I am one of those people who like change, even just for change’s sake. My family laments when I move the living room furniture around every couple of months just to “shake things up.” Moving the furniture gives me the ability to literally see things from a different perspective and perhaps shed light on things I’ve never seen before or might have missed. I like that idea. I like the idea of looking at something familiar from a different angle or a different position to see it anew. It’s why I try not to sit in the same pew at church each week, and why I often get out from behind my desk and sit in one of the chairs in my office, or stand at the desk-top standing desk throughout the day.
This desire to change, to see things from different perspectives, was never more evident than after last year’s annual conference. Despite the overwhelming success of the event (total attendance up seven percent, more than 900 fleet managers, sold out expo hall, higher than anticipated revenue, lower than anticipated expenses), my staff and I knew we couldn’t simply hit the proverbial “rewind” button and do it all again in 2019.
Don’t get me wrong, we were thrilled the event was a success. But, not only do we know that past performance does not predict future success, we know more importantly that the fleet industry and your jobs are rapidly changing. We’d be foolish not to change the conference to stay ahead of those industry changes, to help you navigate those changes, and to be your irreplaceable source of the best information.
The first change we’re making, in response to your feedback that it was getting harder and harder for you to justify time out of the office, is shortening the conference from four days to three. Combined with that, we will start the conference on Monday, rather than Tuesday, so you can be back in the office Thursday and Friday. Also, the main events on Monday start mid-day, meaning you don’t necessarily have to travel on the weekend, although we do have some great pre-conference workshops and events if you arrive early. These changes will not only make it easier to justify attending the conference from a logistical standpoint, but also from a financial one, as they should save you significant travel and hotel expenses.
Next, we took a critical look at the content of the conference. This means we not only ensured we covered the most relevant subjects, but also made sure we had ample content appealing to every industry segment and every level of fleet manager. This year’s conference has sessions focusing on high-level strategic issues, critical tactical matters, and everything in between. The agenda includes sessions for long-time fleet managers as well as those new to the industry. And, we’ve developed an entire track of sessions specifically for suppliers, which is a first for NAFA.
Related to the content, we are working with all of the speakers to ensure their content is delivered in the form and fashion most relevant and beneficial to the audience. This means we’ll be having shorter, more-easily “digestible” sessions in various formats, such as roundtable conversations, sharing of best practices, and interactive, hands-on learning.
But we know content isn’t the only reason you attend the conference. You’re there to rub elbows with the right people, make new connections, do business, and see old friends. That’s why we’re amping up the networking opportunities to facilitate more of that face-to-face interaction you crave. This year’s conference includes two happy hours, a closing reception, multiple daily coffee breaks, an engaging new “Dinner with Strangers” opportunity, and daily general sessions with keynote presentations where you can spend time with your colleagues outside of a classroom setting.
Also, you won’t want to miss the many new initiatives we’ve put in place to make the Expo more enticing and enable you to make the most of the exhibit hours. For starters, the Expo will open right after the General Sessions/Keynote Addresses on both Tuesday and Wednesday, while you’re still fresh and ready to go. We’ll even provide lunch on the Expo floor, so you shouldn’t ever have to leave. And you won’t want to leave, as many of our exhibitors will be debuting new product lines, hosting special learning opportunities in their booths, or conducting prize drawings for awesome gifts, in addition to showcasing their useful wares. With more than 250 exhibitors, you’ll definitely need to have a plan to make the most of your time on the floor.
This entire notion of change is summed up in the theme of the marketing efforts for the conference: Moving at the Speed of Innovation. We all know how fast technology and innovation is moving – and we all know how difficult it is to keep up with these changes – but NAFA and our annual conference has the solution. We’re moving and changing in pace with – and often ahead of – the changes taking in our industry. All you need to do is attend the conference and experience it for yourself.
I hope to see you in Louisville this April. You can find out more info and register for the conference at www.nafainstitute.org. Just don’t be surprised if I move the furniture around a bit from day to day!
P.S. My staff has put together an awesome “Attendee Toolkit” to provide even greater resources for you to justify attending the conference. Check these out by clicking on these links:
For more information about NAFA’s Institute & Expo and to register, visit the official conference website: http://www.NAFAInstitute.org.
About NAFA’s Institute & Expo
NAFA’s annual Institute & Expo conference is the largest gathering of fleet and mobility managers. The event program, created by fleet managers for fleet managers, features fleet training sessions, education, and workshops; and an Expo floor with more than 250 companies showcasing their products and services. The 2019 Institute & Expo is April 15-17, in Louisville, Ky. More information and registration details can be found at http://www.nafainstitute.org.
About NAFA Fleet Management Association
NAFA Fleet Management Association is the trade organization for professionals who manage the mobility requirements and vehicle fleets of sedans, public safety vehicles, trucks, and buses of all types and sizes; and a wide range of military and off-road equipment for corporations, governments, universities, utility fleets, and law enforcement in North America and across the globe. NAFA’s members are responsible for the specification, acquisition, maintenance, repair, fueling, risk management, and remarketing of more than 4.6 million vehicles that drive an estimated 50 billion miles each year. NAFA’s members control assets and services well in excess of $100 billion each year.
For more information, please visit http://www.nafa.org,
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