By Gino Fontana
Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Transervice
As originally appeared in FleetOwner Magazine’s IdeaXchange
I recently attended an industry event that left me with several key takeaways. First and foremost, the National Private Truck Council (NPTC) Annual Conference and Exhibition, which was held in Cincinnati, recently had excellent attendance, both in terms of attendees and exhibitors. There were 1,224 attendees and 276 exhibitors. I think we can all agree those are impressive numbers.
My first key takeaway is that it was terrific to see a conference of this size getting back to some version of “normal” attendance. My second takeaway was that now more than ever, people are hungry to be with their industry peers, colleagues, and vendors. Having been impacted by COVID-19 and various travel bans, these conferences took on a more subdued meaning last year if they even took place at all.
And my third key takeaway was that I am very fortunate to be in such a vibrant, dynamic, and important industry. Seeing all the awards for safety, performance, and contributions to our industry always is awe-inspiring. The drivers inducted into the Driver Hall of Fame—with seven digits worth of miles under their belts without a single accident or moving violation—is something we should all applaud. This is true, especially at a time when one generation is retiring and new generations behind them are taking the wheel (literally). These safe drivers should serve as an inspiration to those who follow.
Some conferences more than others offer outstanding educational, networking, and social opportunities. The NPTC conference is at the top of that list for me. The speakers in the sessions and roundtables I attended were excellent. There was a very good balance of offerings to choose from—so much so that it made it difficult to choose. I, like many of the folks I spoke with, had to divide and conquer and partner with a co-worker, decide which sessions each would attend, then share and compare notes.
Walking the floor of the NPTC show this year felt different. People were more apt to engage in dialogue and share ideas. It very much felt as if we were all suppressed for a period of time then finally got released (maybe that is because we were).
At the end of the day, the number of technology-driven products and services continues to increase, and there were more and more booths related to this aspect of our business. With safety, sustainability, and fuel economy forever at the top of my own personal punch list, I was encouraged by the number of booths focused on these three key areas.
For those of you reading this that were in attendance, thank you for making it a terrific show for all of us. Together we created an environment of collaboration and betterment. For those who couldn’t attend, if applicable to your business, it’s worth the price of admission—food for thought for the future.