Two days of great speakers were the highlight of the NationaLease 69th Annual Meeting in Sweet Home Chicago!
The NationaLease 69th Annual Meeting took place on Sunday, September 22 and Monday, September 23. Tom Bylenga, President and COO of Star Truck Rentals, a NationaLease Member, and Chairman of the NationaLease Board of Directors, welcomed the crowd of nearly 200 members, suppliers, and staff to the meeting. Mr. Bylenga then introduced the keynote speaker, Don Mann. Mr. Mann is a former Navy SEAL Team Leader who was twice captured by enemy forces and lived to tell his story. Mr. Mann, who’s also a New York Times bestselling author and accomplished endurance athlete and mountaineer, gave a presentation focused on the “combat mindset” and how having the attitude of never quitting can allow you to achieve anything. Mr. Mann was followed by an economic update from Jim Meil, Chief Economist for the Eaton Corporation. Mr. Meil is considered one of the top forecasters in the country. He outlined his forecast for the general economy and predicted moderate growth for the truck leasing industry in the near future. Wrapping up the first day of the general session, Brian Uzzi, a Richard L. Thomas Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, shared fascinating insights from his research on networks, and how creating the right kind of personal and professional networks can allow us to maximize our impact. Day one of the meeting concluded with a Trade and Technology Fair representing many of NationaLease’s valued suppliers.
Dean Vicha, President of NationaLease, opened day two of the meeting by reviewing some of the initiatives NationaLease has been working on for the last year, and outlined the direction for the future of NationaLease. Mr. Vicha was followed by the Industry Panel made up of NationaLease members. Danny Abernathy, President/General Manager, Catawba Rental Company, Inc., a NationaLease Member; Jeff Congdon, President, Old Dominion NationaLease; Andrew Flynn, President, TCI Leasing/Rentals, a NationaLease Member; Brian Hogan, President & CEO, Hogan Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member; Chip Parrish, General Manager, Parrish Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member; and Kirk Tilley, President, Tandet NationaLease participated in the discussion moderated by Terry Young, Principal of Advantage Truck Leasing, a NationaLease Member. They covered topics ranging from FASB to alternative fuel vehicles and shared best practices and opinions on the top issues that all members must consider as we move into the future. Jane Clark, Vice President of Member Services, gave an update on some of the projects that NationaLease has been working on for the members including new websites for members, and announced a new Strategic Partnership between NationaLease and Universal Technical Institute to help members in their efforts to recruit diesel technicians. Ms. Clark introduced Andy Stopka, Vice President of Maintenance for NationaLease, who presented the award for Top Tech to Bob Mrzyglod of Aim NationaLease. Jeff Spence, Vice President of National Accounts with NationaLease, gave an update on the progress of the National Accounts team and presented the award for Top Salesman of the Year to Tom Teague, President of Salem NationaLease, on behalf of his salesman Russ Edwards. Wrapping up the morning’s sessions was Ken Gronbach, author of the current bestselling book “The Age Curve: How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Storm.” Mr. Gronbach bases his forecasts on common-sense demography, and shared some encouraging projections for the global economy and America’s continued place as the greatest country in the world. The afternoon sessions began with a very practical look at the Affordable Care Act and what considerations and actions employers should take for 2014 and beyond, presented by Kim Beck, Vice President of Benefits Consulting, and Chris Patrick, Senior Vice President with Cottingham & Butler. A very interesting and eye-opening review of some common misconceptions employers have about employment law, as well as recommendations to avoid legal action was presented by Neil Dishman, Partner with Jackson Lewis LLP. The afternoon sessions concluded with a members-only session, including a review of the Supply Management programs presented by David Nitzsche, Sr. Vice President of Supply Management for NationaLease.
The meeting concluded with an awards dinner where 38 members were awarded the prestigious Leadership Circle Award. Recognition was also given to Gerry Flynn, Principal of TCI Leasing/Rentals, a NationaLease Member, who is exiting the Board of Directors and Tom Bylenga, exiting Chairman of the Board. The new officers of the Board of Directors was announced—Chair—Fred Bentley, President of Bentley Truck Services, Inc. a NationaLease Member, Vice-Chair—Tom Keefer, President of Kris-Way Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member, and Vic Corley, GM of LTG Lonestar NationaLease. A great evening of entertainment followed, wrapping up the Sweet Home Chicago theme with the Bluz Brothers Band.
Please mark your calendars for next year’s 70th Annual Meeting, which will be held in the Fairmont in Dallas on September 28-29, 2014!