Empowering your team through education

By: Matt Wilson, NTEA President
Chairman & CEO, Switch-N-Go, AmeriDeck & Bucks Divisions of Deist Industries Inc. (Hadley, Pennsylvania)

This article was published in the November 2016 edition of NTEA News.

So, Work Truck Show 2017 registration has been open for about a month now. Aside from registering, do you have your rooms reserved? Once the hotel is booked, one of my favorite things to do is to dig into the educational offerings at the Show.

I worry about staying sharp and believe continuing to listen, read and learn helps me keep on top of new ideas, practices and issues. The Work Truck Show is a learning experience I really enjoy because so much is available in one place. This year is no different — there are many courses that interest me. In particular, I plan on attending the international perspective session presented by Tim Campbell (Understanding the Global Commercial Vehicle Market and its Impact on Your Company), and Straightforward Approach to Lean Implementation for Truck Equipment Upfitters to learn some of the latest techniques for incorporating lean and hear success stories.

If you have spoken with me about any work-related topic, you likely would have picked up that I like empowering others to succeed. I’m a firm believer in hiring people smarter and better than myself. I also believe in providing regular educational opportunities for our team so they can enhance their already-proven strengths. This is why, even as a small business, we aim to bring a team of individuals to the Show each year to not only work our booth and see the latest in vocational truck chassis and equipment offerings, but to attend classes and learn from their peers.

Whether you have one or 20 people reporting to you, I feel it’s important to identify the best skills in those people and look for ways to build on them. As you review educational programming for the 2017 Show, cross-reference the offerings to your team’s skills. I’m guessing there will be more than a few matches.

Long-time industry veteran and current NTEA Managing Director Doyle Sumrall has been known to say, “We are an industry that knows the right fundamentals to follow regarding investing in our people, but we tend to lose focus on those fundamentals when we are too busy or too slow.” I’m sure you can easily slot your business into the too busy or too slow category. I encourage you to look beyond the current month, quarter or even year to see how investing in your best assets (the people you work with) can help your operation improve over the long term.

I have talked with many fellow industry professionals who say they are too busy or their business cannot function if they or one of their employees steps away for a few days in March to attend The Work Truck Show. That is why I’m writing this now. I hope you can plan ahead and backfill those roles to keep things moving without you or key team members. I truly believe you, your co-workers and your business will benefit from making The Work Truck Show a focal point of your learning opportunities in 2017.

Find more details, including a full schedule of sessions and events, at worktruckshow.com or call NTEA at 800-441-6832.