Board service — More than just a title

By Adam Keane, NTEA President
Executive Vice-President, Allied Body Works Inc. (Seattle, Washington)

This article was published in the January 2018 edition of NTEA News.

Work Truck Week is rapidly approaching. There are just a couple of months until we’re in Indianapolis, learning about new products, meeting customers, and living and breathing truck equipment in a holistic way — all outside of our normal day-to-day operations. Moving toward The Work Truck Show® 2018, I’ve shared my thoughts on Indianapolis being a great location and highlighted many benefits of NTEA’s educational programming.

At The Work Truck Show 2018, my formal NTEA Board service will come to a close. I’d like to take a moment to explain how this position has proved valuable to me and why it matters to the industry. While in this role, I’ve broadened my awareness of industry segments beyond those I regularly engage. As NTEA president, I’ve learned from many different sources that have helped me work with my fellow Board members to more clearly define our strategic path and increase the relevancy of Association offerings. Beyond expanding my industry intelligence and heightening my connectivity, these experiences have energized me and instilled me with confidence for the future.

When NTEA’s Board gets together in person, we have specific agendas geared toward shaping the Association’s direction. Interacting as a collective gives us the opportunity to exchange industry knowledge and hear different perspectives on shared challenges.

During my last few years on NTEA’s Executive Committee, I’ve had the chance to be part of a vehicle manufacturer forum. I’ve met with individual vehicle manufacturers at their businesses, identifying their views on the Association and where they think the industry is headed. These conversations left me feeling encouraged by how much they value NTEA’s work at the regulatory level and appreciate the value our events create for them. Time and time again, I heard The Work Truck Show, in particular, is their go-to event to get products in front of the supply chain segment that will turn their vehicles into vocation-specific tools that businesses rely on to get things done.

Last year, I was part of NTEA’s delegation that traveled to the IAA show in Hannover, Germany — the largest commercial vehicle exhibition in the world. Working with NTEA consultant Tim Campbell (an expert on international dynamics within the commercial vehicle community), we experienced what’s on the horizon for global vehicle manufacturers and equipment suppliers. In addition, we visited vehicle and equipment manufacturing plants, giving us insight into the slightly different European Union path to market and potential influences on North America.

NTEA Board representatives have been attending meetings in Ottawa, Canada, to listen to lawmakers; recognize similar and different regulations; and reaffirm the Association as the undisputed work truck industry resource. As the world becomes increasingly integrated, our efforts to encourage strong working relationships between the U.S. and Canada give the industry a more unified voice.

In addition, as I’ve observed other associations across different industries, I’ve been able to apply some high-performance concepts in NTEA meetings to increase productivity, ultimately making our already-efficient Board even more effective. Taking the time to evaluate the educational direction and regulatory efforts of different but related associations has helped us pinpoint gaps in NTEA’s approach and validate our action plan.

The many touchpoints NTEA’s Board has with various industry stakeholders strengthens the Association’s position as an advocate for North America and enables us to help individual companies navigate the challenges that inevitably arise. For me personally, this level of interaction has greatly affected my knowledge and love for the work truck industry.

As I look ahead to The Work Truck Show 2018, I’m eager to participate in the educational programming. Subject matter experts will bring important topics to the table that apply to everyone in the industry. For example, distributors (like myself) can find practical content on developing their workforce, government relations, staying competitive and growing their business. In reviewing the 2018 curriculum, I realized I am invigorated after each Work Truck Show as this event combines so many of the experiences that have shaped my professional career and allowed me to better serve you. In Indianapolis, I’m able to meet with OEMs and understand their perspective; hear from leading industry and business professionals to create better practices and get a feel for new concepts; gain awareness of international activity; and network. Reuniting for this once-a-year meeting allows the industry to catch up, share best practices and move forward in harmony. 

I’m eagerly anticipating our reunion in March and wish you all a wonderful start to 2018.