NATM rolls out green theme in Albuquerque, a city known for its commitment to the environment, annual convention features first Green Manufacturing Award

Dec. 1, 2010
THE National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM) is going green in a city known for going green. The 23rd Annual NATM Convention & Trade Show,

THE National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM) is going green in a city known for going green.

The 23rd Annual NATM Convention & Trade Show, scheduled for February 23-25 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will feature a theme of “Turning a New Leaf in the Trailer World” — with the introduction of the first-ever Green Manufacturing Award, which will be sponsored by PPG Industries and given to an NATM regular (trailer manufacturing) member that has implemented green manufacturing and practices in its business.

The Green Manufacturing Award will recognize the best innovation or novel solutions by a manufacturer in the industry to positively impact the environment. This could be defined in many areas, including material utilization, design advancement, process or equipment improvements, reduction in emissions, recyclable, etc.

Criteria for the award include being an NATM trailer manufacturing member in good standing and providing verifiable documentation of a “green” initiative or improvement at their manufacturing plant. NATM trailer manufacturing companies will be judged on case studies where the companies have been able to demonstrate improved performance in environmental manufacturing.

It's very appropriate that the award is being introduced this year as the NATM Convention makes its first-ever stop in Albuquerque, one of the nation's boldest leaders in environmental awareness.

Back in 2006, Albuquerque's mayor — together with mayors from Chicago, Seattle, and Miami — submitted Resolution #50, which urged the US Conference of Mayors to adopt the 2030 Challenge designed to make the building industry carbon-neutral by 2030. Later that year, Albuquerque won a World Leadership Award for its efforts to secure a sustainable water supply. In 2008, the US Chamber of Commerce and Siemens honored Albuquerque with a Sustainable Community Award in the Large Community category for AlbuquerqueGreen, a comprehensive sustainability plan backed by City Administration that provides the vision and tools for energy conservation, clean energy production and use, and conservation technologies.

To mesh with that philosophy and with this first Green Award, the NATM will provide attendees with reusable bags and water bottles to help reduce convention waste.

This will be a transcendent convention in another way. In response to requests from members, the convention programming has been reduced from five days to three days. This new format will include workshops on each day. The trade show will remain on Thursday and Friday, but the annual gala will be moved to Friday night.

“Money is tight, people can't be away from their offices, and we get that,” said Allison Malmstrom the NATM's membership director/government affairs liaison. “We wanted to pack as much information into those three days as we could, so that our members do not feel like they have to be away from their businesses.”

The NATM also has implemented three educational tracks — Human Resources, Engineering, and Purchasing — because it wanted to provide quality educational programming that its members feel that their key supervisors should not miss. Many of the workshop topics revolve around the green theme.

“Our convention committee has been working hard to provide us with new educational workshops that could be important for our upcoming 2011 season, as we all must deal with issues like health-care costs, hiring practices, and a financial update I hope will be more optimistic,” said NATM president Mike Skoglund of Carry-On Trailer Inc. “We heard (members') comments from last year and worked hard to make this convention and trade show up-to-date and relevant. This could be a great year, with all the optimism growing for a better economy in 2011.”

The changes came out of a “strategic planning” session to discuss the future of NATM conventions. With all of the changes in the economy and the trailer industry, the committee agreed that the NATM needed to take a hard look at what the convention should provide members.

Starting in 2011, the NATM will focus on three overall objectives to promote the success of its members. The NATM Convention Committee will define programs that:

  • Communicate the status and health of the organization.

    The mission of the NATM is to unify the light- and medium-duty trailer manufacturing industry by: improving trailer safety and performance; proactively addressing regulatory issues; enhancing the image of the industry; providing educational tools and events; and offering membership benefits and services. The purpose of the annual meeting is to communicate to the members information about all of the activities focused on accomplishing the association's mission. The primary focus for the 2011 membership meeting will be to further promote safety by voting on a bylaws amendment making compliance a requirement of membership for regular members. There will also be an update on legislation that will have a major impact on the industry and everyone can work together to be effective in the legislative and regulatory arena. Skoglund believes this membership meeting is one of the most significant since NATM was founded in 1987, and is urging every member to attend and participate.

  • Educate members.

    Over the years, educational workshops have become one of the top reasons members attend the NATM convention. This year will feature 16 educational opportunities.

  • Provide networking opportunities with industry peers and customers.

    In addition to the trade show, the luncheons, receptions, and the gala provide a variety of networking opportunities for associate members to spend time with their customers, get to know trailer manufacturers, and develop relationships to grow their business. Skoglund says that when the NATM asks exhibitors what it could do to keep them coming to the trade show, the answer is always the same: attract more trailer manufacturers. So this year, the organization is encouraging all exhibitors to help in this effort by extending a personal invitation to their trailer manufacturer customers to the trade show free of charge. Skoglund also is challenging all NATM members to bring one new associate or regular member to the convention and encourage them to participate in as many events as their schedule allows.

The workshops:

Business Operations (HR)

  • Health Care Costs: What are the new changes and how will the changes affect us? This workshop will focus on the effects of the new health-care legislation on small businesses. The main points will cover changes for small manufacturers for 2011 and 2012, what choices in health coverage will be available, anticipated costs of these choices, and recommendations on positioning your company to make the best choices.

  • Investing in Human Capital: Because of the economy, many companies are experiencing cyclical events of staffing up for high production, then having to lay off workers when the orders dwindle. Offering competitive salaries in a seasonal industry can cause high turnover as well. Look at best practices for long-term hiring, how to limit turnover, the good and bad of using an outside employment agency, costs and benefits of background checks, and drug checks for all new hires. Also, how can manufacturers build loyalty and longevity among employees?

  • Financing Update: A panel of finance experts will cover options for floor-plan financing, how banks are relating to businesses, and what dealers need to do to set up floor-plan financing.


  • Reducing Manufacturing Costs Through Innovative Practices: This workshop will focus on what steps companies need to take to become lean, cost studies, quick change-over, lean resources and tools, and plant layout and change.

  • Job Shop Automation: Bettering the Bottom Line: This workshop will focus on how companies can move from manual fabrication to automated fabrication. Attendees can expect to take away information on the steps to change to an automated system, efficiencies, costs, and savings of an automated environment compared to a manual one. Ideas and suggestions will also be given for steel fabrication in a “low-volume/high-variability” environment.

  • Canada Pre-Clearance and ECE Type Certification Workshop: In our global economy, many trailer manufacturers are finding favorable markets in Canada and Europe. This workshop will cover the pre-clearance process for exporting to Canada and type certification approval for trailers to be exported to the European Union member countries. NATM technical director Clint Lancaster will discuss the Canadian requirements and Chuck Gepper, European Trailer Expert with VCA, will discuss the EU requirements.


  • Materials Management: This workshop will focus on processes (supplier verification process, quality assurance, and dealing with control of materials ordering) and how to manage your business supply chain (checking items, flow of system, vendors, and selection of product).

  • Inventory Control: This workshop will focus on in-house processes on dealing with finished-goods inventory (build-to-order versus build-to inventory), raw material inventory (economic order quantity, Kanbans, etc), inventory control, and ratios to gauge inventory levels.

  • Purchasing Green and How Do We Get There? This workshop will answer questions such as, “What is purchasing green?” and “Why buy green?” Myths about buying green and how green purchasing can be accomplished will also be covered.

  • NATM Compliance Program Roundtable Discussion: Join fellow members, along with the compliance committee and membership committee, to discuss the future of NATM in light of the bylaws change regarding compliance verification as a requirement of membership.

Friday Night Gala

On the final day, from 6-9:30 pm, take a trip back in time to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. Join your peers at the NATM gala and share a very special evening among the exhibits depicting New Mexico's history — from the age of the dinosaur to the boom of the personal computer. Discover more about the “Land of Enchantment.”

Online Registration

This year, the NATM will provide online registration for all participants. A new convention Web site has been developed, which hosts all information regarding the upcoming show. To register, visit

Registration Fees

For attendees unable to participate in the entire convention, tickets can be purchased for individual events. The a la carte functions are open to booth workers as well. For additional booth workers or upgrades, see the member registration form, available online at

NATM Trade Show Exhibitors

Company Booth# 3M 1303, 1305, 1307 A.L. Hansen Mfg. 1311 Adfast 2116 Affiliated Resources, Inc. 2404 Air-Tight, LLC/DeeMaxx 2121 AL-KO 2315, 2317, 2319, 2321 Aluminum Line Products Co. 2101 Americana Tire & Wheel 1315 Amerimax Building Products, Inc. 1125 B & W Trailer Hitches 2307 Bauer Products 2108 Bailey Sales Corp. 1106 BB&T Insurance 2209, 2308 Blaylock Industries Inc. 2104 Blazer International 1112, 1114 Blue Water Finance 1105 Caple-Shaw Industries, Inc. 2106 Carlisle Tire & Wheels 1001, 1100 Cast Products Inc. 1005, 1007 Champion Hoist & Equipment 2313 Chicago Expert Importers 1316 Colonial Banknote Company 1004 CURT Manufacturing 1215 Custer Products, Ltd. 2401 Dalton Hydraulic 1012 Dec-O-Art 1426 Demco 2204 Dexstar Wheel Company 1313 Dexter Axle 1204, 1206, 1208 Diamond Vogel Paint 2205, 2207 Dutton-Lainson Company 2004 EPS 2324 Fiber-Tech Industries Inc. 2225 Graphic Solutions Inc. 1115 H.E. Parmer Co., Inc. 2120 Hercules Sealing Products 1212 HiSpec Wheel & Tire 1214 Hopkins Mfg. 1116 Hubbell Galvanizing, Inc. 1121 Innovative Lighting 1000 International Extrusions 1320 Jame' Rollform Products 1021, 1120 Jammy, Inc. 2325, 2424 KampCo. 2201, 2300 Kenny & Gyl Co. 1401 Kodiak Trailer Components 2025 KTI Hydraulics Inc. 2311 L & H Threaded Rods Corp 1321 Laclede Chain Mfg. 2208 LaVanture Products 2103, 2105 Lippert Components/KINRO 2304, 2306 Longxin Factory 2206 Maxi-Seal Harness Systems 2000 Metalwest 2119 MTE Hydraulics 1014 Muro North America 1216 North West Rubber 2112 New Metals, Inc. 2125 Nuera Transport 1219, 1221 Optronics 1101, 1103 Pacific Cargo Control, Inc. (PCC) 1303 Pacific Rim International, LLC 1003 Peterson Mfg. 2001, 2003 Peerless Industrial Group 1309 Phoenix Stamping Group 2420 Phoenix USA Inc. 1109 Powerbrace Corporation 2200 PPG Industries 1213, 1312 Premium Supply 2309 Priefert Logistics, LP 1104 Quality Trailer Products 2220 RB Rubber Products Inc. 1107 Redneck Trailer Supplies 1301, 1400 Reliable Production Machining & Welding 1319 Reliance Bearing 2111 Road Warrior by Unified Marine 2224 Rumber Materials Inc. 2107 Saddle Boss LLC 2305 Shelby Industries 1111 Simpson Strong-Tie 2113 SPX Hydraulic Technologies 1314 Starquest Products 2109 State Wide Aluminum 2115 Statistical Surveys 1200 Stillwell Jacks 2212, 2214 TexTrail Trailer Parts 1006 Tie Down Engineering 1108 Titan Tire 2124, 2126 Total Trailer Protection 2203 UFP 2301, 2400 USA Harness 2100 Valspar 2303 Watson & Chalin 1217 Z Tech 1220

NATM 2011 Convention Agenda

  • Tuesday, February 22

    7-9 pm Early Bird Registration

  • Wednesday, February 23

    8 am-8 pm -Registration


    Concurrent workshops

    • Materials Management
    • Reducing Mfg Costs Through Innovative Practices
    • Health Care Costs

    Noon-6 pm - Trade Show setup

    1:30-3 pm - Concurrent workshops

    • Mandatory Compliance: Open Forum
    • Financing Update (Panel Discussion)
    • Job Shop Automation-Moving from Manual
    • Fabrication to Automated Fabrication

    3:30-4:30 pm - New-member/first-time attendee orientation

    6:30-8:30 pm - President's Reception

  • Thursday, February 24

    6:30 am-6:30 pm - Registration

    7-9:30 am - Breakfast buffet/membership meeting

    8 am-noon - Exhibitor setup

    10-11:30 am - Concurrent workshops

    • NATM Compliance Update Panel-Green Manufacturing
    • Inventory Control

    Noon-1:30 pm - Association awards luncheon

    1:30-6 pm - Trade Show

    4:30-6 pm - Trade Show reception

  • Friday, February 25

    8 am-3 pm - Registration

    9 am-1 pm - Trade Show

    12:30-1:30 pm - Friday Lunch Café

    1:30-3 pm - Concurrent Workshops

    • Purchasing Green and How Do We Get There?
    • Investing in Human Capital
    • Canada Pre-Clearance & ECE Type Certification

    6-9:30 pm - Gala & Reception

About the Author

Rick Weber | Associate Editor

Rick Weber has been an associate editor for Trailer/Body Builders since February 2000. A national award-winning sportswriter, he covered the Miami Dolphins for the Fort Myers News-Press following service with publications in California and Australia. He is a graduate of Penn State University.