PRINCETON, NJ - Annual conventions throughout the United States felt the sting of a weak economy in 2009. While the attendance numbers for NAFA's annual Institute & Expo (I&E) decreased less than the average conference (according to the American Society of Association Executives), NAFA enlisted its Board of Governors to examine the conference from the inside out and find ways to improve every aspect of the I&E. For over 50 years, NAFA's annual I&E has been the premier networking and education event for the fleet management industry; by being proactive, NAFA has not only taken steps to combat the weak economy, but has rebuilt the conference to ensure it remains the industry's premier event for the next 50 years.
NAFA's next I&E will take place April 24-27, 2010 in Detroit. The ideas taken from by the Board of Governors will be fully implemented in order to improve the overall I&E experience for attendees, increase the value for fleet managers, and entice more industry professionals to attend.
Significant improvements made for the 2010 I&E include:
Powerful Keynote Speakers - NAFA has extended an invitation to Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors to provide high-level Keynote Speakers for the general sessions. Since the I&E will be held in Detroit, this is a great opportunity for the Detroit Three to speak directly to the market that constitutes up to one-third of their annual sales. In addition, having these three powerful and influential Keynote Speakers is a rather compelling reason for fleet managers to attend the I&E. Note: Other fleet-minded OEMs will be invited if the Detroit Three cannot accept NAFA's invitation this year.
Revised Scheduling - Several changes have been made to the I&E schedule to offer attendees a better use of their time. Changes include offering advanced fleet management sessions geared towards veteran fleet managers as well as sessions planned by and geared towards commercial fleet managers, government fleet managers, and public safety fleet managers during every time slot of the I&E.
Increased Focus On The Expo Floor - The 2010 I&E will see an increased effort to keep fleet managers on the expo floor through a series of minor changes. For the first time, the Grand Celebration networking reception and dinner will take place directly on the Expo floor. NAFA's Green Fleet Awards presentation will take place during the Grand Celebration, so it will not take away from the business portion of the expo. Additionally, the Ride & Drive will take place Monday afternoon, after the Expo closes, in order to allow exhibitors the full attention of the attendees.
NAFA is also developing a special education program to help exhibitors attract more visitors to their booth. This program may involve such techniques as webinars, assistance with email marketing campaigns, and a virtual trade show.
I&E As Part Of Fleet Preview Week - Taking advantage of Detroit as the host city, NAFA is working on having the I&E sandwiched between two major fleet preview shows - GM's 2011 Fleet Preview prior to the I&E and Ford's 2011 Fleet Preview after the I&E. If NAFA is able to make this happen, it will offer fleet managers the opportunity to reduce the amount of travel time and expenses necessary to attend all three vital industry events - and help promote the I&E to fleet managers who will be in the city for the fleet previews that otherwise may not have attended the conference.
With these changes, NAFA confidently and boldly takes the I&E to a new level. The Association has no intention of having the I&E be thought of as just another fleet event, the goal is for the I&E to be the fleet event. Thanks to the work of NAFA's Board of Governors - volunteer fleet managers and affiliates covering every sector of the industry - that goal is in reach.
NAFA Fleet Management Association is a not-for-profit, individual membership professional society serving the needs of members who manage 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 organizations across the globe. NAFA is the association for the diverse vehicle fleet management profession regardless of organizational type, geographic location or fleet composition. NAFA's Full and Associate Members are responsible for the specification, acquisition, maintenance and repair, fueling, risk management, and remarketing of more than 3.5 million vehicles including in excess of 1.1 million trucks of which 350 thousand are medium- and heavy-duty trucks. For more information, visit www.nafa.org.