With a sold-out,140,000-square-foot show floor that was packed with heavy-duty aftermarket products from more than 330 suppliers, including 47 first-time exhibitors, there was plenty to see at this year’s Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW). So, I conscripted Collin Shaw, COO of MEMA Original Equipment Suppliers, and Shannon O’Brien, senior director, programming and strategy at MEMA, to serve as my guides. We walked the show floor, taking in the sights and talking through the biggest trends of the show. Just like all sectors of the heavy-duty industry, the aftermarket strikes a balance between the future of trucking equipment and the predominance of diesel technology, and its associated service and parts needs. The role of technology in evolving the industry, changing the nature of roles like technicians who now rely more on diagnostics and laptops.
“A technician, today, is not the greasy guy stereotype,” O’Brien said. “It’s a person behind a laptop working on diagnostics. All aspects of our industry are moving forward and are technologically advanced, and we have to use that to tout our industry.
“We still have a lot of challenges in the industry, but we also have to keep our eye on what’s happening five to 10 to 15 and 20 years from now.”
“As an association, we have to be a north star to the industry and be on the lookout for all of these new technologies,” Shaw said. “We don’t have all the answers, but we can raise the questions and say, ‘Hey, you need to look out for this.’
“Shannon and I have worked in the supplier industry, and we have been on the forefront of discussions like: How do you stop and brake vehicles [via equipment]? How do you operate autonomously? The people in trucking are some of the most passionate people on the earth. They’re people who care about making the world a better place on the roads. That’s what we strive for that. I can say that with confidence and competence that we look at technology as a way to enable a better society, safer roads, and that’s what HDAW is all about.”
Watch the video for a walk around the HDAW show floor and hear more from O’Brien and Shaw.
No script? No plan? No problem. Welcome to Fleet Equipment Unscripted—the video interview series that connects you with the greatest minds in the heavy-duty trucking world. Fleet Equipment Unscripted is sponsored by Hendrickson.