Exceptional Service, Great Techs, and Good Times at the 2016 Maintenance Managers Meeting.
This year’s Maintenance Managers Meeting, titled “Sweet Home Chicago,” kicked off on Tuesday, May 24th. I had the pleasure of welcoming everyone to the meeting, then introduced Bill Litosky, Maintenance Manager for Bergey’s Leasing Associates, a NationaLease Member and this year’s Maintenance Managers Meeting Committee Chair. Bill 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 2015, and some of the plans for the months ahead. Dean then introduced the keynote speaker, Michael Hahn.
Michael got the meeting started with excellent lessons of change management and resilience-building embedded into stories of sustainable peak performance, from Chicago-based Michael Jordan to an Ottawa, IL-based World Record Skydive attempt. After Michael’s presentation, Joe Puff moderated a panel on Driving Shop Productivity, during which he shared best practices from a few of our members—Jim Ryan, Vice President of Operations, Kris-Way Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member, Brian Roberts, Director of Maintenance, Kris-Way Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member, and Bill McAnally, Vice President of Maintenance, Miller NationaLease, along with great questions and feedback from other members. That was followed by one of the favorite segments of the Maintenance Managers Meeting, the Idea Session, led by Ronny Brown, Maintenance Director with Catawba Rental Company, Inc., a NationaLease Member. Several members shared ideas that they have implemented in their company to create savings in money, time, productivity, as well as improved morale, and/or increased customer satisfaction. Members voted on the best ideas to receive the cash prizes. We wrapped up the morning session with 7 Steps to Cut Technician Turnover. Dick Finnegan, CEO with C-Suite Analytics, shared his insights on how to keep your best and brightest once you’ve hired them.
After lunch, the group moved to the Product and Technology Fair. This year’s trade show had over 50 vendors, one of our largest to date, who were 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 Rich Bingham of Hogan Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member; second place to Dan Starn of GATR NationaLease, and the winner was Chris DiSantis of Aim NationaLease. The evening concluded with dinner and a Casino Night, complete with an appearance by our very own Jake and Elwood Blues, the Blues Brothers.
Our second day of the Maintenance Managers Meeting was absolutely packed with great information. It started off with the ever-popular Shop Talk. Bill Litosky 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, shared information on the supply management and capital equipment programs. Kelly Kordowski followed with an update on Reciprocal Service and the new Quality Assurance program, and introduced a new campaign, the Reciprocal Service Tune-Up, with a goal of 99.5% “good” calls. The morning session concluded with a presentation on Right to Repair. Aaron Lowe, Senior Vice President, Regulatory and Government Affairs for the Auto Care Association shared what these new regulations mean for us, and how we can benefit from the regulatory changes.
The afternoon sessions began with breakout sessions from Freightliner, Volvo, Isuzu, and Hino. Each of the OEs shared information on their new technology, diagnostics, and training, as well as the known issues and their solutions. Eric Jones, Department Chairman of Aviation and Transportation Studies for Lewis University, shared the airline industry’s best maintenance practices and experiences from his years in airline maintenance, and now as a Professor of Aviation and Transportation. Michael O’Hearn, Regional Sales Support Manager for Freightliner Trucks, closed out the day’s session with a discussion on the Freightliner Inspiration and the SuperTruck, and how they can reduce highway congestion and improve the environment with their exciting breakthroughs in safety and connectivity.
The evening continued as the winners of the much-anticipated awards were announced. The Exceptional Service Award is the award given to a member for Reciprocal Service, chosen strictly by his or her peers. Each Maintenance Manager receives a ballot each month and is encouraged to vote for the members who have provided them excellent consistent service.
The winners of the Exceptional Service Awards were:
- Minuteman Trucks, Inc., a NationaLease Member
- Hermann NationaLease
- Parrish Leasing Inc., a NationaLease Member
- Brown NationaLease
- Coffman NationaLease
- Koch NationaLease
- Airoldi Brothers NationaLease
- York NationaLease
- Conway Beam NationaLease
- Kirk NationaLease
- Hogan Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member
For the first time in several years, we also presented the highest award for Reciprocal Service, the Extra Mile Award, to Dave Solfest of Koch NationaLease.
And finally, the Top Techs were announced. The top 3 finalists will represent NationaLease at the TMC SuperTech competition in the fall. They were:
- 2nd runner-up: Wade Murphy-Price, Airoldi Brothers NationaLease
- 1st runner-up: Aaron Tucker, Hogan Truck Leasing Inc., a NationaLease Member
- Top Tech: Kory Stoudt, Aim NationaLease
A big thank-you to all the judges, as well as Rich Bingham from Hogan Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member, Chris Disantis from Aim NationaLease, and Dennis Cates and Kenny Watts from Carco NationaLease for their support in setting up this year’s competition.
On our final day of the meeting, the learning didn’t stop. Our morning began with my update on some of the new programs from Member Services, including a number of tools to help in hiring technicians. We continued as Byron Lay gave a refresher on NationaLease Road Rescue, as well as a few new capabilities of the program. To close out this year’s meeting, I moderated a panel of diesel tech students from Universal Technical Institute, who shared their insights into what techs are looking for in an employer, and how we can position ourselves to recruit and retain the best new technicians.
A big thanks to the meeting committee—Ken Stech from Parrish Leasing, a NationaLease Member, Jeff Fazan from Tom Nehl Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member, Corey Wilker of Warner Leasing Company, Ltd., a NationaLease Member, Bill McAnally of Miller NationaLease, Jim Ryan of Kris-Way Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member, and especially Bill Litosky of Bergey’s Leasing Associates, a NationaLease Member for putting in his time & 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 11-13 in San Diego. I look forward to seeing all of you there!