MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — In an industry rich with events dedicated to education and networking, standing out as an event everyone should mark on their calendar year after year is a goal sought by many and achieved by few.
This holds true even for established events, which may have been around for decades. What was once novel and original can, over time, become predictable and stale. What was once thought of as an industry institution can fail to excite the new generation of industry leaders.
But sometimes such events just require a helping hand and a second chance.
Newcom Business Media together with PIT Group decided collectively that one such event, the Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar for maintenance professionals, was worth reviving. This Spring Newcom and PIT are merging the Seminar and PIT’s annual conference to create a new, informative all-day event called the Canadian Fleet Maintenance Summit (CFMS). They’ve rallied the support of several organizations including the Automotive Transportation Service Superintendents’ Association (ATSSA), the Canadian Transportation Equipment Association (CTEA), the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) and the Transportation Maintenance and Technology Association (TMTA) to transform CFMS into the first industry-wide supported event of its kind for fleet maintenance professionals.
The need for the CFMS’s resurgence was inevitable according to the organizing committee who helped plan the agenda for this year’s event. According to the committee, the event had become flat over the years and it needed a breath of fresh air.
“Well, it’s like anything else, it got a little stale,” acknowledged Dan Cushing, vice-president of the ATSSA. “It’s very hard for an organization to put on an event and be successful because there are so many.”
Cushing has been a member of the ATSSA for a number of years and for the better part of its CFMS’ existence it has been owned and/or sponsored by the ATSSA. Cushing said that by adding more trucking associations to the organizing committee, the event can only grow stronger and he welcomes their input.
“We felt this was a great opportunity for the other folks to join us,” he said. “So instead of one group putting it on, let’s see what we can come up with together. I think it’s only going to be good news for the event.”
Stephen Laskowski, senior vice-president of the OTA said he believes the CFMS needed to make a statement with a comeback because of the nature of the trucking industry today.
“I think just in terms of how many events there are today…over time the demands on staff whether they’re at the maintenance level or the CEO level, it’s becoming more and more difficult to get away from the office,” he said. “How we learn as a society has changed, how we interact with a society has changed, what’s needed now going forward is more of a collective focus and to help people, to get their attention and to convince people it’s worth their time and energy and money to get away from the office to do that.”
Laskowski said he hopes that with the help of all the other associations that have jumped on board to help make the event a success, that industry professionals will spend the time and money to attend.
For PIT Group, the decision to join Newcom to host the event as partners was a no-brainer, since the CFMS will be hosted in conjunction with Truck World – Canada’s national truck show that brings together exhibitors from all over the country.
“Well we had our annual PIT conference for the last couple of years in Toronto and that was a successful conference and we had mainly fleets participating,” said Yves Provencher manager of PIT Group. “But last year (Newcom) approached us and asked us to be a part of the new CFMS that would be connected to Truck World. So we thought that connecting our conference with Truck World would make a lot of sense because our fleet participants would also go to Truck World so it’s a win-win. We have a similar audience (PIT and Truck World) and we think that people’s time, especially fleet managers’ time, is important so minimizing travel time and getting a bigger impact for their travel time is good. Instead of coming to two events this year, they come to one event and get the most out of it.”
This year, organizers say the summit is focusing more on education and allowing attendees to leave the event with more knowledge than they came in with. The summit is stacked with presentations from maintenance experts, panel discussions about new technology or human resources best practices as well as plenty of networking opportunities.
The CFMS is set to take place on April 13 at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ont. Truck World is slotted at the same venue from April 14-16.