How Great Dane Brought the Future Back at TMC

Great Dane’s Executive Vice President of Sales Chris Hammond attended the 2018 TMC Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition. Here are his takeaways from the event.

“The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?” – Doc Brown, “Back to the Future”

I think this quote from “Back to the Future” helps sum up the Great Dane booth at this year’s TMC Exhibition. While there weren’t any actual DeLorean’s in the booth, there were a whole lot of futuristic technologies on display, and in true Great Dane fashion, they were showcased with style.

Trailers, Truck Bodies and Technologies

During the three days of exhibition at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, we showed off our prowess for the future by featuring some of our premium trailer and truck body designs as well as an ultramodern Innovation Center that highlighted some exciting products we’ve been working on with our supplier partners. For example, our partners at Microban International helped show just how effective our antimicrobial reefer linings are at preventing stains and odors by hosting a “Smell Bar” in the booth where visitors could sniff test different scents. Personally, I preferred the beer and popcorn bar we had in the booth on Tuesday, but this was definitely a hit with attendees.

The Innovation Center also featured several technologies we’re researching and developing alongside our supplier partners. We highlighted Plasma Stream’s aerodynamic solutionsConMet’s regenerative braking technologyArconic’s lightweight aluminum alloyseNow’s solar panel technologyJOST’s auto-coupling solutions and Volpe’s side underride guards. There was a lot of interest around these innovations in the booth, and I’m thrilled that Great Dane is playing a part in bringing technologies like these and others to the marketplace.

From my perspective, the biggest hit in the booth was the use of augmented reality (AR) to educate visitors on what our FleetPulse telematics system can do. We will always remember 2018 as the year we took Great Dane into the future, because FleetPulse will be the biggest change to our company and the industry since we introduced the first refrigerated trailer to the marketplace nearly 70 years ago. Let’s just say, if trailers and truck bodies are our DeLorean’s, then FleetPulse is our flux capacitor.

There was also a lot of interest from refrigerated fleets wanting to test out our Johnson AE Series reefer unit on their new Great Dane truck bodies. This all-electric system is a game changer for our industry as fleets look more and more towards electrification.

Beyond the Booth

There were many excellent sessions at the conference this year and we were proud to have two members from our Engineering team – Chris Lee, VP of Engineering and Dennis Skaradzinski, Chief Engineer – put their leadership into action as they helped lead discussions about the future of trailers and connected technology.

Of course, my favorite part of any event is the “off the court” time with our customers and supplier partners. This year, we got to host our guests for a special event at the College Football Hall of Fame. It was a memorable evening as we shared stories of our teams on the field and in the industry (by the way, go Dawgs!). There is nothing in the world like being with these people who help keep us moving forward. To call these folks our friends, would be an understatement.

We really do work in a great industry, and we have the very best partners. I can’t wait to see where the future will take us from here.