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Written by Seth Skydel on . Posted in .

Among the resources available to fleet managers in our industry are shows and conferences that offer unique opportunities to gather valuable information. These events are also a window into the most pressing concerns and topics of interest to fleets.

At The Work Truck Show 2012 in Indianapolis, a record-setting 10,408 attendees and 563 exhibitors provided just such an opportunity. Showcasing Class 1-8 trucks, chassis, bodies, components and accessories, more than 120 of the exhibiting companies launched at least 140 new products, including alternative fuel systems, which are featured elsewhere in this issue.

The Work Truck Show was also the site of the Green Truck Summit where technical experts, government officials, industry leaders and early adopter fleet managers came together to unveil recent developments in sustainable technologies and new commercial truck applications.

Also a record event with 772 attendees, The Work Truck Show event was coupled with a Green Truck Ride-and-Drive featuring 21 commercial vehicles that incorporate advances in hybrid technology and alternative fuel applications, including CNG, propane, battery-electric, extended-range electric, ultra-clean biodiesel, bi-fuel CNG, series and parallel electric hybrids, and hydraulic hybrids.

As we go to press we’re getting ready to attend the NAFA Institute & Expo where fleet professionals will be on hand to network and see the latest services and products available for their operations. They will also take part in more than 65 educational programs and hear from several key speakers.

Next up we’re attending the Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference (EUFMC), which continues to attract record numbers of fleet executives from investor-owned electric utilities, electric cooperatives and electrical contractors from across the U.S. and Canada, as well as representatives of equipment and service suppliers. The annual exhibition at EUFMC features more than 75 displays where fleet managers can meet with 250+ representatives from more than 95 manufacturers and service providers.

EUFMC is also a perfect example of how close cooperation between fleet managers and suppliers is mutually beneficial. The conference is an opportunity for manufacturers to share product ideas with customers, and for fleet managers to make their wishes and concerns known so better solutions can be developed. The sharing of best practices is also a hallmark of EUFMC, which includes roundtables where fleet representatives and suppliers can exchange information and discuss mutual concerns.

Staying in the loop can be a full-time task for today’s already busy fleet executives. Thanks to industry associations and their active members, however, it is that much easier to see what’s trending now, and to learn as much as possible in a short amount of time about the solutions available to address the industry’s most pressing needs.

Seth Skydel