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Service bodies are a big draw in the exhibition portion of the Work Truck Show. Photos: National Truck Equipment Association.

The annual Work Truck Show—in Indianapolis March 7–9, at the Indiana Convention Center and RCA Dome—has always been well attended by commercial distributors and users of Class 1–8 trucks. However, with a broad array of trucks, bodies, tools, and other fleet-friendly fare, the exhibition and conference is also a veritable bonanza for public works fleet managers.

Without a doubt, the equipment is the star of the Work Truck Show (for a sneak peek at the items on display, see the special TruckWorks section on page 41). About 450 vendors will hawk their wares across almost 200,000 square feet of floor space. For a closer look at specific items, attendees can attend special focused presentations dubbed “Training Theaters,” 20-minute sessions that take place just off the exhibit floor.

The schedule also includes a number of special events and educational sessions that PWfleet managers can benefit from. And while the NTEA definitely leans toward the commercial side of things (seminars focus on distributors, truck dealers, and fleet/leasing companies), a healthy portion of the programming stands to enlighten managers of public fleets:

  • Truck Fleet Manager Training Session and Networking Luncheon,Thursday, March 8, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30p.m. On the surface, this chat-and-chow opportunity looks superficial—the kind of touchy-feely, personal-enhancement session common to tradeshows in every industry. However, the networking component makes forking over the $15 signup fee for the luncheon worthwhile—commercial fleet managers might worry about profitability rather than budget woes, but most other conundrums you face on a daily basis regarding emissions concerns, employee retention and training, procurement and the like are just as pertinent as for public fleet managers.
  • Hybrid Truck and Alternative Fuels Summit,Tuesday, March 6, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thanks to skyrocketing fuel costs, this is an issue everyone with a driver's license should be interested in—and that goes double for public fleet managers. This session features contributions from manufacturers, associations, and researchers from around the globe. There's an additional fee on top of the Work Truck Show registration costs, but the education, networking, and chance to get behind the wheel of a hybrid during the “Ride and Drive” component make this event worth considering.
  • President's Breakfast & NTEA Annual Meeting,Thursday, March 8, 7:30 to 9:15 a.m. What does Rudolph Giuliani know about being a fleet manager? Probably about as much as you do about being mayor of New York City. However, having led one of the world's biggest, busiest cities through the darkest time of the new century, he can speak authoritatively about the importance of leadership, something from which we all can learn.

The PUBLIC WORKS TruckWorks section gives you a taste of the dump and service bodies, onboard computers, snowplow blades, heavy-duty suspensions, tarp covers, and tool-boxes you'll see at the exhibition, which is tailor-made for the public-works fleet manager. There's a lot more at the Work Truck Show itself, though. For more information, visit the association's site at www.ntea.com.