Dallas dazzles winners
Truck show the highlight
If there was one word that we kept hearing more than any other from the six winners of Shell Rimula’s 2018 Reward Program to Dallas, Texas, that was it.
Their five-night trip of a lifetime took in a night at the rodeo, a shooting range, a Dallas Cowboys NFL game at the 100,000-seat behemoth, the AT&T Stadium, and of course lashings of good ol’ Texan hospitality.
But of course, the primary reason for the long non-stop haul across the Pacific was to take in the biggest and flashiest industry shindigs of them all, the Great American Trucking Show (GATS).
The quartet from Buslink VIVO – Keith McArtney, Daryl Caesar, Wayne Burgess and Craig Harbeck – and Cahill Transport’s Joe Cahill and Killian Paasch had their work cut out getting around the 500,000 square feet inside the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Centre in Dallas.
More than 500 exhibitors jammed the floor space, spruiking more than 54,000 industry products.
They also had to compete for attention with back-to-back attractions at the busy health, business and recruitment pavilions.
“It was a massive show, nothing like we’ve seen before,” said Killian, the national planning manager for the 160 trucks in the nationwide fleet at Cahill Transport, based in Melbourne.
“One thing that stuck out was it was all about the driver and the driver’s well-being. A lot of stands were about nutrition for the driver, exercise, comfort and safety as well. It was very driver-focused, which I definitely found very interesting, and something that we probably don’t push enough in Australia.
“So that’s something I’ll definitely take back and look at.”
Joe, Cahill’s NT operations and warehouse manager based in Darwin, was also struck by the driver-focus at GATS. He was particularly impressed by the size of their sleeper cabs and their myriad creature comforts.
“Some of the cabins have got full-on lounges, kitchen tables and cooking facilities.”
Craig, the Darwin-based site manager for the biggest private bus company in Australia, was also impressed by the scale of the show, and the large percentage of classic trucks competing for selfies with the latest Freightliners and Kenworths.
For colleague Keith, Buslink VIVO’s fleet manager, one of his biggest takeaways was the fact no matter what country you are in, employers seem to be struggling to find drivers, as evidenced in Dallas by the number of sign-on incentives.
“Whether you’re a Toll or a Linfox, or a guy who’s got six trucks, everyone struggles with the same thing, so what do we need to do to attract people into the industry?
“Is that getting into the schools early? Is that doing graduate programs, adding on sign-on fees, better equipment? We really need to start thinking how we’re going to attract good quality people to get on board.”
LUCKY WINNERS: Daryl Caeser, Keith McArtney, Wayne Burgess, Craig Harbeck, Joe Cahill and Killian Paasch enjoy the show in Dallas.