The 2015 Maintenance Managers Meeting started on Tuesday, May 12 with the hands-on competition of the 5th Annual NationaLease Tech Challenge. Nine technicians qualified for this competition on the merit of their scores from a written exam held in March. The group of techs, along with judges and spectators, converged on Bentley Truck Services, Inc., a NationaLease Member, Miami facility for the nine station competition. The nine technicians who competed were:
Region 1: Trevor Shaw, VEL NationaLease
Region 2: Robert Mrzyglod, Aim NationaLease
Region 3: Nick Ottlinghaus, Miller NationaLease
Region 4: Brian Peters, Salem NationaLease
Region 5: Kory Stoudt, Aim NationaLease
Region 6: Neal Bixby, Hogan Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member
Region 7: Wade Murphy-Price, Airoldi Brothers NationaLease
Region 8: Jeff Weaks, ATC Truck Rental and Leasing, a NationaLease Member
Region 9: Joseph Pearo, Miramar NationaLease
Tuesday’s evening activities included a dinner for the techs and judges, as well as a First-Timer’s Reception for the over 50 first-time attendees to this year’s meeting. First timers had the opportunity to meet NationaLease staff, Premier Partners, Leadership Group members, as well as each other prior to Wednesday’s kickoff.
Jane Clark started the meeting on Wednesday by welcoming everyone to Fort Lauderdale, and then introduced Jim Ryan, Vice President of Operations for Kris-Way Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member, and this year’s Maintenance Managers Meeting Committee Chair. Jim welcomed the group and recognized the folks in the room with the most years of experience in the industry. He then introduced Dean Vicha, President of NationaLease, who updated the group on the exciting year NationaLease had in 2014, and some of the plans for the months ahead. Dean then introduced the keynote speaker, Jerry Markbreit, former NFL referee.
Jerry got the group’s attention with stories and anecdotes from his years refereeing in the NFL and college ranks, and also shared a powerful message about the importance of giving your all in any worthwhile endeavor. After Jerry’s presentation, Jane moderated a panel on Technician Training, and heard best practices from a few of our members: Kevin Fleming, Vice President & COO, Fleming NationaLease; Howard Ketel, Vice President of Operations, Lawrence NationaLease; Craig Porter, Operations Manager, McCoy NationaLease; and Troy Simmons, Branch Manager, TEC Leasing, a NationaLease Member. The panel heard some great questions and feedback from other members. That was followed by one of the favorite segments of the Maintenance Manager’s Meeting, the Idea Session, moderated by Ronny Brown, Maintenance Director with Catawba Rental Company, Inc., a NationaLease Member. Several members shared ideas that they have utilized in their company to create savings in money, time, productivity, improved morale, and/or increased customer satisfaction. In fact, we had more ideas shared than we have in quite a number of years. Members voted on the best ideas to receive the cash prizes. Jane then wrapped up the morning session with an update on some of the things happening at NationaLease Home Office, including the new Emergency Services and Fuel Directory app, updates on technician recruiting, and the Leadership Groups.
After lunch, the group moved to the Product and Technology Luau. This year’s trade show had over 40 vendors on hand to show the latest enhancements and technologies available, and of course, give out lots of prizes! We also announced the winners of the Idea Session. Third place went to Mitchell Blaine of Hub Truck NationaLease, second place to A.J. Stachowiak of Airoldi Brothers NationaLease, and the winner was Ronny Brown, of Catawba Rental Company, Inc., a NationaLease Member. The luau theme extended to the evening’s entertainment, as attendees were encouraged to wear their best Hawaiian shirt. Taking full advantage of the location, we made our way outside for beach volleyball, horseshoes, and coconut bowling, as well as a luau-themed meal and entertainment.
The second day of the Maintenance Managers Meeting was packed with great information. It started off with the ever-popular Shop Talk. Jim Ryan moderated the discussion as members spoke freely about issues, concerns, and best practices that they shared with one another. An update from the Supply Management group followed, as Rob Garcia, Vice President of Supply Management; Jess Boss, Director of Products & Services; and Scott Marzec, Manager of Member Programs, shared information on the supply management and capital equipment programs, and also introduced the new and enhanced Buyer’s Guide, which will be released in the next few weeks. The technical representatives from Freightliner and Volvo followed as John Martin and Ray LeStrange shared details on new technology as well as solutions for known issues with their equipment.
The afternoon sessions began with a very interactive discussion on Reciprocal Service and ways that we can continue to improve the network for all members. Fred Bentley, President of Bentley Truck Services, Inc., a NationaLease Member, and Ryan Fisher, Bentley’s Warranty Manager, shared some best practices on how they manage warranty long before a truck ever hits the shop floor. The afternoon concluded with breakout sessions from eight of our suppliers: Cummins, Eaton, Imperial, Shell, Enrich, Michelin, Bridgestone, and NationaLease Road Rescue. Attendees chose four of these suppliers to learn about the latest in technology and service that they are offering.
The evening continued as the winners of the much-anticipated awards were announced. Please read here for the winners of the 2015 Exceptional Service Awards.
Then finally, the Top Techs were announced. The top 3 finalists, who will be representing NationaLease at the TMC SuperTech competition in the fall, can be found here.
A big thank you to all the judges, as well as Rich Bingham from Hogan Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member; Ken Anderson from DeCarolis Truck Rental, Inc., a NationaLease Member; Chris Disantis from Aim NationaLease; Kenny Watts from Carco NationaLease; and Murray Dickinson from VEL NationaLease for their support in setting up the this year’s competition. An extra special thank you to the folks at Bentley Truck Services, Inc., a NationaLease Member, for hosting this year’s Tech Challenge.
On our final day of the meeting, the learning didn’t stop. The morning began with an update from Joe Puff, Vice President of Truck Technology & Maintenance for NationaLease, on the Repair Advocacy Program that he began based on some feedback from last year’s Maintenance Managers Meeting. He shared the new process, as well as some early successes, and a number of tips and items to watch out for that the group had identified. We continued as Jane gave a step-by-step refresher on how to apply for Component Rebates, as well as a few best practices for maximizing your rebate dollars. Last, but certainly not least, Tom Boyer, VP of Maintenance with Hogan Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member, gave a presentation on a very timely topic, Electronic Logging Devices. Tom shared what Hogan has learned utilizing ELDs in three different applications: lease, rental, and owned units.
Thank you to everyone who participated in and attended this year’s meeting. Special thanks to the meeting committee: Chuck Miller from Parrish Leasing, a NationaLease Member; Kenny Watts from Carco NationaLease; Murray Dickinson from VEL NationaLease; and especially, Jim Ryan of Kris-Way Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member, for putting in his time and effort as the Chairman of this year’s meeting.
Please mark your calendars for next year’s Maintenance Managers Meeting, which will be held on May 24-26 at the Renaissance in Schaumburg, IL. We look forward to seeing all of you there!