This year’s Work Truck Show isn’t afraid to get a little dirty
Chicago is a city that isn’t afraid to roll up its sleeves and get a bit dirty, and neither is Mike Rowe, host of Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs.” That makes Chicago an ideal site for the Work Truck Show 2009 and 45th Annual National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) Convention, and Rowe an ideal keynote speaker for the show that’s all about tough trucks that are built to handle dirty jobs.
The event, which takes place March 3-6 at the McCormick Place West Building, will provide an opportunity for government and commercial fleet managers, truck dealers, equipment distributors, government buyers and others in the industry to explore new products and technology, get up to speed on trends and best practices and make new connections with peers, suppliers and customers.
Beginning at 11 a.m. on March 4, Class 1-8 vocational trucks, related equipment and products from more than 440 vendors will be on display across 500,000 square feet of exhibit space; many booths will be staffed with engineers and other technical personnel who can answer questions and provide advice. An abridged list of the exhibitors – with products ranging from truck chassis to snow-removal equipment to cranes and aerial devices – includes AlturnaMATS, Ford Commercial Truck, General Motors Fleets and Commercial Operations, Henke Manufacturing, Liftmoore, Miller Electric Manufacturing, Mohawk Resources, Onspot of North America, Rotary Lift, RUD Chain and Vehicle Mounted Air Compressors (VMAC).
When not viewing the latest in truck bodies, components and other wares, attendees can get the lowdown on topics at the forefront of the collective work-truck consciousness – more than 40 informational sessions will take place throughout the course of show. Following is a brief sampling:
- “Upfitting Equipment on 2010 Emission-Compliant Chassis” (a special session on March 3) and the “Are You Ready for 2010 Emission-Compliant Chassis?” (a luncheon on March 5) both address working with chassis that meet 2010 emission regulations, a major challenge affecting original equipment manufacturers and fleets.
- “Advanced Equipment Fleet and Shop Management” (March 3), a fleet-management symposium hosted by consultant Kelly Walker, will focus on benchmarking and best-practice strategies to increase fleet and shop productivity and reduce fleet costs by 25 percent in one year.
- At the all-day Green Truck Summit (March 3), a number of manufacturers will discuss hybrid and alternative-fuel technology as well as current and future applications for work trucks and commercial vehicles. The roster of presenters includes CleanFUEL USA, which will detail the advantages of propane-powered fleets; the Chelsea Products Division of Parker, which will provide a look at its hydraulic and electro-hydraulic storage-management systems; and several hybrid-vehicle makers, including Freightliner, International and Kenworth.
For a more hands-on experience, showgoers can take more than a dozen new hybrid vehicles for a spin during the free Green Truck Ride-and-Drive, which will be underway throughout trade show hours on March 5-6. The route includes Chicago streets for a taste of how the trucks handle in day-to-day operation. Models up for testing include the Unicell Quicksider, Chevy Silverado and Freightliner MT-55.
To balance the Work Truck Show’s heavy focus on large trucks and commercial vehicles, the last two days of the event will feature some lighter moments:
- As host of Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs,” Rowe’s experiences with ripping down houses, cleaning septic tanks and collecting garbage have familiarized him with the virtues of getting his hands dirty while serving as an apprentice to the people who do the jobs that no one else wants. Rowe, who is known for his quick wit and self-deprecating humor, will deliver the keynote address as part of the President’s Breakfast and NTEA Annual Meeting (March 5).
- San Francisco-based consultant Stan Slap was a hit at least year’s Work Truck Show, and he is back this year to disclose the “Seven Deadly Sins of Strategic Implementation” during the Business Forum (March 6).
NTEA is kicking off this year’s event with an opening reception March 3 at Soldier Field – home of the Chicago Bears – for networking and sharing ideas with other Work Truck Show attendees and guests.