National Connections, Local Ownership
National Connections, Local Ownership

2018 NationaLease Maintenance Managers Meeting Races to the Finish Line


And so we begin! Jane Clark, Vice President of Member Services, was pleased to start the 2018 NationaLease Maintenance Managers Meeting by introducing this year’s meeting chair, Jim Ryan, Vice President of Operations for Kris-Way Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member.

Jim welcomed the over 175 representatives from over 126 member companies along with a large number of supplier representatives and introduced our first speaker, Dean Vicha, President of NationaLease. Dean gave an update on NationaLease, then shared a brief bio on each of the nine technicians competing in the Tech Challenge before introducing this year’s keynote speaker,  Andy Papathanassiou, Director of Human Performance with Hendrick Motorsports.  Andy’s experience as a pit crew coach gives him a unique insight into one of the most dynamic and demanding teamwork environments imaginable. His “Over The Wall Thinking” focuses on the athletic mindset and gives each of us the ability to lead a more engaged, successful, and happier life.

The meeting continued with the ever-popular Idea Session, where members presented an idea or best practice utilized within their business that offers savings in money, time, productivity, improved morale, and/or increased customer satisfaction.  Members voted on the best idea and awarded the cash prize to the top three with the most votes. This year’s winners were:

Third Place:

  • Chris DiSantis from Aim NationaLease

Second Place:

  • Lonnie Daugherty from Truckway NationaLease

First Place:

  • Murray Dickinson from VEL NationaLease

To close out the morning session, attendees heard from Ashley Bodie, Employment Specialist, and Arlyn Davis, Director of Employment Services, for Universal Technical Institute’s (UTI) NASCAR Technical Institute.  They tackled a topic near to all of us these days: how can we attract and prepare the best entry level technicians? They brought along three current students who answered questions from the audience and shared the motivation, expectations, and challenges of today’s students as they prepare to become professional technicians. They also helped members understand what sets UTI graduates apart and how you can partner with UTI to help attract, prepare, and recruit your technician workforce of tomorrow.

After lunch, the meeting continued with our Gasoline Alley: Product & Technology Fair.  Our Premier Partners, Select Partners, and exhibitors shared information about their products and services, as well as lots of drawings for great prizes.

Attendees capped off the evening with a special surprise dinner and entertainment, as they boarded buses to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which not only hosted dinner, but allowed attendees to experience all the interactive displays, hands-on competitions, and exhibits that they offer.  We had some stiff competition in the Pit Crew Challenge and the winning team of Paul LiRosi, Austin Allwein, and Pete Herceg set an all-time record.  It was a great evening to end a great day!


Back by popular demand, the morning started with Regional Breakouts.  Designed for members to get to know the other maintenance managers in their region and discuss the issues specific to their area, the breakouts gave members the chance to discuss how to continue improving NationaLease’s best-in-class Reciprocal Service network, as well as the issues that are top of mind right now.  Thank you to the following regional leaders who helped facilitate the discussion:

  • Nicole Coderre, Location NRJ NationaLease
  • Jim Ryan, Kris-Way Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member
  • Bob Dempsey, Fox & James NationaLease
  • Craig Porter, McCoy NationaLease
  • Kenny Watts, Carco NationaLease
  • Troy Simmons, TEC Leasing, a NationaLease Member
  • Ray Keller, Salem NationaLease

Rob Garcia, Vice President of New Business Development for NationaLease, followed with the Supply Management Update, sharing information about NationaLease’s purchasing programs, as well as trends to look for in the upcoming months and years.

As discussions continued with opportunities for members to save money and improve efficiencies, attendees heard from the Member Product Panel.  Scott Marzec, Member Programs Manager for NationaLease, moderated the panel which included James Hernandez, TCI Leasing/Rentals, a NationaLease Member; Carol Howard, Harrison Rental & Leasing, a NationaLease Member; and Brian Roberts, Kris-Way Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member, who each discussed a supplier program that has made an impact in their business. Jane wrapped up the morning session by introducing a new tool created to help with one of the top challenges NationaLease members face—hiring technicians.  She shared their Hiring Toolbox, a collection of templates to use throughout the hiring process, from job description to onboarding plan.  This is available for all members on the NationaLease website.

After lunch, attendees took a look at What’s Happening in the Driver’s Seat with Henry Albert, Owner of Albert Transportation. Henry shared his many years of experience as a driver and how to best communicate with the drivers to ensure they are operating the equipment in the safest possible manner. Donald Broughton, Managing Partner-Principal with Broughton Capital, then gave his perspective on where the transport marketplace is headed and how to best position ourselves to take advantage of these trends.  The day closed with a Tire Tune-up.  Kevin Beckett, Vice President of MD Alignment, discussed the factors affecting tire life and how to diagnose the root causes of tire failures.

Evening festivities kicked off with a cocktail reception before moving into the awards dinner. The ceremony started by recognizing our sponsors, especially our Premier Partners, and shared a little memento of gratitude with each of the Premier Partners.  The next award presentation was for the Exceptional Service Award, the highest award that can be given to a member for reciprocal service, chosen strictly by his or her peers.  The recipients of the 2018 Exceptional Service Award are:


  • General Truck Leasing, LLC, a NationaLease Member
  • Advantage Truck Leasing, a NationaLease Member
  • Carmichael NationaLease
  • Salem NationaLease


  • Four Star Leasing, LLC, a NationaLease Member
  • Koch NationaLease
  • Williams NationaLease
  • Hogan Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member
  • Airoldi Brothers NationaLease


  • Advantage Truck Leasing, LLC, a NationaLease Member
  • Kirk NationaLease
  • Hub Truck NationaLease

The awards ended with recognition from the 8th annual NationaLease Tech Challenge.

2nd Runner Up:

  • John Norwood, Aim NationaLease

1st Runner Up:

  • Bob Mrzyglod, Aim NationaLease

And this year’s TOP Tech:

  • Rick Davis, Hogan Truck Leasing, Inc., a NationaLease Member

Congratulations to our Top Techs!  We look forward to seeing what all of you can do at the TMC’s SuperTech competition!  We would also like to thank the following suppliers who contributed their time and effort to the challenge:

  • Brian Herrington, Atro Bushings
  • John Campbell, Cummins Inc.
  • Jay Riley, Eaton Corp.
  • Troy Tipton, Michelin North America Inc.
  • Jimmy Fielding, Purkey’s
  • Brian Thompson, Remy Borg Warner
  • Mike Hartman, SKF
  • Russ Kolany, SKF
  • John Heffeman, SKF
  • John Prior, Truck Centers
  • Kathryn Paul, Wabco

And last but certainly not least, NationaLease gives thanks to Ken Adkins, Frank Rich, and the folks at Advantage Truck Leasing, a NationaLease Member, here in Charlotte, NC, for hosting this year’s challenge. They graciously opened their doors and provided the perfect setting for holding the hands-on challenge.  Thank you to Advantage Truck Leasing, a NationaLease Member, and Salem NationaLease for use of their trucks.

NationaLease would also like to thank Chris Disantis and Leroy Casali from Aim NationaLease; Rich Bingham from Hogan Truck Leasing, a NationaLease Member; Bill McAnally from Miller NationaLease; and Dennis Cates and Kenny Watts from Carco NationaLease for their support in setting up the this year’s competition.


Jane started the last day of the meeting by introducing Harvey Smith, CEO with the Institute Success. Harvey helped us think about how we can develop the next generation of leaders in our companies to fill the leadership and management gaps that will be left as many of our current leaders begin to reach retirement age.  Attendees continued on the topic of leadership, as we had the opportunity to hear from fellow member, Tom Boyer, Vice President of Maintenance for Hogan Truck Leasing, a NationaLease Member.  Tom candidly shared his personal story of his career and how he got to where he is today along with some of the obstacles and challenges he faced along the way.  Last, but certainly not least, Joe Puff, Vice President of Truck Technology and Maintenance for NationaLease, helped  clarify the various OEM warranty programs, what is available from each, and what is covered.

We are at the finish line and wow, what an informative few days!  Thanks again to our Premier Partners and all of our sponsors for supporting this year’s NationaLease Maintenance Managers Meeting, and thanks to all of our members who attended the meeting.  You have all made this meeting a success!  We hope that you will all be joining us for next year’s Maintenance Managers Meeting on May 8-10, 2019, as we celebrate our 75th Anniversary at the Palmer House in Chicago, IL!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *