How one man’s story made us all take a long, hard look at our own lives.
Some events have a difficult time maintaining the momentum from one day to the next. That certainly wasn’t the case with the AmeriQuest Symposium. The second day’s keynote speakers definitely didn’t disappoint the attendees; in fact, one amazing speaker inspired us all.
One “Lone Survivor” tells his harrowing tale.
Marcus Luttrell might not be a name you’re familiar with unless you saw or read about the recent movie, “Lone Survivor” starring Mark Wahlberg. Marcus Luttrell is that lone survivor as well as the author of the book the movie is based upon. Those of us honored enough to hear his story sat transfixed as he related how a SEAL team mission in Afghanistan in 2005 went so terribly wrong. You all know the phrase, “so quiet you could hear a pin drop,” well, that’s how quiet it was in that large reception room when Marcus Luttrell spoke.
He told us of his youth; of wanting to be a Navy SEAL from the age of fourteen. He spoke of the training and the people he encountered along the way. And then he relayed the horrific story of that doomed mission; a mission in which he was the lone survivor. Gravely wounded, with a broken back, a tongue bitten in half, crippled legs and a shredded face, he still fought, along with his team until the three of them were killed. He told us how he was tortured by the Taliban yet was rescued by Afghani tribesman who put their own lives at risk to save him. And yet, through it all, his strength and resilience never faltered. It was an incredibly humbling experience for those of us in the audience…and it definitely put the daily obstacles we all face into perspective.
A lesson in geopolitics and geo-economics.
Earlier that morning, attendees were privileged to hear Ram Charan, renowned business advisor, speak on the future of business in a global and connected economy. A point he increasingly made was that the old days of business models are gone. Speed and agility are necessary for success; and he emphasized that point by focusing on digital companies like Amazon that have, themselves, shaped the way other industries operate. One fascinating fact: Walmart changes its prices every ten minutes, just to keep up with Amazon’s pricing.
Mr. Charan gave the audience the five things a company must master to truly be digital: digitization; mobile technology; analytics/algorithms; sensors which allow for machine to machine learning; and the use of the cloud. He gave examples of actions companies should take to ensure success. And he spoke about the economic power structures in the world are changing. At the completion of his keynote presentation, I felt as though I had just taken a Master’s class in economics.
What’s driving the trucking business?
After Ram Charan, Brian Cota, Vice President of Sales for Daimler Trucks North America talked about the future of truck technology which is moving at incredible speed. Mr. Cota spoke about the technology that’s already in place including electronic logging devices and engine telematics, and then described where the industry will be headed in the future.
Industry panel touches on major transportation issues.
Terry Young, President of Advantage Truck Center, led an industry panel made up of executives with varied perspectives on the transportation industry. Mike Breeden, Executive Director National Accounts, Cummins, Inc.; Chuck Greenberg, Market Executive, Commercial Banking, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch; Brian Hogan, President and CEO, Hogan Truck Leasing, Inc.; a NationaLease Member; and, Alexsander Stewart, Managing Director, Stifel Investment Banking discussed a variety of topics including forecasts and trends in the transportation industry. In addition, they covered issues creating an impact on the industry, such as the used truck market, fuel economy, FASB, and CSA, as well as issues facing all businesses today, such as healthcare and technology changes.
When I stopped to consider all of the speakers we heard, I was surprised to realize that they had some things in common. They spoke of the need for speed and agility; about the pace of changing technology and how successful companies will keep up with that change; about the value of planning. And Marcus Luttrell made us all understand how truly precious life is.
Thank you, AmeriQuest, for two absolutely unforgettable days.