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Home 2008 Editions February, 2008

Each year begins with wide-ranging opportunities for fleet maintenance professionals. We’ve barely turned the calendar and, by the time you read this, two major events in the heavy duty service and repair industry will be in the history books: Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) and the Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) annual meeting.

If you are unfamiliar with either of these events, you are definitely missing something worthwhile. HDAW, now in its third year, is the leading distributor-focused business event of the year, offering unparalleled educational, networking and business opportunities for fleet managers. Some of the interesting events on tap for this year included (among others):

• The HD Aftermarket Forum, hosted by Stu MacKay of MacKay and Co., and exploring industry conditions, trends and forecasts.

• A session on Access to Product and Service Information, addressing the issue of the availability of repair and service information in the heavy-duty market, and

• The Product Expo, which provided an opportunity to meet and network with suppliers to the industry.

For me, one of the highlights of HDAW is the Technician of the Year (TOTY) Award program sponsored by Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, Dayton Parts LLC, Haldex, ODYSSEY Battery and SKF. The award is designed to recognize a technician who exemplifies the best qualities of the profession, including technical experience and contributions to the industry. The HDAW awards generally, and the TOTY award specifically, demonstrate the broad appeal of HDAW, which should be a must-see for anyone involved in HD vehicle maintenance.

The next big event of the year was the TMC Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition in Orlando, Fla. TMC meetings offered something for everyone involved in heavy-duty fleet maintenance, particularly the Fleet Operators’ Forum, in which fleet attendees raise and share equipment problems that they have been unable to resolve successfully. It also gives them the opportunity to network with manufacturers, suppliers and other fleet professionals to try to resolve those problems.

If you’ve not attended a TMC Task Force meeting, you’re missing a valuable experience. Task Forces are short-term work committees that solve or try to anticipate problems usually through the development of Recommended Practices, which serve as a resource to fleet managers and technicians in their day-to-day operations.

This year the TMC Transportation Technology Exhibition included an exhibit showcasing a preview of the popular SuperTech technician skills competition, scheduled for next September. Four workstation simulations (Tires, Work Order, Service Information and Electrical) will be featured to provide fleet managers, technicians, and suppliers an opportunity to experience this popular industry event and explore ways to become involved, either as a competitor or sponsor. If you have not experienced hands-on technician skills competition, this exhibit should definitely pique your interest and allay any reservations.

Together, these two events get the year off on the right foot and, if you have missed either of them this year, put them on your calendar early for next year.

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