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October 24, 2017 5:00 PM, EDT

MCE Exhibitors Relish Time With Top Fleet Executives

Truck in exhibit hall at 2017 MCE John Sommers II for Transport Topics

ORLANDO, Fla. — Gleaming Class 8 trucks from all the truck makers stood out, surrounded by Tier One suppliers, such as Dana Inc., Meritor Inc. and Hendrickson USA, who were shoulder-to-shoulder with companies offering fuel services, electronics, corrosion control, sustainability and environmental technologies as well as tire and wheel products, among others — packing the aisles at American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference & Exposition here Oct. 21-25.

In all, there were 163 exhibitors, including 27 who attended for the first time. Their participation generated record revenue for ATA.

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“We are very impressed with the quality of the people we have seen. This is a milestone for the industry. It is basically a who’s who. Your big, medium and even smaller fleets are here to do business, to listen to all of the messages about what’s new in the industry and the actions ATA is taking. The people we have been meeting are really across the board,” Jorge Medina, director of product and media marketing for Peterbilt Motors Co.

“Most people [coming by] are expecting 2018 to be a reasonably good year,” Medina added. “So on that basis, we have been having good conversations.”

Peterbilt is a brand of Paccar Inc.

John Sommers II for Transport Topics

Vanguard National Trailer Corp. has been coming to the MCE events for the past 12 years.

“The demand for trailers is strong now and we expect business to remain strong going into next year, as far as we can see,” said Densil Williams, chief operating officer of CIMC USA Inc., the parent company of Vanguard.

“So our purpose here is to continue our relationships with existing customers and to meet people who may be new customers for us,” Williams said. “We do conduct some business, but it is more relationship building.”

Other trailer makers at MCE included Hyundai Translead and Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co.

Nearby was Stoneridge Inc., which was showing a Class 8 truck that had Stoneridge’s sleek camera monitor system mounted above both of the cab’s doors to serve as a replacement for mirrors on trucks, and to boost fuel efficiency.

John Sommers II for Transport Topics

Top regulators are interested in the product MirrorEye, including Jack Van Steenburg, chief safety officer at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, as well as Larry Minor, associate administrator for policy at FMCSA, said Glynn Spangenberg, whose company, Spangenberg Partners, is the fleet representative for the Stoneridge product.

Both officials went for drives recently in Washington, D.C., in a truck equipped with the CMS, Spangenberg said.

Stoneridge expects to receive an exemption that would allow fleets to install a CMS and remove their mirrors. “We expect to have that done in very short order,” Spangenberg said.

Our purpose here is to continue our relationships with existing customers and to meet people who may be new customers for us.

COO Densil Williams of CIMC USA Inc., parent of Vanguard National Trailer Corp.

Meanwhile, other booths also were busy.

“Instead of ‘Should we be putting video on our trucks,’ it’s really ‘What is the right solution for my fleet?’ We have seen a transition in fleets in that regard over the last few years here at MCE,” said Melissa Purcell, senior vice president of marketing and customer success for SmartDrive Systems Inc.

Near the doors was Megan Lynch, manager of national accounts for Potash Corp., a supplier of urea that produces diesel exhaust fluid.

“The market for DEF keeps increasing 20% to 30% year-over-year, so there is a lot more supply that has already come on in 2017, but more is supposed to come on at the end of the year, too. It’s a growing industry,” Lynch said.

John Sommers II for Transport Topics

Across the hall was Multi Service Fleet Solutions, a pioneer in fuel cards for the trucking industry, issuing its first one in 1978.

“The traffic flow that we have had and the conversations we have had with different fleets and exhibitors has been better than I have seen any other year,” said Aaron Decker, senior director of fleet solutions for MSTS. Its products also include bulk fuel, commercial driver license legal protection and a factoring service.

One row over was QuikQ, which began by using RFID payment services to process fuel transactions, and now offers multiple options, QuikQ CEO Dean Troester said.

“The people coming by are interested,” Troester said.

EMTeLink, whose service allows fleets and others to organize employee’s emergency information and have instant access to it after an accident, was attending MCE for the first time.

“We are hoping to reduce medical errors once a driver who has been in an accident gets to the emergency room and then help get them back to work as fast as we can,” said Dean Massey, chief information officer for EMTeLink.