This article was published in the December 2015 edition of NTEA News.
The Association will hold its annual Board of Trustees election in January 2016. This year, positions must be filled for three Distributor Trustees (see candidate profiles below). The election process will be held electronically, with a link to the online ballot emailed to Distributor and Manufacturer members in mid-January.
NTEA is governed by its Association Bylaws under the leadership of its member-elected Board of Trustees. The Board is represented by eight Distributors, four Manufacturers and one Associate. Each Trustee completes a three-year term, and a Board-appointed executive director oversees the day-to-day administration of NTEA activities. For a list of current Trustees, visit ntea.com/nteaboard
With nearly 25 years in the work truck industry, Rob Kloessner has conducted business with a diverse range of vendors and customers. As co-owner and CFO at Commercial Van Interiors Inc., he has been influential in the start-up and management of many of the company’s 16 branches, presently overseeing operations in California and the Southwest region. His business upfits light-duty vans and trucks, functions as an approved ship-thru for the Ford Transit Connect and maintains more than 20 pools nationally.
Rob earned a bachelor’s in accounting from the University of Missouri–St. Louis. He has participated as an educator in the Junior Achievement program, teaching students about general business practices. His company is active in OEM truck clubs and various trade associations, such as the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association, locksmith associations and Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. Additionally, Commercial Van Interiors supports many charitable organizations, both individually and through its dealer and customer base.
Rob is interested in becoming a Trustee to work with other Board members on providing insight and experience as well as generate ideas for the Association. His vision for NTEA involves continued focus on educating and supporting best industry practices through groups such as Generation Next which represent the building blocks of the future.
Industry issues most significant to Rob include:
- Implementing an eco-friendly approach with green vehicles, paperless transactions and waste reduction.
- Increasing industry education with a focus on new technologies and methodologies, best practices and ethics.
- Developing employment opportunities able to withstand moderate economic fluctuations.
Paul Kokalis has 30 years of experience at Fontaine Modification, serving in a variety of leadership capacities. After accepting a sales position in 1986, he became sales manager at the Freightliner Modification Center two years later and was promoted to general manager of the Volvo Modification Center in 1993. Paul later became vice president of operations and then vice president of alternative fuels. In 2013, he was appointed company president.
Paul attended Western Kentucky University. Currently, he is part of a business advisory committee for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s William States Lee College of Engineering — a group focused on developing future engineers. In addition, he is a guest speaker at East Carolina University’s College of Business Leadership and Professional Development Program, as well as a technical and business advisor for senior design project teams at Virginia Tech College of Engineering.
Key reasons for Paul’s interest in joining the Board of Trustees include guiding development of new products and services, and collaborating with others in the industry on innovative ways to guide the future. Going forward, he sees NTEA helping members and their customers adapt to the realities of this decade.
Industry issues of primary concern to Paul include:
- Attracting young technical, engineering and sales talent to the industry.
- Improving public perception of the safety of various alternative fuel systems.
- Advocating for consistent installer compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulations and guidelines.
Having spent his entire career in the work truck industry, Shane McDermott has a wealth of experience. In 1996, he served as Northwest regional manager at Omaha Standard, becoming national fleet sales manager three years later and then senior fleet/regional manager in 2003. In 2011, he joined Southwest Products as national sales manager of the vehicle division and became vice president shortly thereafter.
He earned a bachelor’s in business administration with a marketing emphasis in 1993 at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He received a master’s in business administration with a finance concentration in 2002 from Bellevue University. Shane was a member of NTEA’s Young Executives Network, now known as Generation Next.
He seeks involvement in the Board of Trustees to support the industry that has given so much to him throughout his professional life. His vision for NTEA involves increasing awareness and visibility of the work truck industry, emphasizing its importance to the economies of the countries it serves.
The most important industry issues to Shane are:
- Focusing data collection on specific product segments as certain categories have limited visibility or measurements to give an accurate indication of market size.
- Encouraging the younger generation to join the industry.
Jon Sievert began his work truck industry career at Douglas Dynamics in 2009. Serving as business unit manager, he led development of processes and systems which allow companies to detect waste, identify root causes and institute corrective action. In 2012, he became director of operational excellence, charged with continuous improvement of existing manufacturing facilities. Recently, he joined Henderson Products Inc. as senior vice president of operations, guiding the operations team at six truck equipment installation facilities, a manufacturing
site and the custom engineering group.
Jon attended Moraine Park Technical College to become a state of Wisconsin journeyman tool and die maker. He earned a bachelor’s in business administration at Cardinal Stritch University and a master’s in business administration with a finance concentration at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Jon is also a certified Six Sigma Black Belt through Arizona State University and Six Sigma Management Institute.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the North Central region of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, and was previously on the Board of Directors for the Washington County Economic Development Council.
Jon is interested in joining the Board to offer his 20 years of experience in guiding organizations on lean and continuous improvement journeys. He feels one of the greatest opportunities for NTEA to serve members is with education and communication to future generations of potential
Industry issues of most importance to Jon include:
- Developing the next generation of skilled workers.
- Increasing industry knowledge of continuous improvement philosophies.
- Creating stronger communication methods throughout the industry.