It’s been nearly a month since I stepped into this role as your ATD Chairman, and I want to tell you how extremely humbling it is for this second-generation dealer, proud Hoosier, and long-time ATD supporter to be in the driver’s seat of our great association. I am proud to serve and advocate for my fellow dealers, and this year I want to make sure every member is fully vested in ATD.
The greatest secret of ATD is that you—our valued member—might not be taking advantage of your membership. I learned years ago that ATD offers so much to all its members. But how many of these resources are you actually utilizing?
Many people know about our renowned ATD Academy and 20-Group programs, but many have yet to attend. Take advantage of the ATD Academy’s intensive, instructor-led classes at our headquarters in Tysons, VA. The curriculum includes topics on everything you need to be successful in 2020—including financial management, employee retention and business leadership. But ATD Academy offers so much more. Mark your calendar for Academy’s latest fall seminars which are geared toward department managers. The service seminar is scheduled for October 19-23 in Dallas, and the parts seminar will be on October 26-30 in Tysons. I encourage every member to send an employee so they can experience how good business leaders became great.
If you cannot come to ATD, ATD comes to you: there is a world of resources you can access from the convenience of your computer. ATD/NADA offers hundreds of online courses that are free to members, including ATD Show workshop recordings, key webinars, expert publications and other valuable resources that help improve your business performance.
Yet, I must ask: how many Driven Guides have you downloaded or shared with others in your dealership? These guides also come with your membership, and the subjects tackle everything from tax changes to performance measurement. Most of all, being aware of our industry issues is so critical because our truck dealership landscape is constantly evolving. Make logging onto the ATD website a habit and keep up with us through the ATD Insider newsletter, which arrives in your email inbox each week if you are subscribed.
I urge you to use what you are paying for with your ATD dues: the education, the training and the multimedia resources at your fingertips. ATD members—all of us—have an enormous task: we must look far down the road so we can spot trouble before it starts. America’s trucks are built better than ever but that doesn’t make the commercial truck industry any easier. And challenges facing dealers in this new decade will bring disruption to the dealer model, including onerous legislation and regulations, autonomous technology and electrification. We’re also seeing projections of a market slow-down, a drop in build-rates for trucks, and used truck values are tenuous. Moreover, we need to work harder to retain and recruit diesel technicians and prevent a workforce shortage in our dealerships. All of these issues are on ATD’s radar. So use your membership, take advantage of it, and encourage others to do the same.
I’m excited about what this new decade holds for the truck dealers of America! And I’m confident that, together, we can successfully steer our way through the challenges of the next two years.