Fleet Forum

MATS Fleet Forum is a conference for fleet executives and Heavy Duty/Commercial Vehicle industry VIPs. The forum will combine the resources and expertise of trucking’s two major publications (Fleet Owner & Heavy Duty Trucking) and the largest trade show, to provide an in-depth look at the future of equipment and trucking.

Online Registration for the 2015 Fleet Forum is now closed. We will be accepting onsite registrations for fleet attendees only.

Fleet Forum

March 25, 2015

Wednesday11AM - 6PM


The forum will take place in the South Wing Conference Room C203.

Register To Attend

Questions? Contact Exhibit Management Associates at 502.899.3892


11:30 AM

Doors Open

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


1:00 PM - 2:00 PM


Presentation by Eric Starks, President, FTR

Transportation and economic expert Eric Starks will address questions such as what the worldwide oil glut means beyond lower prices at the pump; what the trucking capacity situation looks like going forward, given economic signals and productivity and regulatory changes; and what consumer and business sentiment really means in terms of actual behavior, business planning and the economy.

2:00 PM - 2:15 PM


2:15 PM - 3:40 PM

The Road to the Self-driving Truck

Moderated by Jim Mele, Editor-in-chief, Fleet Owner

Our panel technology expert will explain what’s been done, what still needs to be done, and how these systems can all work together. On the regulatory side, our second expert panelist will address the legal roadblocks to self-driving trucks, early attempts to remove those roadblocks, as well as attempts to address questions of liability. The third panelist will tackle the broad issue of the people most affected – drivers. How will their lives change, and how will this technology change the profile and image of a truck driver? An interactive panel discussion with questions from the audience will follow their individual presentations.

3:40 PM - 3:50 PM


3:50 PM - 5:15 PM

How HDT’s Truck Fleet Innovators Overcome Tomorrow’s Challenges

Moderated by Jim Park, Equipment Editor, HDT

Succeeding and prospering in today's trucking environment takes more than traditional trucking and business skills. Hear from some of the most innovative fleet leaders in the industry with this panel lineup of HDT's 2015 Truck Fleet Innovator award honorees, on topics like:

• Smart ways to create capacity
• Getting and keeping the best drivers
• Innovative equipment spec'ing and maintenance practices
• Diversifying the business
• Using sustainability to your advantage

5:15 PM - 6:00 PM

Cocktail Reception

Forum concludes with a reception to meet the panelists and network with attendees and sponsors.

2015 Speakers

Eric Starks President FTR Transportation Intelligence

Eric Starks is the President of FTR, the industry leader in freight transportation forecasting. Eric has spent his entire career in the freight transportation sector and is a leading researcher in freight modal share analysis and forecasting. His background includes research in both rail and truck freight movements and asset equipment purchases. He currently is one of the premier industry forecasters on transportation equipment demand for rail cars, commercial trucks and trailers. All of the agency's safety initiatives over the past four years reflect her strong commitment to saving lives by reducing large truck and bus crashes, injuries and fatalities. Eric is a frequent speaker at Wall Street analyst meetings, association events, and private meetings.

He has a unique ability in communicating to his audiences how the economy, logistics, freight, and equipment demand impacts their respective business. He is also an active member of the transportation community and is privileged to sit on the Board of Directors for the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL). Eric holds a BS in Finance from Indiana University and is married and resides in Bloomington, Indiana, with his wife Shannon and four children (all boys) who keep them busy. As an avid athlete he enjoys participating in endurance sporting events that include swimming, biking and running. His most recent pursuit being a 1/2 Ironman triathlon.

Sandeep Kar Global Director-Commercial Vehicle Research Frost & Sullivan

Sandeep Kar is Global Director-Commercial Vehicle Research at Frost & Sullivan. In this role he manages global research focused on commercial vehicle technologies, markets, econometrics and applications. He focuses on developing strategic and actionable research aimed at delivering powerful growth strategies to C-suite executives and senior management at commercial vehicle manufactruring companies (OEMs), tier-1 suppliers, financial institutions, regulators and other key industry stakeholders. Sandeep works closely with industry leaders to enable them toaccelerate growth in a flat-world eco-system. He leads a global team of analysts and consultants that are focused on commercial vehicle powertrain,chassis, safety, telematics and regulation compliance technologies and markets. Sandeep has a mastres degree in heavy-truck dynamics from Concordia University, Montreal.

Dr. Wilfried Achenbach Senior Vice President, Engineering & Technology Daimler Trucks North America LLC

Wilfried Achenbach is responsible for all Daimler Trucks North America LLC Engineering activities for Freightliner and Western Star models. He oversees Product and Custom Engineering consisting of Design, Test, Styling, Analysis, Compliance and Planning functions.

Prior to joining the company in October 2010, Dr. Achenbach was responsible for Mechatronics Systems for Daimler AG in Stuttgart, Germany focusing on Electrical/Electronics development for the next generation of European trucks. Concurrently, he led the Mechatronics Group within the global Daimler Trucks development organization.

Prior to moving to Daimler Trucks, Dr. Achenbach held various positions within the passenger car division with a focus on driving dynamics and driver assistance. In this time frame he also spent several years in a senior executive position at Chrysler.

Dr. Achenbach received a Diploma in Physics and his Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. He joined Daimler AG in 1987 as a System Engineer in Advanced Development within the passenger car division.

More Speakers

Jim Mele Editor-in-chief Fleet Owner Magazine - Penton Media

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 a numerous essays, reviews and critical studies for national magazines and anthologies.

Susan Alt Senior Vice President, Public Affairs Volvo Group North America

Susan Alt is the Senior Vice President, Public Affairs for Volvo Group North America. She has been with the Volvo Group companies both in the United States and in Europe for the last 27 years. Prior to her current role, she held senior roles for Volvo and Mack Trucks in Marketing, Strategy and Business Development. She was the President of Volvo Logistics of the Americas, and as such, the first woman to manage a division for Volvo Group in North America.

Susan holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech and a MBA from Wake Forest University. She also maintains a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

Jim Park Equipment Editor HDT Magazine - Bobit Business Media

A truck driver and owner-operator for 20 years before becoming a trucking journalist in 1998, Park maintains his CDL and brings a real-world perspective to his writing. He puts that perspective to work on Test Drives, his “On the Road” blog on Truckinginfo.com, and in-depth coverage of equipment spec’ing and maintenance, driver issues and more. His monthly Tires & Wheels department and semi-monthly Tires & Wheels e-newsletter are widely respected.

His work has garnered nine Jesse H. Neal honors as well as other awards. With trucking radio experience as well, Park offers a conversational tone as moderator of the HDT Truck Fleet Innovators panels.

HDT's Truck Fleet Innovators

Rich DeBoer Executive Vice President Ozinga Brothers, Chicago, Ill.

Faced with the uncertainly of EPA-emissions engines in the ready-mix business and several years of recession-induced buying freeze, DeBoer was a key figure in the company's decision to move to natural gas power. The fleet currently has just over 120 CNG-powered trucks and plans to have all 800 vehicles CNG-powered by 2020. Ozinga started an energy division to provide natural gas fueling to other fleets as well.

John Elliott CEO Load One, Taylor, Mich.

This primarily expedited carrier with 350 vehicles is frequently a beta tester for new products, by Elliott's own admission a company on "the bleeding edge" of new technology adoption. It was one of the first carriers to adopt in-cab scanning and turn-by-turn in-cab navigation, and more recently an early adopter of a new analytics program that looks at driver retention data in a different way.

Steve Rush President & Owner Carbon Express, Wharton, N.J.

This small tanker fleet is able to haul 5,000 to 7,000 pounds more per load than the competition, thanks to extensive lightweighting that includes daycabs only. Drivers with longer runs get to sleep in hotels, which has helped immensely on the driver recruiting and retention front as well. The company tries to keep drivers sleeping in their own beds as much as possible, and get the freight to the customer faster, by using slip-seating and relays.

Braxton Vick Senior Vice President of Corporate Planning and Development Southeastern Freight Lines, Lexington, S.C.

Vick, an industrial engineer by training, got into trucking in the early days of the computer age in 1974. He's been using technology to make trucking companies more productive and efficient ever since. At Southeastern Freight Lines, where he's been since 1994, he helped develop an electronic logbook system, making the 2,700-unit fleet one of the first less-than-truckload carriers to implement e-logs. Today he's working on telematics for improved fuel mileage and predictive maintenance.