Despite industry conditions, The Great American Trucking Show experienced a slight increase in overall attendance over 2008, with significant improvement in highly qualified/fleet attendance at the show held Aug. 20-22 at the Dallas Convention Complex.
“We are very pleased with the results of this year’s GATS, as well as the attendee turnout,” says Mike Reilly, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Randall-Reilly, which owns GATS. “To attract so many highly qualified visitors, in such a challenging environment, is a testament to our commitment to deliver the attendees our customers are looking for.”
“Although the show floor was smaller than in 2008, we were very pleased with the support and participation of the 400-plus exhibiting companies,” says Alan K. Sims, GATS vice president/executive director. “We have received great feedback from exhibitors and are excited about the success of several new features we added to this year’s show.”
New events included the 2010 Engine Super Session and expanded educational opportunities offered through a reformatted educational track, called the TruckSmart Summit. “We are confident that the vital information delivered during these sessions contributed to the increase in the number and quality of this year’s attendees,” says Randy Davidson, GATS national sales director.
Show management reported overall visitor registrations grew from 44,669 in 2008 to 45,987, an increase of 2.9 percent. The largest registration increases were in the company driver (26.2 percent), executive management/owner (59.9 percent) and transportation operations/safety (37.3 percent) areas.
Many exhibitors commented positively on GATS attendees. “The quality of the average booth visitor or Engine Session attendee was very good,” says David McKenna, Mack Trucks director of powertrain marketing and sales.
“We had more quality contacts than ever before,” says Chris Wisnieski, Shur-Co branch manager. “The interesting part to me was the contacts we received from Central America.”
GATS also hosted the 2009 Truckload Carriers Association Independent Contractor Meeting. The event ran concurrent with GATS on Thursday and Friday and attracted several hundred attendees. TCA attendees were recognized as VIPs at several GATS events.
The 2009 Great American Trucking Show occupied more than 422,000 square feet of space within the Dallas Convention Center. Tradeshow Week, a leading industry publication, has recognized GATS as one of the “Fastest 50” – the fastest-growing events in the United States and Canada for 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. For nearly a decade, GATS has been recognized nationally as one of the “Tradeshow 200” events, which represent the 200 largest events in the United States and Canada.
Next year’s Great American Trucking Show will be held Aug. 26-28 at the Dallas Convention Center. Randall-Reilly also produces The Great West Truck Show, held annually in Las Vegas, Nev. The GWTS was recognized earlier this year as one of the Tradeshow Week “Fastest 50” shows for 2008.