What To Do About Tomorrow’s Maintenance Challenges?

That is the focus of this year’s Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) Fall Meeting

Planning for the future is no easy task. For one thing, there are a great number of variables to consider, and often, these variables are very complex. For another, it is impossible to imagine every aspect of the future.

On top of this, there is the anxiety and fear that typically comes with branching out in new and unexpected directions.

English industrialist Sir John Harvey-Jones observed: “Planning is an unnatural process; it is much more fun to do something. The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression.

My beloved father used to say: “Thinking well is wise. Planning well is wiser.”

To help vehicle maintenance managers plan wisely for the future, TMC – North America’s premier technical society for truck equipment technology and maintenance professionals – has created this year’s annual fall meeting around the theme: Forging Solutions for Tomorrow’s Maintenance Challenges. That meeting is set for this September 10 to 13 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

With its diverse membership of equipment managers, service dealers, owner operators, industry suppliers and manufacturers, educators, academia and others that support the trucking industry, TMC works together to improve transport equipment, its maintenance and maintenance management.

TMC is a technical council of American Trucking Associations (ATA) – the national trade association for the trucking industry. It is a federation of affiliated state trucking associations, conferences and organizations that includes more than 37,000 motor carrier members representing every type and class of motor carrier in the country.


An integral element of the annual TMC Fall Meeting is a comprehensive collection of equipment related educational sessions. Among the sessions on the schedule for this year are:

Integrating Hybrid Powertrain Technologies for Commercial Vehicle Applications

One of the leading fleets in North America investigating hybrid technology is the United States Army, through its U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development & Engineering Center’s National Automotive Center (TARDEC/NAC). It has a cooperative affiliation with TMC.

During this session, representatives from TARDEC/NAC will share the results of recently completed projects and ongoing activities, including:

Duty cycle data acquired at Ft. Carson, CO, that is being evaluated to identify best fit alternate propulsion system vehicles to reduce operational energy costs and consumption.

A study on heavy duty diesel truck hybrid powertrains conducted to assess the performance of hybrids in use within commercial and vocational applications as a benchmark reference for the introduction of hybrids and electric vehicles to the U.S. Military ground vehicle fleet.

Joint activities with the Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF), including initiatives to expand and increase focus on electric and Class 8 hybrid propulsion system vehicles.

HTUF is a national, multi-year, user-driven program to speed the commercialization of hybrid, electric and advanced technologies for the medium and heavy duty industries. It is operated by CALSTART – North America’s leading clean transportation technologies and solutions consortium – in partnership with, and under contract to, TARDEC/NAC.

U.S. Army technology development collaboration initiatives with the Department of Energy, original equipment manufacturers and their suppliers and industry associations such as TMC.

Technician Recruitment and Development Strategies: Dealing with the Technician Shortage

During this session, panelists will address how their operations are preparing now to deal with technician recruitment and retention issues. Topics to be covered will include outreach strategies to middle and secondary schools; community-based education availability; trainee sponsorships and on-the-job training; changing expectations for new hires; retention strategies for keeping good technicians; and methods for attracting highly trained military veterans.

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