Lake Buena Vista, FL. The prolonged economic recovery has been good for small- and medium-duty trailer manufacturers. And, based on the attendance of more than 1,000 and a sold-out exhibit space for the 31st Annual NATM Convention & Trade Show at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, association members are hopeful for 2019 and beyond as well.
“The light- and medium-duty trailer industry had an extraordinary year, and NATM mirrored that success,” said Pat Jennissen of Felling Trailers, speaking for the last time as association president.
As highlights, Jennissen pointed to NATM’s record number of special projects related to tariffs, a record seven member-hosted plant tours with their elected officials, and the first annual national Trailer Safety Week, educating dealers and consumers on safe trailering practices. Additionally, the association launched two new websites, a revamped NATM.com and TrailerSafetyWeek.com.
As always, the convention featured educational workshops (covered in the following pages), networking events, and the opportunity to meet with vendors on the trade show floor.
Delta Manufacturing Inc was awarded the NATM Green Manufacturing Award to recognize the Newport, AR-based company’s innovative solutions for trailer manufacturing with reduced impact on the environment. PPG, Optronics International, The Carlstar Group, LaVanture Products Company, and Kenda/Americana Tire & Wheel sponsored the award, which carried a total contribution of $6,750 to Delta’s selected charity, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Jennissen and NATM Executive Director Kendra Ansley also recognized several members for annual awards. These included:
• Chris Steinman of MGS Inc, who received the Outstanding Regular Member Award;
• Bernie Goettker of UPF, who received the Outstanding Associate Member Award;
• Daniel Luby of BoatMate Trailers, who received the Regular Member NATM Outstanding Young Professional Award;
• Stacey Miller of Dexter, who received the Associate Member NATM Outstanding Young Professional Award.
As elected by the board, the NATM officers for the 2019-2020 term are President Owen Shelton, BoatMate Trailers; Vice President Marty Lorick, Triple Crown Trailers; Treasurer Josh Johnson, Big Tex Trailer Mfg; and Associate Representative on the Executive Committee Jim Berry, Dexter Axle.
Looking ahead, Jennissen outlined the association’s agenda for the near future.
“NATM has plans to unveil an association health plan and we will continue to engage in discussions on autonomous vehicles and vehicle-to-vehicle communication as well as focus on topics identified by regulatory agencies, like tire recordkeeping, to continue to aid our industry in compliance,” he said.
The 32nd NATM Annual Convention & Trade Show will be held Feb. 11-13, 2020, in Las Vegas.