Change is Good

People always talk about changing things in the new year, but how often does that talk lead to concrete action and results? Not as often as most of us would like, I'd wager.

That's why it is so good to see the kind of concrete action—and results—that we're starting to see from several new groups in the industry. Two of those changes you'll read about in this issue: the first annual Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) event in Las Vegas this January; and results of the Technology & Maintenance Council's (TMC) first annual SuperTech2005 Technician Skills Competition. The third is a new Task Force making its debut at the TMC Meeting and Expo this month in Tampa, FL. Thay all point to good things in 2006.

By the time you read this, the first HDAW will be one for the history books, but we at Fleet Maintenance have every confidence that this new industry event is going to be even bigger news in 2007.

By bringing together a variety of smaller industry groups under one umbrella, HDAW saves trucking industry professionals from having to pick and choose between smaller, distant events put on by more specialized organizations. Not only does it save travel time, it ensures that those who do make the trip to HDAW will get a lot of bang for their buck.

Perhaps the biggest change that will come from this event is that it should, in time, help aftermarket suppliers and fleet maintenance providers communicate better.

(We'll be part of that effort as well, as we add a significant new audience to Fleet Maintenance Magazine. Beginning this year, Fleet Maintenance will go out not only to professionals in fleet repair shops, but to those independent heavy-duty garages and truck stop service departments as well. We know that your vehicles are often serviced on the road, by independent providers; now they can get the same maintenance message that we share with you here on these pages.)

We're also excited to be a part of the TMC's successful efforts to enhance the profile of the heavy-duty service technician through such worthy efforts as the Professional Technician Development Committee, the "Friends of the Technician" group, and the SuperTech Competition.

We were proud to be one of only a handful of Platinum Sponsors to help get the first SuperTech2005 off the ground last fall in Valley Forge, PA, and we'll be a part of the competition this year in Austin, TX, as well.

As you'll read in this issue, SuperTech2005 was a massive success, bringing in 67 talented competitors from around the country. I've been in on the planning of this event from the beginning, and I have been impressed from the start by the level of energy and commitment the TMC and the SuperTech volunteers have brought to this event. There was no way anyone involved was going to settle for anything less than perfect, and it showed in the final result.

How can we tell? TMC has already committed to making SuperTech a regular highlight of its annual Fall Meeting. Individuals and corporations are already lining up to take part in this years' event, and you can bet that there will be more than 67 entrants next time around!

The final item of exciting news is very special to us at Fleet Maintenance. Since we have started to devote editorial space to State Maintenance Councils, we have become the "go-to guys" for information on State Councils. And this month we will be part of the TMC's new Task Force dedicated to "Starting a State Maintenance Council."

We are already watching an effort in Maryland to revive a once active State Maintenance Council, and an effort in Missouri to start a new one from the ground up. Are there more out there that we don't know about yet? Let me know at

Things are changing all over. Here's to a happy, and dynamic, 2006!