The New Year always brings opportunity. Whether real or symbolic, the beginning of a year is a chance to start fresh, with a clean slate, a chance to make new goals and plans, and of course, resolutions. The beginning of the year also brings something that we Americans are absolutely obsessed with: The Super Bowl.
I left for Boston in that very brief window of time between the New England Patriots winning the AFC Championship and the breaking news of Deflate Gate. By the time I arrived at my hotel, virtually every news broadcast led with the story and all its nuances. Reporters stationed outside Gillette Stadium kept Bostonians up to the minute with information about the advantages and disadvantages of throwing and catching footballs inflated to less than 12.5 psi, and the possible chain of custody of the 11 questionable footballs. As predictable as making (and immediately breaking) New Year’s resolutions, the Super Bowl and all its inevitable hype is a reminder that a new year has begun.
My purpose in Boston, while not related to the Super Bowl, was very related to the New Year. It was a chance for me to talk with our members and learn their goals and plans for 2015, find out how we might be able to assist them with those goals, and share some of the plans NationaLease has to support our members this year. Jay Hagerty, our National Account Executive for the Northeast, joined me for a nonstop 72 hours in Beantown.
Our first stop was Advantage Truck Leasing, LLC, a NationaLease Member, in Shrewsbury. John Paulik, Kevin Holmes, and Jeff O’Neil joined us to discuss their plans for growth. One of the exciting new programs NationaLease will be rolling out in 2015 is a customer Web access portal. This platform will be available for all National Account customers, as well as for each of our individual members, to use for their local customers. This new technology will allow customers to access all the details of their fleet in a quick, user-friendly manner. More details about this system will be available very soon.
In addition to that new technology, we also discussed a technology we have had in place for a few months, our Careers page on nationalease.com. Recruiting technicians continues to be a challenge for most of our members, and the Careers page has been very effective in finding qualified candidates in many areas, including technicians. Advantage is currently working with our partner, Universal Technical Institute, to help identify and hire diesel technicians.
Our next visit was at Diamond Truck Lease Corporation, a NationaLease Member, in Woburn, where we met with Bill Burrows and Steven Dutile. Bill gave us a tour of his shop and yard, and told us about the great experience he has had with our Reciprocal Service network. As the true cornerstone of the NationaLease system, the Reciprocal Service network is designed to provide our members and their customers 24 hour road service anywhere in the U.S. and Canada through our over 700 locations. Bill spoke about the partnerships he has with several of the NationaLease members whose trucks run through his area. It is this commitment to Reciprocal Service that has allowed NationaLease to provide the best service in the industry for over 70 years. Bill also shared some insights into his plans for the business and his vision for the future, which unwaveringly includes his commitment to the highest level of service to his customers.
From Woburn, we continued our journey to Avon, where we met with the folks from Ballard Truck Leasing, a NationaLease Developing Member. Peter Maloy, Tom Plante, Brian Buckley, and Nicole Hanson met with us and gave us a full tour of their shop. As a new Developing Member, they had lots of questions about the many resources NationaLease provides. We reviewed several of these resources, including the purchasing programs. NationaLease has partnered with many of the leading suppliers in the heavy duty trucking arena to offer products and services to our members that are unsurpassed. We also discussed the training and resources we have available to help members get their technicians up to speed on the Reciprocal Service program, as well as the test calls NationaLease uses for quality control of our Reciprocal Service network. We talked about their growth over the last year and their plans to continue it into the upcoming year.
Our last day in Boston began with a visit to Minuteman Trucks, Inc., a NationaLease Member, in Walpole. We sat down with Bill Carroll and learned about their plans for 2015. We talked about the new NationaLease Emergency Services & Fuel Directory app, which was just released on the Apple Store and is now available for both Apple and Android users. This app gives users current information about NationaLease service locations, and can give directions to the nearest location, as well as phone numbers, addresses, and hours for each of our locations. This new app will make it easy for both drivers and service managers to get efficient service on the road. We also talked about another service we offer to NationaLease members and their customers, NationaLease Road Rescue. This emergency breakdown service is available 24/7/365 and will help facilitate service calls to the nearest NationaLease member or third-party service provider. With Reciprocal Service being the cornerstone of the NationaLease system, we make every effort to find ways to continue to improve the ease and efficiency of Reciprocal Service to our members and their customers. Bill and I also discussed the upcoming NationaLease Spring Business Meeting in conjunction with TRALA, which will be held on March 16-18 in Amelia Island, FL.
Last but not least, I crossed the border into East Providence, Rhode Island to visit Rhode Island Truck Rental, a NationaLease Developing Member. I met with Ben Viti, Jr. and Ben Viti, Sr. and learned more about their business plans and the continued growth they see for 2015. We also reviewed many of the programs and resources NationaLease has available for our members. One of the items we discussed was the opportunities NationaLease offers to our members for learning and development. I informed them about the Introduction to Full Service Lease course that NationaLease offers every June. This course is for our new members as well as for any new employee of a NationaLease member, or any employee that may be changing roles and focusing more on leasing. In a day and a half, attendees have the chance to learn about sales techniques, rating leases, and working with operations to provide an excellent customer experience. This year, the course will be held on June 3-4 in Lisle, IL.
Another opportunity that we have for our next generation of leaders is the NationaLease Young Executives Club. This group was formed to provide a forum for training, development, and sharing of best practices among the young leaders within our member companies. The next meeting of the NYEC will be held in Fort Lauderdale on February 26-27.
After talking to each one of these members, I became even more excited about what 2015 has in store. I was already enthusiastic about the programs NationaLease is planning, such as the new customer Web access and our new app, but these programs are only exciting because they support our members in their goals. With the plans each of these members have in place for 2015, I have no doubt that NationaLease will continue to improve our already unrivaled road service, continue to find new ways to provide our customers with even better service, and continue to increase the number of customers that we serve.
So whether you’re a Seahawks fan, a Patriots fan, or simply don’t care, all the best for a record-breaking 2015. If our members in Boston (and Providence) are any indication, it’s going to be a tremendous year.