Taking advantage of both the proximity to Mexico and the recent Cinco de Mayo celebration, Jane Clark opened the 2017 NationaLease Maintenance Managers Meeting on Thursday, May 11, with a big “Bienvenidos!” before turning it over to this year’s meeting chair, Troy Simmons, Service Support Manager for TEC Leasing, a NationaLease Member. Troy welcomed the packed room, and got the introductions going before bringing our keynote speaker, George Arrants, to the stage. George is currently the Director of Training & Recruitment for the WheelTime Network, and is leading multiple industry initiatives to bring education and training as well as programs to help increase the interest among students to go into our industry. George has also chaired the Technology and Maintenance Council TMC SuperTech Competition from the beginning in 2005. He shared his unique insights into the current technician shortage, and how we can overcome it, as well as the challenging topics of millennials in the workplace, and working with tech schools. He also discussed the benefits and importance of skills competitions like the NationaLease Tech Challenge.
Following George was Glen Kedzie, Vice President, Energy & Environmental Affairs Counsel, American Trucking Association. Glen leads ATA’s legal and policy advocacy efforts on energy, environmental, and climate change matters; counsels clients on regulatory compliance issues; transitioned the industry into using the cleanest fuels and engines on the road today; developed and implemented an industry-wide sustainability plan; ushered in first-ever greenhouse gas/fuel consumption standards for trucks; and coordinates the expansion of natural gas as an alternative transportation fuel. He gave an update on the current state of regulation in our industry, including the latest actions by the new administration on GHGs, ELDs, and a variety of other relevant legislative and regulatory topics, and also gave us a look at what is on the horizon.
Ronny Brown, Maintenance Director with Catawba Rental Company, Inc., a NationaLease Member, then encouraged members to “Put on Your Thinking Sombreros!” as he facilitated the popular and always-insightful Idea Session. Members submitted ideas ranging from technology solutions to very low-tech time-saving tools, then voted on the best ideas. The winners, who were announced at the Product and Technology Fair, walked away with not only bragging rights, but cash prizes! Winners were:
- First Place: Chris DiSantis, Aim NationaLease
- Tied for Second Place: Paul LiRosi, Hub NationaLease, and Bob Dempsey, Fox & James NationaLease
Thursday’s final speaker of the morning said “No problemo!” to concerns about potential litigation. Ed Leonard, attorney with Harrington, Foxx, Dubrow & Canter, has seen it all when it comes to litigation involving trucks. He shared his perspective on the current trends in legal action against companies in our industry, and how members can keep our companies out of the courtroom.
After lunch, over 50 suppliers welcomed attendees to the tradeshow floor to browse the latest in products and technologies. Members had the chance to network with suppliers and each other, and also win some fabulous prizes, thanks to the generosity of our supplier partners.
Activities concluded with the Fiesta Fabulosa—a Mexican-themed dinner and entertainment which took place outdoors on the hotel’s scenic property.
Friday started with a welcome and remarks from NationaLease President, Dean Vicha. Dean applauded the group for their growth despite a challenging environment in 2016. He also spoke about several of the initiatives underway at the NationaLease Home Office, including NationaLease Fleet 20/20 TM and growth in National Accounts.
The meeting continued with one of the favorite sessions of the meeting, which this year we titled, Amigo to Amigo: Shop Talk. This member-only session gave the members an opportunity to discuss issues that they are currently facing and get input from their peers.
Rob Garcia, Vice President of Supply Management for NationaLease, followed with an update on current spend trends within NationaLease, new supplier programs, and ways to utilize the programs to maximize savings and rebates. Rounding out the morning, members had the opportunity to attend breakout sessions from Cummins, Freightliner, and Volvo, which covered some of the latest technologies and specs, current vehicle issues and the proper corrective measures, warranty purchase options, and an overview of web-based training courses.
After lunch, the meeting resumed with a panel on tire management best practices facilitated by Joe Puff, Vice President of Truck Technology & Maintenance for NationaLease. Chris DiSantis, Director of Training & Field Technical Support, Aim NationaLease, Ray Keller, Maintenance Director, Salem NationaLease, and Andy May, Maintenance Information Systems, Hogan Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member, rounded out the panel and discussed their best practices, along with participation by other attendees.
Tyler Robertson, Founder of Diesel Laptops, followed with a discussion of computer hardware for diagnostic systems. Tyler’s company represents all the major manufacturers, so he was able to share some very valuable insights into which ones are popular, and which ones work best for different applications. Rafael Canelon, Director of Sales, and Jean Rubio, Branch Manager, with Bentley Truck Services, Inc., a NationaLease Member, then joined us to share how Sales and Service work together to not only close sales, but truly deliver on the promises they make to their customers. The afternoon ended with a presentation from Jane Clark on the Hiring Process. She shared tips gleaned from her 15 years as a recruiter prior to joining NationaLease, and walked the group through the process from writing a job description to what to do on the new employee’s first day.
Dean Vicha began the Awards Dinner by announcing the upcoming retirement of Chuck Miller, of Parrish Leasing, a NationaLease Member. Dean remarked on the impact Chuck has had in his 40 years, not only on Parrish Leasing, but on NationaLease as a whole. Dean presented Chuck with a token of appreciation for his years of service, support, and expertise. Dean then turned the stage over to Jane, and she first acknowledged our Premier Partners, before announcing our 2017 Exceptional Service Award winners.
The Exceptional Service Award is chosen by a vote of the maintenance managers. It acknowledges the members who have provided excellent, consistent service. The awards are voted 1st, 2nd & 3rd place, or Platinum, Gold, & Silver, and are from three size categories: <150 Power Units, 151-600 Power Units, & 601+ Power Units.
The Silver Level winners are:
- Advantage NationaLease
- Coffman NationaLease
- Kirk NationaLease
- Aim NationaLease
The Gold Level winners are:
- Four Star Leasing, LLC, a NationaLease Member
- Carmichael NationaLease
- Hogan Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member
- Hub Truck NationaLease
The Platinum Level winners are:
- York NationaLease
- Parrish Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member
- Airoldi Brothers NationaLease
There were no Extra Mile winners for this year.
And finally, NationaLease presented the awards for the NationaLease Tech Challenge.
The three Top Techs who will be representing NationaLease at the TMC SuperTech competition this fall are:
- 2nd Runner Up: Bob Mrzyglod, Aim NationaLease
- 1st Runner Up: John Norwood, Aim NationaLease
- Top Tech: Richard Davis, Hogan Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member
Congratulations to our all our Exceptional Service and Tech Challenge winners! NationaLease also thanks all of the Tech Challenge judges, TCi Tire Centers, and Michelin for hosting this year’s Tech Challenge; Velocity Truck Rental & Leasing, a NationaLease Member, for use of their trucks; and especially Rich Bingham from Hogan Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member, Chris Disantis from Aim NationaLease, and Dennis Cates from Carco NationaLease, for their support in setting up this year’s competition.
Jane started the final morning by recognizing Troy Simmons of TEC Leasing, a NationaLease Member, for putting in his time and effort as the chair of this year’s meeting. She then shared with the group an update on what is happening at the NationaLease Home Office, including our initiatives around technology, maintenance costs, and recruiting. Next, Scott Marzec, Member Programs Manager with NationaLease, demonstrated some of the services he can provide, and how he can help you save some dinero and how best to take advantage of the NationaLease programs, pricing, and rebates.
We concluded this year’s meeting with Regional Breakouts. These breakout sessions were designed for members to get to know the other maintenance managers in their region, and discuss how to continue improving our best-in-class Reciprocal Service network, as well as maintenance issues specific to regional applications.
The 2018 NationaLease Maintenance Managers Meeting will be held May 16-18, in Charlotte, NC.