More than 2,900 industry leaders attended the show, which hosted not only a keynote address by NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter, but also 1,900-plus one-on-one meetings between suppliers and distributors; educational sessions on recruitment and retention, the Right to Repair, and electrification; a 140,000-square-foot trade show; networking events; receptions and more.
The week started off Sunday with MEMA's Chasing the Aftermarket session aimed at improving sales in a 30-minute speed panel with representatives from Phillips & Temro, Velvac and Horton. Monday was longer, bringing a full day of aftermarket discussion with the Heavy Duty Aftermarket Dialogue discussions, presented by MEMA and MacKay & Company. Kicking off the day was Jonathan Randall from Mack Trucks, who told attendees truck sales this year could be better than expected.
HDAD attendees also heard from MacKay & Company analysts on what the next year will bring, economically speaking, and an update from MEMA's Ann Wilson on the REPAIR Act and other regulation coming from Washington, D.C. Derek Kaufman (Schwartz Advisors) and Dave Kalvelage (MacKay & Company) also presented an alternative powertrain outlook that stretched out to 2050, and a panel of fleet representatives talked about how they see the heavy-duty marketplace.
Tuesday kicked off strong, with a general session that featured keynote speaker and NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter, who talked about facing challenges and building great teams. Other legends were also recognized as Mike Betts was inducted into the HD Hall of Fame and Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts was named TPS Distributor of the Year. Later that day, Cummins-Meritor offered an update on the companies' integration and aftermarket portfolio, while the trade show opened with more than 330 exhibitors.
Wednesday's educational sessions included TPS Chief Editor Lucas Deal talking about recruitment and retention; MacKay & Company's John Blodgett showing trends in the electrification of commercial vehicles; and, finally, an update on legislation from MEMA's Wilson, FleetPride's Baron Oursler and Auto Care's Lisa Forshee, all of whom urged attendees to contact their representatives about H.R. 906, the REPAIR Act. HDAW '24 wrapped up that night with Wednesday Night Lights, a dinner at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, that featured live music, a mechanical bull, and a punt-pass-kick-run course.
"This event is a game-changer for anyone in our industry," says Kevin Hopton of CBS Parts Limited. "Not only does it strengthen your connections with manufacturers, but it also opens doors to explore new product lines. It's a crucial step in building and growing your business, fostering relationships that prove invaluable."