While no records were broken as the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM) took its Convention & Trade Show back to Orlando for the first time in 10 years, the numbers were significantly better than the 2016 event in Las Vegas.

Total show attendance at Disney’s Coronado Springs was 1029, with 269 booth spaces, 303 trailer manufacturer employees in attendance, 197 companies exhibiting and another 15 on the waiting list. Sponsors provided new member incentives, attracting over 67 first-time attendees. Of the 53 first-time attendees in 2016, 30 signed up to attend again in 2017.

Last year in Las Vegas, there were 983 attendees, 250 booths, and 191 exhibitors.

Executive director Pam Trusdale said it capped off “another great year” for NATM and its members.

“The light- and medium-duty trailer industry is thriving, as evidenced by our membership numbers, sponsorships, and convention attendance, and it can even be seen in the issues our members are facing—not having a large enough workforce,” she said.

“With a growing industry, NATM staff also grew in 2016. With more compliance consultations to perform than ever before, NATM hired a second full-time consultant to help out Compliance Director Greg Soden with the workload. The Board also noticed a need to hire a membership director focused solely on member services, recruiting, and retention. In years past, the membership director has worn a number of hats. But as we can see in our growth, a dedicated staff person is just what was needed. The Association is now truly poised to support the growth in the industry.”

Patrick Jennissen of Felling Trailers took over as president for Greg Snyder of CAR-MATE Trailers Inc.

Originally serving on the Board beginning in 2005, Snyder served two terms before going off the Board. In 2011, he was appointed to fulfill the term of a resigning member, and in 2013 he was elected by the Board to serve as vice president. Over the course of the past 12 years, he served on the Membership, Compliance, Trailer Dealer, Marketing, Executive, Finance, and Nominations committees. He has attended Regulatory Roundups and 22 years of conventions, and was the driving force being CAR MATE joining NATM back in 1996.

In addition to Jennissen, other officers are: Owen Shelton, vice president; Marty Lorick, treasurer; and Marcus Hester, associate representative on the Executive Committee.

Each year, one-third of the Board members are elected. NATM re-elected Shelton and Ron Yarnell, and elected five new members to the Board: Jim Berry, Dexter Axle; Marco Garcia, U-Haul; Jake Morrison, H & H Trailers; Brian Wise, BWise Manufacturing, LLC; and Lucas Landis, ATC.

The four outgoing Board members this year:

• Doug Deaver has served on the Board since 2011. During this time, he served as both a committee chair and committee member, including the Compliance, Technical, Government Affairs Outreach, and Trailer Dealer committees.

• Adam Dexter has also served on the Board since 2011. He has served on the Government Affairs, Government Affairs Outreach, Trailer Dealer, and Convention committees. He is also a member of the NATM PAC Board.

• Mike Lloyd been on the Board since his election in 2010. He has held the offices of treasurer, vice president, and president. Lloyd completed his final year on the Board serving as Past President. Mike served as chair and committee member on a number of committees, including Finance, Trailer Dealer, Membership, Nominations, and Convention. He was awarded the Outstanding Member Award in 2016.

• Rick Russell was elected to the Board in 2012. During this time he has served on the Convention and Marketing Committees as well as Government Affairs, a committee for which he has served as chair for several years, and is chairing again for 2017.

Outstanding Young Professional award recipients were:

• Joel Bauer, president of Midsota Manufacturing in Avon, Minnesota. For the last 13 years, with the help of current and previous business partners, he has continued to grow the company while continuing to support the community. In 2016, he worked with the local school, offering an intern position to senior students interested in the manufacturing industry.

• Marcus Hester, VP of marketing for Optronics International in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Over his 10 years with Optronics, he has rapidly grown his responsibilities from sales manager to vice president of sales and marketing. He is directly responsible for all sales, marketing, and product development activities within the multiple aftermarket and OEM markets that Optronics serves—light- and medium-duty trailer, heavy-duty truck and trailer, work truck, automotive, and transit.

The 2017 Green Manufacturing Award was presented to Alum-Line, a family-owned and operated manufacturing company in Cresco, Iowa.

Alum-Line was selected because of the tremendous measures and large undertakings this family business has taken to improve efficiencies and sustainability awareness.

“Between solar installations, high-efficiency floor heating, high-efficiency insulation upgrades, and recent retrofit to high-efficiency LED lighting, Alum-Line has become the local icon for sustainable commercial business practices,” said Howard County Energy District conservation board member Miles Hayes.

“In addition, they have set the bar in our community for high-efficiency manufacturing by implementing a number of lean practices and waste management processes.”

In 2014, Alum-Line installed solar panels on two of the company’s largest manufacturing buildings. Since installation just two years ago, the facilities have generated 63.5 million watt-hours of clean energy, the equivalent to planting 1150 trees, running a single refrigerator for 38.6 years, or powering a regular 13-watt CFL bulb for 558 years.

A solar power-producing manufacturing building with efficient floor heat and good urethane insulation was completed in 2014. All company-wide physical expansions totaling over 70,000 square feet of manufacturing space have been set up to use floor heat. Future plans include four new building expansions, which will all include incorporation of new energy-efficient technologies in regards to installation of sustainable heating, power, floor heat, urethane insulation, and LED lighting. ♦

Find the NATM Show Report archive with articles from 2012 to present