By Adam Keane, NTEA President
Executive Vice-President, Allied Body Works Inc. (Seattle, Washington)
This article was published in the September 2017 edition of NTEA News.
In the June issue of NTEA News, I mentioned how much it rains in Seattle and my longing to leave the damp weather and get out of town in October to attend the Executive Leadership Summit. That particular article focused on the importance of data within our industry, and naturally, I mentioned the Summit, as market analytics is one of the main topics. As the 2017 event approaches, I’d like to highlight some of the other reasons why I enjoy attending each year.
To fully understand NTEA’s vision for this event, I think it’s important to consider the trend that’s been occurring at The Work Truck Show® and Truck Product Conference.
The Truck Product Conference has always been more of an engineering-centric meeting. While we receive positive feedback on the technical focus, there’s less emphasis on networking with fellow executives.
The Work Truck Show continues to grow in attendance and activity. It has really become “Work Truck Week.” The evolution of this event provides opportunities for exhibitors and attendees to learn, experience, meet and network far beyond previous levels. However, the increased scheduling demands can make it difficult to be fully present during networking events or attend educational sessions of interest.
Several years ago, NTEA’s Board of Trustees recognized these trends and created the Executive Leadership Summit as a solution, giving industry stakeholders a unique opportunity to network and profit from an educational program geared toward business owners and managers. Since its inception in 2014, feedback has been exceptional, with positive reviews on the educational content. In fact, when 2016 Summit attendees were asked to evaluate whether or not the conference met their expectations, respondents unanimously agreed. The Summit definitely appeals to the intended audience as more than 60 percent of 2016 attendees were at a vice president-level or higher.
After the 2016 event, Barry White (general manager at General Truck Body – Metroplex) shared his perspective, saying, “I found my time at the Executive Leadership Summit well spent. Aside from the value of networking with industry peers and vendors, I learned a great deal from the speakers.” His comment truly encompasses why NTEA designed the Summit. The smaller format provides an incredible opportunity to network with industry leaders. The educational program is concise and extremely informative.
This year, content covers everything from workforce development, strategic management, financial planning, and a market outlook to global and political dynamics. As I’ve already mentioned, I find great value in the data-centric sessions and always look forward to hearing the latest trends and projections relevant to the industry. While these subjects are permanent fixtures at the Summit, they are recreated each year to address the current and anticipated direction of the work truck industry and overall economy. Going each year gives you a chance to recap the last year, assess how dynamics have changed and get a feel for things to come.
Workforce development is an important theme across the industry, so we’ve added several sessions to this year’s program that approach the topic from different angles. One of the new courses that’s piqued my interest is entitled Culturetopia — The Ultimate High-Performance Workplace. As a business leader, performance is something I’m passionate about. I find sessions centered on culture to be energizing, so I hope to get some fresh ideas on how to improve my company.
This year, I’m probably most excited about Responding to Change in a Dynamic Industry. In recent weeks, NTEA’s Board has had a lot of discussion regarding industry change and what things are going to look like in the near and distant future. I’m eager to hear the ideas this session will generate. My guess is there will be many constructive conversations among attendees at the networking events, and I’m glad to be part of it.
The 2017 Summit will be held Oct. 24–25 in a new location — Chicago O’Hare Marriott in Chicago, Illinois. You can find the complete event schedule, session details and registration/hotel information at ntea.com/executivesummit. I especially encourage you to meet the speakers at ntea.com/executivesummitspeakers; you can review their impressive credentials and get a feel for the knowledge they’re bringing to the table.
I look forward to seeing you there in just a few months. In the meantime, if you have any feedback you’d like to share about your experience in years past or questions regarding the upcoming event, I’d love to hear from you — contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.