Below you will find details from the 2013 event, and to the right is a short video from 2013.
If you would like more information about the 2014 event please sign up for our eNewsletter, or check back soon.
Save the date for the 2014 Fleet Forum, March 26, 2014.
Kenny Vieth, President and Senior Analyst, ACT Research
A panel of truck manufacturers and early-adopter fleets discuss the pros and cons of
switching to natural gas, exploring fueling options, maintenance changes and total cost of ownership.
Moderated by Jim Mele, Editor-in-chief, Fleet Owner
Learn these Truck Fleet Innovators driver strategies, how new technology is playing a role,
how they’re retaining “the best and the brightest” drivers and more.
Moderated by Jim Park, Equipment Editor, HDT
Forum concludes with a reception to meet the panelists
Natural Gas Panel Moderator:
Jim Mele, Editor-in-chief – Fleet Owner Magazine
Nationally recognized journalist, author and editor, Jim Mele joined Fleet Owner in 1986 with over a dozen years' experience covering transportation as a newspaper reporter and magazine staff writer. Fleet Owner Magazine has won over 45 national editorial awards since his appointment as editor-in-chief in 1999. He spearheaded the magazine's move to online media in 1995, and continues to expand its digital footprint with an evolving web presence, mobile applications, webinars, online commerce, virtual events and other new media projects. In 2009, he was responsible for the successful redesign and re-launch of American Trucker as a full-featured editorial product. Mele holds a masters degree in creative writing from City College of New York and has authored four collections of poetry and a book on the science fiction of Isaac Asimov, as well as numerous essays, reviews and critical studies for national magazines and anthologies.
HDT Fleet Innovators moderator:
Jim Park, Equipment Editor – HDT Magazine
Jim Park, Equipment Editor, HDT, has been a truck journalist for 13 years, joining Newport Business Media in 2007. Prior to becoming an editor, he spent 20 year as a commercial driver and small-fleet owner. Park specializes in technical and equipment topics, including HDT's Tire Report and maintenance features. His "real-world" perspective brings a special insight to HDT's Test Drives and in-depth articles about drivers, as well as to his "On the Road" blog on Truckinginfo.com. He is the former editor of Newcom's HighwayStar magazine and former host of The All-Night Road Show. Park holds five Jesse Neal awards and honors.national magazines and anthologies.
HDT Fleet Innovator:
Kevin Burch, President - Jet Express, Dayton, Ohio
Burch went to work at age 19 with the same company his dad worked for, regional LTL Blue Arrow. Within two years he was terminal manager. Over the next 12 years he built his reputation and got an offer to work for a small truckload carrier in the automotive business. Within a couple of years he was president. That was 24 years ago. By 2009-2010, his stature in the industry was such that he was chairman of the Truckload Carriers Association. Jet keeps turnover under 40% by offering schedules that provide home time and a management style that honors drivers' preferences, and he has been involved in several panel discussions on driver recruiting and retention. He's also a vocal advocate for trucking image, including reaching out to communities and the media.
HDT Fleet Innovator:
Joe Cowan, President - Cowan Systems LLC, Baltimore, Maryland
Cowan Systems was founded in 1994 by Joe Cowan as a new operating entity, but it has origins dating back over 80 years -- in 1924 his father established a regional LTL, W.T. Cowan Inc. Cowan Systems is a truckload carrier operating primarily east of the Mississippi that specializes in dedicated operations, especially in the beverage industry. It has developed a lightweight tractor and trailer spec that is standard across its entire 1,600-plus-tractor fleet allowing it to handle 50,000 pounds of payload instead of the typical 44,000. With dedicated and short-haul truckload operations making up the bulk of its business, most of its drivers are home every weekend or sleep in a bed every night. The company says its ability to hire and retain the best drivers is one of the keys to its success.
HDT Fleet Innovator:
Trent Dye, Director and General Manager - Paramount Freight Systems, Fort Myers, Florida
Dye came from a law enforcement background and got his start in trucking as a dispatcher, working his way up the ladder at several trucking companies, including Schneider National, until he came to Paramount in 2008 when it was founded as the owner-operator division of R+L Truckload. Under Dye's direction, Paramount has been honored three years in a row in the Truckload Carriers Associations' "Best Fleets to Drive For" program as a top fleet for owner-operators. The company uses social media, relationship-focused onboarding, an unusual mentoring program, relationship education for its fleet managers, and business-management classes for its independent contractors to help it maintain a turnover rate of less than 30%.