Once again it was our pleasure to head down to Nashville and be a part of the NASTC Annual Conference. Held downtown, at the beautifully renovated Sheraton Hotel, the NASTC Conference was three very busy days of education, meeting new friends and a little bit of partying. This is the 3rd year BigRoad has attended the NASTC Conference and the 1st year we have sponsored the event.
Formed in 1989, The National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC) represents over 3,000 trucking companies. It serves it’s members as an advocate for, a consultant to, and a source for collective buying power.
Terry Frey and I love a good road trip but it’s a long haul driving down from Kitchener, Ontario! After 12.5 hours on the road, we pulled in Hendersonville, just outside Nashville, around 8.30pm on Wednesday evening and immediately met with our friends at the NASTC Conference Centre for the kickoff event. The next day we rolled into Music City around 10:00am giving us just enough time to check into the Sheraton and get ready for Day 1 of the conference.
One of the sessions we attended that day was on Technology in the Trucking Industry that was co-hosted by Nexlink. We have just formed a partnership with Nexlink and it was really exciting to see some the phones and tablets they offer that come pre-loaded with the BigRoad software.
The day ended with a reception and dinner. Dinner was fantastic and it was great to meet Dave Nemo and Ellen Voie of the Women in Trucking Association who sat at the same table. The dinner was closed with a thoroughly entertaining speech from NASTC president, David Owen. It was a joy to hear his speech and see his passion for the trucking industry first hand.
Thankfully the dinner didn’t finish too late so I crashed for the night knowing that Friday was going to be packed with events.
Friday started by getting up at 6am to be ready for a quick breakfast and pre day planning session. Terry, along with Jeff Davis from Fleet Safety Services LLC, appeared on the Dave Nemo Show at 7.45am. During their radio spot they discussed the fear people have transitioning away from paper logs to electronic logs.
After the radio spot, both Terry and Jeff, dashed off to hold the first of their two seminars on Hours of Service and Electronic Logging Issues. We had a great turn out for these sessions and answered a lot of peoples concerns. Jeff talked a lot about CSA scores and covered the main areas that impact your safety score. Hours of Service are the main area where you actually have some control to improve your score and with the help of BigRoad you can eliminate form and manner issues and well as track your HOS. After the first session, I had the opportunity to speak with a current BigRoad customer. During our conversation, he told me their HOS score had improved by 13% since they started using BigRoad less than a year a go. These are the kinds of stories I never get tired of hearing!
During the break between the two sessions Terry and I had an hour to hustle and get the tradeshow booth set up. We almost made it! We were finishing the final touches when people began approaching us (even before the NASTC Vendor Showcase started!) The Showcase ran from Noon till 7:00pm. We were so busy showing BigRoad to the attendees that the photographer for the show couldn’t take a picture of us at the booth until the end of the day! The always-helpful James Caperton from NASTC took time out from the MYSTC booth to lend us a hand, which is a great reminder of the friendship we have built over the years. Although it was crazy busy, we enjoyed every moment of it! It was so much fun to meet new people and do a whack load of on the spot demos. Thanks for everyone who turned up at the booth and special thanks again to James!
As the trade show was winding down we were entertained by the Drivers of the Year celebration. It was a great spectacle and the drivers were treated like royalty with NASTC extolling the virtues of each driver. BigRoad user Wendell Firestone of Frerichs Freight Lines was one of the recipients of the prestigious honour. He’s had 49 years and 4,700,000 miles accident free behind the wheel. Congratulations Wendell!
Terry and I were invited to dinner with one of our newest BigRoad customers so after the conference festivities wound down for the day, we went out for a night on the town with the boys from Lipsey Trucking. We had a blast getting to know the crew better and watching the Dueling Pianos at a local bar.
Following the whirlwind of Friday, Saturday was a much more relaxed pace for us. We took in the morning sessions and one of note was the one on Trucking Economics with Donald Broughton of Avondale Partners. During this session he talked about the impact trucking has on the economy and painted a picture of a rosy future ahead for the industry.
Once that session over we decided it was probably best if we hit the road and started the long trip back home. We would have loved to stay for the Town Hall, especially after meeting Ellen Voie at dinner on Thursday. I was also a little disappointed that I was going to miss the keynote from Ice Road Trucker Alex Debogorski. Maybe next year we’ll plan to stay an extra night.
Hope to see you there next year!