Exceptional is the word that I believe best describes NATSO Connect 2019. Lisa Mullings, NATSO’s CEO and president, and all of her staff have to be thrilled with the success of this year’s event. I would name everyone, but I might inadvertently leave someone out. Congratulations to all as NATSO Connect matures and improves.
We gathered at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort in February for three-plus days of great events. There were 81 first-time attendees within the terrific group of operators who registered.
Monday morning started off with a new event for the NATSO Foundation. The NATSO Foundation is an important part of NATSO that oversees the investments people have made to make funds available for investments such as the Bill Moon Scholarship Fund, industry research and disaster relief. A fun run was organized to raise awareness and money for our foundation. There were a great number of participants enjoying a cool Florida morning beginning on the Disney Yacht Club Boardwalk. Congratulations to all participants and the eventual winners. 2019 is a great year to consider making a donation or even consider a three- to five-year pledge to the foundation.
Roaming around the Grand Harbor Convention Center was very informative. Tables were set up outside the ballroom for exhibitors. Inside the ballroom were lots of booths. Both areas were manned with people with detailed information. Chairman’s Circle members were on hand and sponsored keynote speakers shared insights throughout our events. Many thanks to Chairman’s Circle members, allied members and all exhibitors for their contributions. Many from these groups stepped up and paid for events and keynote speakers.
Topics for our keynote speakers were varied and informative. The following are topics that attendees were presented with: What are the changing needs of truckstops’ customers and their employees and how can smart truckstops meet them, how are government decisions today shaping your tomorrow, trucking experts explore changing driver needs, fuels expert provides deep dive in diesel fuel supply, demand and quality, and, last but not least, the session on the data and details truckstops need to get ready for the trucks and four- wheeler customers of the future. We all know that constant change is impacting the way our traditional customers make decisions on where and when they stop. These were all timely topics for those attending.
We had numerous breakout sessions for our attendees. NATSO H.R. Share Group, Renewable Fuels Master Class, Great Ideas for the Independent Operators Workshop and various Learning Labs helped us become better informed. Great leadership was present and informative.
Our attendees that registered for the Opening Night Party at Disney were treated by taking over Toy Story Land. This was a sold-out event that included riding the new Slinky Dog Dash Roller Coaster! A great time was had by all in attendance.
David Fialkov, NATSO’s vice president of government affairs, gave us a great overview of what we may be facing with our legislators in Washington, D.C. We have a lot of new faces in the House and small changes in the Senate. We know that the pressures are many! Voices for greenhouse gas legislation, human resource initiatives and taxation are just a few of the many hot discussions. Our NATSO PAC experienced exceptional contributions. Thanks to all who made this critical investment.
Our next gathering is NATSO Day on the Hill. Please register and attend this critical event. Your participation is essential. We have a goal for 100 attendees this year. If you have not gone to Washington, D.C., for this type of trip, rest assured you will be supported by staff members to make the visits to your respective legislators. Nothing communicates better to legislators than a personal visit by a constituent. The dates are May 14–16. Please mark your calendars. We need you there!
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