The Last Word

Just strummin' along Freightliner's Michael Jackson, general manager of product marketing and strategy, and Christoph Hofmann, director of product strategy, hit the road to visit customers this year behind the wheel of a Cascadia highway tractor. The two executives report the seven-day road trip gave them unique insight into the daily trials and tribulations of their customers. And they found a sense

Just strummin' along

Freightliner's Michael Jackson, general manager of product marketing and strategy, and Christoph Hofmann, director of product strategy, hit the road to visit customers this year — behind the wheel of a Cascadia highway tractor. The two executives report the seven-day road trip gave them unique insight into the daily trials and tribulations of their customers. And they found a sense of humor sustained them on their cross-country jaunt — quickly dubbing themselves the “Road Cowboys,” they worked on their air guitar skills as they rolled up the miles.

Stacks up

Rhonda and Norman Pike of Denham Springs, LA, drove off with the “Best of Show” award from the East Coast Trucking Nationals at Virginia Motor Sports Park in Petersburg, VA, earlier this year for their 1998 Peterbilt, dubbed “Ole Rag.” Meredith Ochs and Chris T., hosts of Freewheelin' on Sirius satellite radio Road Dog channel 147, presented the award to the Pikes. The custom trophy was fashioned by the Pickett Brothers, two of the designers on CMT's Trick My Truck TV show.

“As an Indiana company, we understand the importance of preserving Hoosier heritage,” said Glen Dunkerson, president & COO of Atlas Van Lines. “We're honored that our team was chosen for this unique shipment, and it was our pleasure to donate our services and ensure the safe transport of these precious mementos.”

Atlas' Specialized Transportation Group provided van operators that specialize in transporting art to load and transport the goods, and Shetler Moving & Storage provided point-of-origin specialists to pack and crate the art. When the shipment arrived in Vincennes, Bob Shetler, president of Shetler Moving & Storage, personally opened and inspected each painting.

“We are involved in high-value shipments almost daily,” said Shetler. “It was extremely gratifying to be part of this project and help bring these valuable paintings back to Indiana. We're a family business that's been in this area for more than 100 years, so this was a great opportunity to give back to our community.”

Don't look back

That cruiser coming up on you like a bolt of lightning may one day be a Lotus — and a low-carbon one at that. Atlanta-based Carbon Motors Corp. (www.carbonmotors.com) and England's famed Lotus Engineering have announced they will develop “the world's first purpose-built law enforcement patrol vehicle,” a lighter, faster police cruiser designed to significantly cut CO2 emissions and boost fuel economy by 30% to 50% at the same time.

“We have been seeking a world-class high technology engineering alliance that would help us provide the best possible vehicle for our country's First Responders — we have found that in Lotus Engineering,” said William Santana Li, chairman & CEO of Carbon Motors.

Success story

Facing a bleak economic landscape, in 1982 International Harvester Co.-forerunner of today's International Truck and Engine Corp. - turned over its full-service leasing franchise to 11 International truck dealers who then launched Idealease of North America. By the end of 1983, 125 U.S. and Canadian International dealers had opened Idealease locations and now, a quarter century, there are 420 Idealease operations in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Expansion efforts are ongoing, with Idealease affiliates set to open in Colombia and Honduras.

“Our principles haven't changed since our first day in business,” says Bill Kennedy, president of Idealease. “We continue to serve our customers with the flexibility, responsiveness and innovation we're known for.”

“International dealers that choose to establish an affiliate Idealease operation at their location are gaining a significant advantage,” adds David Johanneson, group vp, International Truck and Engine.

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