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High times

Jan. 17, 2023
NTDA returns to the Rockies for 32nd Annual Convention

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO—The National Trailer Dealers Association returned to The Broadmoor for the 32nd Annual Convention, and outgoing NTDA chairman Richard Bloomquist was quick to point out the obvious: It's hard to believe how much has changed since the event was held here in 2018.

“When we talk about the past couple years, it seems like we use words that start with re: reacting, responding, reinventing, replenishing, reworking, recalibrating, recovering and realigning,” Bloomquist said. “Given the really challenging times we've all faced, we're incredibly grateful that you made the decision to register and to be here.”

As have previous chairman when convening the meeting, Bloomquist, president of Madison, Wisconsin-based North Central Utility, praised the efforts of the association board and encouraged members to serve.

“To help members uniquely position themselves in the industry, the NTDA board looks at economic indicators. We also look at other factors and their impact on our trailer business. We try to ensure the NTDA provides the tools to help you gain insights to meet your business needs,” he said. “This association has a wealth of knowledge and, when combined with networking opportunities, has helped create lasting relationships that have become priceless for all of us.”

Additionally, the board has remained focused on retaining existing members, attracting new members, providing training opportunities, modifying the association’s business model by improving cash flow for long-term sustainability, and accelerating the association's digital transformation, he continued.

Bloomquist noted that when association leadership created a five-year strategic plan in 2019, they took into consideration the possibility of a terrorist attack or weather event that might force the cancellation of the convention, but the COVID-19 pandemic “was not on our radar.”

Still, those strategic planning efforts—and subsequent “drastic measures,” such as laying off staff and closing the previous headquarters for more than a year while NTDA President Gwen Brown worked from her home—enabled the association to survive the cancellation of the 2021 event.

“NTDA was able to forge ahead as a financially stable organization,” he said. “There have been several trade associations that filed for bankruptcy. Those organizations were not positioned as well to endure a disruption like COVID.”

Bloomquist also credited event sponsors for enabling NTDA to hold down registration fees, despite the rapidly rising costs for putting on such an event. Additionally, the association has been able to begin to bring staffing levels back up and extend Brown’s contract, along with opening a new office in Brighton, Michigan.

“With the strong leadership of the board and staff, we continue to build an association help our members compete and thrive, both in the present and in the future marketplace,” he said. “In the same way that our members need to constantly improve their productivity and efficiency, the board supports initiatives to continually improve your association.”

Among these improvement efforts, Bloomquist cited enhanced digital communication with members and the elimination of print products, additional webinars, and the FET hotline. An association website redesign is planned for 2023.

And the NTDA scholarship program, begun in 1998, is a program that’s “near and dear to all of our hearts,” he continued. NTDA has awarded nearly $236,000 in scholarships to high school seniors whose parents are employees of member companies. And, in naming this year’s recipients who will share $25,000, Bloomquist emphasized that the scholarship committee it was “pretty much unanimous.”  

“They are very well qualified candidates who have good resumes and have a good story of what they want to do with their futures,” he said.

Convention attendees also had the opportunity “to give back to the community” by volunteering to assist Convoy of Hope to put together hygiene kits for victims of natural disasters.

“It's been a privilege and an honor to serve as your board chairman this year,” Bloomquist concluded. “Thank you for your continued support. We can't do this alone—the chairs of all the committees and the board members have really stepped up.”

The NTDA 33rd Annual Convention will be held Oct. 4-6, 2023, at the JW Marriott – Marco Island Beach Resort, in Marco Island, Florida.

About the Author

Kevin Jones | Editor