Despite a nasty, uninvited guest — the “Snowquester,” a winter storm that closed roads, canceled flights, and cut power from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic — The Work Truck Show raged on in Indianapolis.

And even though some attendees couldn't make it to Indy due to the weather, The Work Truck Show from March 6-8 was bigger than ever in terms of exhibit space and educational programming, and the total verified attendance of 10,351 was the second-highest in National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) history — just 60 short of the record set in 2012, also in Indy.

New-product introductions played a significant role in creating buzz in Indy. With more than 120 products debuting at the event, two major product categories dominated the news: vans and fuel-saving technology.

Commercial vans were shown by Chevrolet & GMC Commercial Truck, Daimler Vans USA LLC, Ford Commercial Truck, Nissan North America, and Ram Trucks & Commercial Vehicles.

Attendees checked out the latest vocational trucks, vans, equipment and accessories from more than 520 exhibitors covering more than 500,000 square feet of exhibit space. Exhibitor demand has led show organizer NTEA to further expand the exhibit floor in 2014. More than 95% of display space for The Work Truck Show 2014 has already been sold.

Echo Automotive won the Editors' Choice Award for its new EchoDrive bolt-on hybrid electric kit for fleet vehicles, beating out more than 120 other new products. The system was selected by a panel of trade media editors and fleet managers looking for the most innovative product introduced through the show's New Product Spotlight and New Product Media Guide programs.

Unlike other fuel efficiency solutions, EchoDrive does not replace the vehicle's existing drivetrain. It includes an advanced battery system, electric motor, inverter and charger that provide additional energy and fit most vehicles with adapter plates and brackets. Modular battery packs allow fleets to customize the system to their needs and avoid waste. EchoDrive is cost-effective; users should be able to recoup their initial investments in 24 months or less, the company says.

At the Work Truck Show, Echo Automotive featured the system on the Ford E250 van. A cutaway model was displayed in the company's booth and a working version was available for test drives as part of the Green Truck Ride-and-Drive.

Odyne Systems LLC won the Green Award for an advanced hybrid commercial vehicle it developed with ComEd.

Odyne used the event to introduce a walk-in van equipped with a plug-in hybrid system providing electrical power from a large advanced battery system. The batteries can be recharged for uninterrupted extended operations at the work site by the chassis engine, or through cleaner energy from the grid. The new hybrid system provides benefits during driving and stationary operations by reducing fuel consumption, emissions and work site noise.

Designed for ComEd's underground electrical maintenance work in Chicago, the van is built on a chassis from Freightliner Custom Chassis utilizing a Utilimaster walk-in van body and Team Fenex manhole air delivery system. The vehicle can be parked above a manhole to provide workers below with all their electrical needs, plus cooled or heated fresh air. The system significantly reduces chassis engine idling and delivers over 14 kW of power for tools and other applications without the need for a separate diesel generator.

Shawn Jacobs, president & CEO of STS Trailer & Truck Equipment, was installed as the 49th president of NTEA.

Jacobs accepted the gavel from immediate past president Frank Livas, president of Brake & Clutch Inc at the President's Breakfast and NTEA Annual Meeting.

“A main focus for me over the next year as president of the NTEA will be to make fellow NTEA member companies aware of all the opportunities and connections the Association offers,” Jacobs said.

Also serving on the 2013-2014 Board are Executive Committee Members: first vice president Mark Woody, president of Palfinger North America; second vice president Jeffrey Messer, president of Messer Truck Equipment; third vice president and treasurer Matt Wilson, president of Switch-N-Go, AmeriDeck & Bucks Divisions of Deist Industries Inc; and secretary Steve Carey, executive director of NTEA.

Serving alongside Executive Committee members are: distributor trustees Todd Davis, vice president of Phenix Enterprises Inc, Brian Glover, president/owner of Tampa Crane & Body Inc, Adam Keane, general manager of Allied Body Works Inc, Bill Kohler, president of Kranz Automotive Body Co, John Wartenbee, vice president of Northern Truck Equipment Corp, and Terry Wieseler, general manager of Truck Equipment Inc; and manufacturer trustees Brett Collins, president of Venco/Venturo Manufacturing Inc and Ross L Haith Jr, president of Masterack Division, Leggett & Platt, CVP.

The Work Truck Show returns to the Indiana Convention Center March 5-7, 2014, with educational programming and the Green Truck Summit kicking off March 4. Online registration opens at NTEA.com in October.