it’s important that we make the adjustments needed to effectively and efficiently facilitate productive business and provide a comfortable atmosphere to gather. As we researched possible locations, we found the Gaylord Texan to be a fantastic partner and we’re pleased to bring not only our industry but it’s significant economic impact to the region.”

HDAW 2020 is set for Jan. 27-30. For more info:

About the Author

Kevin Jones | Editor

About the Author

Jason McDaniel

Jason McDaniel, based in the Houston TX area, has nearly 20 years of experience as a journalist. He spent 15 writing and editing for daily newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle, and began covering the commercial vehicle industry in 2018. He was named editor of Bulk Transporter and Refrigerated Transporter magazines in July 2020.