Why I Attend the Work Truck Show

The Work Truck Show has become the “must attend” event for all stakeholders in the industry. As a truck equipment distributor, I see great value in attending the Work Truck Show and have done so for the past 14 years.

 

My First Work Truck Show

I can vividly remember my first Work Truck Show experience, however—I was still in the Navy, but had given notice that I would be resigning my commission in a few months and go to work for my father (in the family business).

When I first stepped foot on the show floor of the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, I was immediately struck by the vastness of the display hall. There were trucks and equipment as far as I could see. Even though I had spent many summers of my youth sweeping the floors of a truck equipment shop, I did not have a full understanding of the commercial vehicle industry.

The plan was to have my dad escort me around, meet some manufacturers, and see what truck equipment was all about. That was a great plan in theory, but 10 feet onto the show floor and my father spots someone he hasn’t seen in a year and spends the next 20 minutes catching up on the latest product and industry news. I was initially involved in the conversation, but quickly zone out as I have no idea what they’re talking about. This played out over and over again for the next 6 hours and I learned three things: 1. My dad knew a lot of people in the work truck industry, 2. Everyone important in the industry is at the Work Truck Show, 3. Wear comfortable shoes.

 

The Following Year

I returned to the Work Truck Show the following year and participated in the educational sessions offered in conjunction with the show. As a relative newcomer to the industry, I found every session worthwhile and received lots of “real world” information that I took back to my job.

One session that my father and I sat in on was a panel discussion about working alongside other family members in a family business. There was a conversation about parent/child interaction in the workplace and Stan Coveleskie presented his “Rules for Working with Family.” My father and I were so impressed that we decided to adopt those rules in our business.

Aside from great continuing education, the Work Truck Show also offers attendees the first opportunity to see new chassis and equipment. Many manufacturers time product releases to coincide with WTS, knowing that they have the chance to show their products to over 10,000 people at one show, many of whom are decision-makers with buying authority. The Show is also a great place to find solutions to old problems or find a new vendor for an existing product line.

Lastly, the Work Truck Show is a great place to network with other industry professionals. Starting with the opening reception, the entire industry comes together for one week in March. Whether it’s a vendor reception or a break in the member lounge, there’s always an opportunity to see old friends and make new ones. There is also a great opportunity to hear from nationally known speakers at the President's Breakfast. 2017 was no exception as the NTEA welcomed famed professional footballer and broadcasters, Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw.

 

Thinking about attending the next WTS?

Whether it’s your first time or 20th, I’m sure you will find value spending time with other like-minded industry professionals. I’ll be there and will probably find myself on the show floor, stopping every 10 feet to have similar conversations that my father had 14 years ago.