Josh Fisher | FleetOwner
Gary Petty, CEO of the National Private Truck Council, opens up NPTC 2024 in Orlando, Florida.

NPTC renews focus on private fleets’ future

April 22, 2024
As the trucking and fleet industry faces ‘a lot of change,’ the annual gathering of corporate fleet executives is focused on how their operations can thrive. The National Private Truck Council also recognized some of its top leaders.

ORLANDO, Florida—The National Private Truck Council opened its 2024 convention here in one of America’s top vacation destinations, ready to get to work. With significant challenges ahead, the transportation executives for various corporations are focused on trucking’s future and how their fleet operations adapt and thrive. 

The annual convention drew another large registration, among its highest on record, with the most exhibitors and sponsors in the council’s 85-year history. 

NPTC CEO Gary Petty, who also serves as event emcee, is lightning-fast with one-liners as he introduced speakers and award winners during the general session on Sunday. He has a personal story about every person who speaks. Petty loves to share the stories of his members, so many of whom he’s watched thrive in their transportation careers.

See also: FleetOwner 500: Top Private Fleets of 2024

“I’d like to put a vision in your head of where you’d like to be in your career 10, 15 years from now,” Petty told attendees after NPTC handed out several executive awards. “Imagine yourself being that person and being among the people on this stage receiving these awards.”

Unlike other trucking industry events focused more on the for-hire side of the industry, the attendees here at NPTC are all part of transportation divisions that support their parent companies. Private fleet leaders are always justifying their operations—and looking for any edge they can get.

“If we don’t continue to improve as private fleets, we know what our options are,” Bedford Monday, NPTC treasurer and Schwan Food Co.’s director of warehouse operations, said during the general session. “Our presidents, our CEOs will find an option to improve—and we need to make sure that we are the best at what we do. And we should never forget that.”

New NPTC Chairman David Barth, an active NPTC member since 2000, said the council has benefited his managerial career and his fleet’s success. “I found it truly remarkable to see the growth of NPTC’s influence on the private fleet industry,” said Barth, transportation operations manager of Wegmans Food Markets. “With every metric of success, the council continues to have a broader and more influential impact on member companies, fleet managers, and suppliers.

One of NPTC’s draws for transportation leaders of some of the most well-known corporations in America is its reserve. Its 25 educational workshops are strictly limited to council members so they can speak freely. This year’s sessions focused on trucking’s autonomous future, building strong teams, regulation reviews, electric trucks, driver hiring, and more. 

See also: Top CTP grad ‘beyond excited’ to take career to next level

“The fact that we feel a strong sense of safety, trust, and confidentiality is a testament to the quality of the companies and the people who make up NPTC membership,” Barth said during his first address as chairman.

On Monday, Barth said he’s seen NPTC grow during his 20 years with it. “We’re an organization of people,” he said during his general session address. “That’s what we do. That’s who we are.”

He said that during his 20 years with NPTC, he’s made lifelong friends who have helped improve his career, and he encouraged attendees to do the same. “Just engage with folks and get new friends because they will help you throughout your career, throughout your journey as you grow. There’s been a lot of change in transportation for many years and there’s going to be more.”

NPTC 2024 Professional Leadership Awards

As council members and conference attendees settled in for three days of events here at the Orange County Convention Center, Petty and his team recognized several executives and organizations for their contributions to the industry and the council with awards sponsored by E.A. Dion

“Since 1990, these Professional Leadership Awards have honored individuals and companies that have positively impacted NPTC and the industry,” stated Gary Petty, NPTC president and CEO. “We extend our thanks and appreciation to the 2024 award winners.”

Dan Smith Lifetime Achievement Award: Chuck Amen

The Council’s top award, the Dan Smith Lifetime Achievement Award, was presented to Chuck Amen, CTP. Amen is the corporate transportation operations manager for Hillyard Inc. With more than 30 years of transportation experience, Amen is a past NPTC chairman. He began employment with Hillyard in 2001 and currently oversees a private fleet that delivers to 29 distribution centers and more than 100 independent distributors in 48 states. Amen has been active with NPTC for over 15 years.

See also: Hillyard Inc, a private fleet to watch

Private Fleet Executive of the Year Award: John Gillenwater

John Gillenwater, CTP, was named the Private Fleet Executive of the Year. He is vice president of fleet operations and CSO at HC Transport. Gillenwater started working in transportation, logistics, warehousing, and driving 35 years ago. He has been with HC Transport, the private fleet for Home City Ice since 2017. Earlier in his career, he managed the private fleet of Gates Corporation as the corporate transportation manager and was with Aurora Casket Company as logistics operations manager.

Private Fleet Manager of the Year: Keith McWilliams

Keith McWilliams, CTP, director of compliance for Performance Food Group, was named the Private Fleet Manager of the Year. He served in previous transportation leadership roles at Core-Mark and the Kellogg Company, was director of transportation for Batesville Casket, and held various roles with Perrier Group of America/Nestle Waters. Keith served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps before retiring as a major.

Private Fleet Safety Professional of the Year: Ed Reardon

Ed Reardon, CTP, EHS fleet safety and compliance manager for CF Logistics, a division of Giorgi Companies, was named the Private Fleet Safety Professional of the Year. Reardon started his career as an OTR truck driver and decided after 22 years to complete his college education. After graduation, he began his management and logistics career as a fleet manager and contract trainer. In his current role, Reardon works with the management teams of various units of the company to guide them toward a mindset of safety and compliance to create a safety culture.

NPTC Excellence in Membership Award (Fleet): Steven Roberts

A supply chain and logistics professional for more than three decades, Steven Roberts, CTP, is manager of fleet operations for Deseret Transportation, the private fleet of The Church of Latter-Day Saints. Roberts was recognized with the NPTC Excellence in Membership Award (Fleet). His responsibilities include information systems, asset management, strategic planning, maintenance, regulatory compliance, fuel storage, and safety.

NPTC Excellence in Membership Award (Allied): Kat Jones

Kat Jones, Fleet Advantage’s chief marketing officer, received the NPTC Excellence in Membership Award (Allied). Fleet Advantage is an NPTC-Five Star member company. Jones has received numerous awards for her professional accomplishments and contributions to charitable organizations. For the past eight years, Petty said she has been an invaluable member of the NPTC Annual Conference Planning Committee and has participated in every Annual Conference for 10 consecutive years.

Allied Member of the Year: J.J. Keller & Associates

The Allied Member of the Year Award was presented to J.J. Keller & Associates Inc., a provider of fleet compliance and safety products and services. With more than 2,000 associates, Keller serves more than 600,000 customers including 90% of Fortune 500 companies. A long-standing Five-Star member of NPTC, Keller is the official sponsor of NPTC’s Certified Transportation Professional (CTP) program; sponsor of the NPTC/Keller annual webcast series on fleet management and safety compliance, and sponsor of NPTC’s CTP Insider quarterly newsletter. Keller is a regular exhibitor at NPTC events and a platinum sponsor of the Council’s Annual Conference and Trade Show.

About the Author

Josh Fisher | Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Josh Fisher has been with FleetOwner since 2017, covering everything from modern fleet management to operational efficiency, artificial intelligence, autonomous trucking, regulations, and emerging transportation technology. He is based in Maryland. 

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