Dealers head to Las Vegas for ATD convention

U.S. medium- and heavy-duty truck dealers will convene in Las Vegas for the American Truck Dealers (ATD) Convention and Expo Feb. 3-6, which is being held for the first time in conjunction with the annual convention of the nation’s new-car dealers.

More than 20,000 new-car and -truck dealers, industry executives and exhibitors, including 1,500 international dealers from 36 countries, are expected to attend the 2012 National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and ATD conventions.

Keynote speakers at the 49th annual convention include ATD Chairman Kyle Treadway; Martin Daum, CEO of Daimler Trucks North America; Michael Card, president of Combined Transport Inc.; and retired Navy Captain and best-selling author Gerald Coffee. Ford dealer Richard Witcher, president of Minuteman Trucks Inc., in Walpole, Mass., will begin a two-year term as ATD chairman on Monday, Feb. 6.

Dealers also will have an opportunity to meet face-to-face with manufacturer executives at 12 franchise meetings and with suppliers in the sold out exhibit hall. Twelve workshop sessions will be offered for dealers and their managers to learn ways to improve their business operations.

ATD attendees can also attend any of the NADA workshops and general sessions, featuring keynote speakers Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, NADA Chairman Stephen W. Wade and incoming NADA Chairman Bill Underriner.

The ATD workshop program kicks off at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Friday, Feb. 3, with a presentation by Eric Starks, president of FTR Associates, on the state of the commercial vehicle industry, followed by several sessions over the weekend on topics, such as CSA compliance, alternative fuels and technician apprenticeships. The convention will also feature two sessions for medium-duty truck dealers on leasing and managing salespeople.

NextGen ATD, a professional development network for the association’s future leaders, will host a reception at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino (formerly the Las Vegas Hilton) on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 5-6 p.m. Eric Guenther, general marketing manager for Ford Fleet and Commercial Trucks, will be the featured speaker.

Incoming ATD Chairman Richard Witcher will discuss ATD’s 2011 accomplishments and the association’s legislative and regulatory goals for 2012 during the general session at the Las Vegas Hotel on Monday, Feb. 6. Witcher is president of Minuteman Trucks Inc., in Walpole, Mass.

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