Organizers declare HD Aftermarket Dialogue a success

The second-annual Heavy Duty Aftermarket Dialogue (HDAD) conference, co-presented by the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA) and MacKay & Company, was held on Monday, January 27, 2014 at The Mirage in Las Vegas.

The event proved to be a rousing success, providing executives and thought leaders in the industry with an exceptional one-day business conference focused on the aftermarket segment of the heavy-duty industry.

“We are thrilled to see the success of last year’s first annual HDAD be evident in this year’s record breaking attendance and participation,” says Tim Kraus of HDMA. “Having each segment comprised of presentations, fleet panel discussions, and audience participation results in a day of dialogue that is key to taking the pulse of our industry.”

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Heavy Duty Aftermarket Dialogue drew a total of 338 attendees, of which 57 percent of the attendees were vice president to chairman level executives from HDMA member and other companies. HDAD represents a broad range of the commercial vehicle industry.

“We have been very pleased with the quantity of industry professionals that attended the event and also with the fact that the room was filled with industry leaders seeking insight to improve their business strategy and market perspective as we move through an uncertain phase of the economy,” says Stu MacKay of MacKay & Company. “Strength in leadership is critical to maintaining a solid foundation for surviving and thriving in any industry and our goal is to provide resources to industry leaders for their business decisions and the industry to which we owe so much.”

Kraus and MacKay kicked off HDAD’14 with brief introductions of presenters and segments while setting a tone to focus attendees on the forward-looking message and take-aways from the program.

Dr. Bob Dieli, president and founder of RDLB, Inc., an economic research and management consulting firm based in Lombard, IL., launched immediately into the first segment of the day entitled State of the Economy Driving the Heavy Duty Aftermarket, a discussion focusing on an array of topics affecting the economic dynamics for 2014. Organizers say the presentation provided a wealth of knowledge for attendees, enabling them to navigate through the turbulent economy, while also creating a foundation for the panel discussions that would follow throughout the day. Dr. Dieli’s presentation concluded by engaging the audience in an interactive question and answer session, moderated by Bill Strauss, Chief Economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

The second segment of the conference was a two part presentation by Michele Calbi, vice president of strategic initiatives for Navistar and Steve Crowley, president and CEO of VIPAR Heavy Duty, entitled: Battle of the Brands: Value Brands/ Private Brands versus Manufacturer Brands. Following their presentations, Calbi and Crowley were joined by Dwayne Haug, AVP- equipment purchasing for Werner Enterprises; Ron Kleintop, fleet maintenance director for Miami Dade County, and Roy Svehla, senior manager of fleet maintenance for Republic Industries for a fleet executive panel discussion entitled The Fleet Perspective – Branding and Customer Loyalty. The segment’s interactive discussion, which included questions from the audience, was moderated by Stu MacKay and Dave Kalvelage of MacKay and Company.

The next segment was comprised of presentations from David Seewack, CEO of FindItParts.com and Andy Schuurs, sales manager for WHI Solutions, an EBay company, focusing on The Rise of the eAftermarket – How eCommerce is Changing the Industry. The same panelists from the second segment (Haug, Kleintop, and Svehla) joined Seewack and Schuurs for a panel discussion on The Fleet Perspective – The eCommerce Effect on the Fleets. The segment’s points of discussion as well as questions from the audience were moderated jointly by John Blodgett and Stu MacKay of MacKay & Company.

The third and final panel discussion, Branding, Internet & eCommerce: Challenges and Opportunities, rounded out the perspectives with the major supplier’s point of view. This panel discussion featured Edward Neeley, President of Truck Supply of South Carolina; Mike McKay, Corporate Parts Director for Kenworth Sales Company, and Geoff Garafola, Product and Technical Information Manager for Inland Truck Parts, and was moderated by Stu MacKay and Tim Kraus.

The final segment of the day-long conference, The Heavy Duty Aftermarket Outlook: Opportunities and Challenges, was presented by Stu MacKay and John Blodgett and provided a recap of the conclusions from the three preceding panel discussions as well as the probable impact the suggested outcomes would have on the aftermarket.

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