ATD welcomes new chairman, names trucks of the year

Richard W. Witcher addressed the American Truck Dealers (ATD) for the first time as chairman yesterday during the group’s Convention and Expo in Las Vegas. Witcher replaces Kyle Treadway, who encouraged members to embrace changes in the industry in his opening speech.

“I am humbled to accept Kyle’s gavel,” said Witcher, CEO of Minuteman Trucks in Walpole, MA, adding that he plans to continue many of the strategic goals that Treadway had begun.

The group also announced its Commercial Truck of the Year awards, handing Peterbilt Motors Co.’s 587 tractor the top honor in the Class 8 division and the Peterbilt Model 210 low cab forward model the honor in Class 3-7.

Other trucks in the running in the heavy-duty category included the Freightliner 114SD conventional dump truck, International ProStar Plus tractor with MaxxForce 15 engine, and theKenworth T660 regional hauler with Paccar MX engine. The medium-duty truck entries were the Fuso Canter FE160 low cab forward, Isuzu NPR-HD Gas, Kenworth T440 Conventional and UD Trucks’ 2600 low cab forward.

ATD said the judges considered the trucks’ overall appearance, cab comfort, noise levels, roominess and other factors.

In his speech, Witcher encouraged members to stay abreast of state and local legislative initiatives.

Treadyway, chairman of ATD since 2009 and president of Kenworth Sales Co. in Salt Lake City, emphasized technology in his opening address on Saturday.

“Modern technology is more powerful than we all realized,” said Treadway, pointing to regulatory changes as well as a predicted doubling of current freight volumes by 2035. “And change will come with or without our cooperation.”

“We need to understand the long range ramifications of these dynamics and comprehend how to adapt,” he added. “What customer service extras will become ‘must haves’? How will we price our products and transact our services?”

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