Notebook: Work Truck Week 2024 shatters records

April 2, 2024
NTEA's signature event lured 15,790 industry stakeholders to Indianapolis for fours days of special guest speakers, educational sessions, and myriad exhibitors, including Sherwin-Williams, Legend, and Monroe Custom Bodies

INDIANAPOLIS—NTEA’s Work Truck Week 2024 drew a record-shattering 15,790 industry stakeholders from 29 countries to the Indianapolis Convention Center for the marathon four-day event filled with 536 work truck equipment and technology exhibitors, educational sessions, and special guests, including former NFL running backs Emmitt Smith and Jerome Bettis, who spoke at the NTEA Annual Meeting.

The week kicked off with the Green Truck Summit and included a Ride & Drive.

“Work Truck Week 2024 was more than a trade show—it was a complete commercial vehicle experience,” said Steve Carey, NTEA president and CEO. “You could feel the energy throughout the exhibit hall, educational sessions, Ride & Drive, and even just walking from place to place. The commercial vehicle industry has taken ownership of the week and has made it the epicenter for showing off the best the industry has to offer every year.

“The dedication and passion of our exhibitors and attendees has driven the continued expansion of Work Truck Week.”

The 2024 edition of Work Truck Week broke last year’s record of 14,885 attendees, with 883 participants attending Green Truck Summit sessions focused on the CV industry’s drive toward sustainability, productivity, and efficiency. “Dozens” of companies launched new products, partnerships, and business units, NTEA added. Ram revealed a new Ram Professional CV division, Ford Pro celebrated Transit’s 10th anniversary by extending the electric version’s range capability, and Mack Trucks provided updates on production of the MD Electric battery-electric truck. Additionally, Greenpower Motor Company launched GP Truck Body, Morgan Olson and EAVX introduced a Proxima van on a Freightliner Custom Chassis, and REE Automotive and Knapheide combined to upfit a P7-C electric chassis cab with a KUV body that made Knapheide’s annual distributor meeting.

Equipment and technology debuts included APSCO’s dump truck display and control system, Ranger Design’s pickup truck utility system, Palfinger’s PAL Pro 58 mechanics truck and PSC 8600 TEC service crane, Vanair’s PTO shaft-driven underdeck system, and Lincoln Electric’s Ranger Air 260MPX engine drive.

Work Truck Week returns to the Indiana Convention Center March 4–7, 2025.

Along with the show coverage on the following pages, several short items from this reporter's WTW noptebook stand out:

Sherwin-Williams touts industrial coating

The Duraspar Industrial Performance (IP) coating system is growing in popularity among commercial vehicle, heavy equipment, and trailer manufacturers, who appreciate its rugged durability and automotive-quality finish, according to Isabel Mevissen, Sherwin-Williams market segment manager for transportation.

“Once they get it in their painters’ hands, it takes off. As soon as they apply it, they’ll say, ‘Wow, you have to see this.’” she said.

“So this coating is generating a lot of momentum in the market.”

The two-component (2K) polyurethane system includes 27 colored monobases for virtually “unlimited” solid and metallic combinations that match most OEM paints, Mevissen said. “The benefit for work truck manufacturers is that it allows them to streamline their paint processes,” she explained. “It offers first-pass hide, which means you don’t have to go around the unit multiple times for full-coat coverage, so they can reduce their overall paint process times, labor, and rework.”

Duraspar IP features total applied cost efficiency, robust application properties, work vehicle versatility, and proven durability, Sherwin-Williams said. It’s suitable for cold and hot rolled steel, hot dip galvanized steel, and aluminum; applicable with conventional, HVLP, and electrostatic methods; and backed by a network of 77 facilities with sales representatives and techs across the country.

“We don’t see ourselves as a paint supplier,” Mevissen said. “We’re really a true partner to this industry, and we have 150 tech reps who can go into these manufacturer’s facilities and audit their paint lines. And we’ll give them recommendations, not just on what coating they should be using, but equipment recommendations, and how they can change their processes to increase throughput and quality.”

Legend presents upfitter awards

Legend Fleet Solutions, a cargo van interior accessories specialist, presented its 2023 upfitter awards on the exhibit hall floor.

“The Legends of the Road are everything to us as a brand,” Brendan Church, Legend’s chief marketing officer, said before presenting five awards. “Whether it’s all of you as upfitters, building, transforming, and creating these vehicles for those Legends, or us manufacturing world-class interior products for their vans, it’s for the ones out there doing the hard yards every single day using vans. It’s for the ones fixing our plumbing, or the internet down the street, and bringing your wife her 53rd Amazon package.

“We’re in it to make lives better for the Legends of the Road.”

Alt Fuel Innovations in Kansas City, Missouri, secured the Highest Annual Sales Growth award; Upfit Supply in Grand Ledge, Michigan, won Best Online Retailer; Casper’s Truck Equipment in Appleton, Wisconsin earned Best New Distributor; Adrian Steel in Sparrows Point, Maryland, collected the Best Brand Ambassador honor; and American Bobtail in Fate, Texas, claimed the Legend’s Choice award.

Monroe unveils vintage upfit

Monroe Custom Utility Bodies, from Greenfield, Indiana, turned attendees’ heads with its awe-inspiring upfit of a 1948 KB-5 International Harvester, which Eric Odmark, CEO of sister company IMH Products, found on Facebook Marketplace, and excited Monroe owner Joe Gillien quickly snapped up.

The truck featured chrome wings on the grille, a wrap-around chrome piece on the hood, and chrome KB-5 lettering on the side.

“It was a fun project for the shop,” Odmark said. “We have a couple of guys who fix up hot rods in their spare time, and really love that work, so they took the lead on refinishing the truck, rebuilding the engine, and getting it all cleaned up. Then we did our body support, painted it in house—with the same blue the City of Detroit chose for the municipal trucks we built for them—and designed the back.”

The utility body is for shows, so it features accessories for every application, including EZ Stak drawers, and a Liftmoore crane.

“It’s an unfunctional truck body, but it showcases the different things we can do,” Odmark explained. “So we’ve got the big platform on the back, and doors that overlap in different ways, with various handles and hinges.”

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.