My December road trip was short but sweet. I flew into Little Rock, Arkansas to meet up with our newest addition to the National Account Sales team, Jorge Carrillo, and to visit some members. Although I was hoping for some warmer weather than the below average temperatures in Chicago so far this winter, Little Rock was a balmy 27 degrees as I got off the plane and drove to the hotel. Jorge drove over from Tulsa, and we arrived at the hotel at exactly the same time. The helpful gentleman at the front desk recommended the nearby, and appropriately named, Whole Hog Café for dinner where we enjoyed some barbeque and awesome potato salad before turning in for the night.
The next morning, we headed out bright and early to our first stop, TRL Leasing, a NationaLease Developing Member. Their location is right off the highway next to a truck stop, and we got there early enough to stop for breakfast. With a menu that stated in bold red letters, “Cream gravy complimentary with breakfast entrees,” I knew I had crossed that invisible line into the South. After our hearty breakfast, we went across the street and met the folks from TRL Leasing, a NationaLease Developing Member. Rick Vassar, Jim Hoyt, and John Sexauer gave us a tour of their brand new facility and we sat down to talk about their rapidly growing company and the programs NationaLease has available to support them. One of the programs they have found the most value in is the daily rental insurance we offer our customers. John mentioned that his customers love the ease of getting insurance coverage right at the point of rental rather than having to transfer coverage or get a certificate of insurance from their insurance company. They have also benefitted from the NationaLease Road Rescue emergency breakdown service. They appreciate the additional support for after-hours calls to make sure their customers are supported 24/7/365. They joined us for lunch at Newk’s, a local sandwich shop, then we made our way across town to meet with the folks at Carco NationaLease.
Carco’s location was easy to spot, as it is right next to the Little Rock airport. Bobbie Sue Beasley, Kenny Watts, Hulen Morton, and Chad Hatfield joined Jorge and me to chat about a variety of topics, from purchasing programs to National Accounts to Reciprocal Service. We also talked about our upcoming Maintenance Managers Meeting which will be held May 14-16 in Frisco, TX. Kenny will be serving as this year’s meeting chair, so we discussed some of the topics that he wants to cover in this meeting to help our maintenance directors stay at the forefront of the industry. Technician recruiting and training remain at the top of the list. On the topic of technician recruiting, we talked more about our strategic partnership with Universal Technical Institute. I had attended a Program Advisory Committee meeting at the Chicago campus the day prior, and was able to share some of the exciting ways we are partnering with them to assist our members in hiring the best young technicians. We moved our lively discussion from their office to Bonefish Grill, and over Bang Bang Shrimp and Pomegranate Martinis continued to learn about Carco, and their long history in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Chad has been at Carco just a few months, but between Bobbie Sue, Kenny, and Hulen, they have over 80 years of tenure at Carco!
Even though my trip was short, it was great to see both old friends and new. As we look into 2014 and beyond, it is this great mix of history and progress that will allow NationaLease to continue to be the preferred leasing company to our customers. Since our beginning in 1944, we have held to the strong foundation and tradition of NationaLease, while always looking to the future and changing to meet the challenges and opportunities presented. I wish you a very Happy Holiday season filled with old friends and new, and I look forward to sharing my adventures in 2014.
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