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Phil Byrd, chairman of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and president and CEO of Bulldog Hiway Express, will be the featured speaker for ATA’s Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) Annual Meeting slated for March 10-13 in Nashville.

“TMC represents an important part of ATA and our industry – the suppliers, fleet managers and technicians that keep our nation’s trucks rolling,” Byrd said. “I’m looking forward to spending time with some of trucking’s finest technical minds in Nashville, and also attending what has become the top truck show in the country.”

Byrd also serves on the board of directors of the Truckload Carriers Association and on the advisory board of the American Transportation Research Institute. He is a two-time past chairman of the South Carolina Trucking Association, and formerly chairman of the South Carolina Maritime Association and the Charleston Motor Carrier Association.

TMC’s Transportation Technology Exhibition, held in conjunction with the annual meeting, will include more than 350 exhibitors featuring the latest technology to help fleets improve safety and efficiency. Trucking’s complete technology trade show will include the latest models of medium and heavy-duty vehicles, specialty and alternative-fueled vehicles, components, safety and information technology and services.

The meeting’s educational track will include 10 technical sessions led by leading industry suppliers and fleet managers. By attending the full technical session “Fuel Efficiency and Vehicle Emissions Regulations: Now and for the Foreseeable Future,” fleet managers will better understand new joint U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Transportation standards for carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption for combination tractors, heavy-duty pickup trucks/vans, and vocational vehicles.

Panelists for the technical session “The Low Down on Low-Viscosity Engine Oils” will discuss recently announced fuel efficiency standards and how engine manufacturers are exploring ways to achieve better fuel efficiency through low-viscosity engine oils.

Mini-technical sessions will include:

  • New Challenges for Today’s Vehicle Charging Systems and Beyond;
  • Benchmarking the Success of Your Tire Program;
  • The Great Refrigerant Conversion—Round Two: Anticipated A/C Refrigerant Changes;
  • Understanding the Reduced Stopping Distance Brake Technology & Resulting Maintenance Issues;
  • Understanding How Trailing Equipment Can Improve Overall Fuel Efficiency;
  • Right to Repair: Application Access to Service Material and Future of Advanced Diagnostics;
  • Fleet Experience and the Future of Hybrid Vehicles; and
  • Technician Retention Strategies for Fleets and Service Providers.

“These technical sessions provide fleet managers with new tools and information they can take back home and put to work to improve management and increase efficiency,” said TMC Technical Director Robert Braswell.

In related news, TMC is introducing a Certified Specialist Program for users of the Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards (VMRS), the industry standard coding convention for tracking equipment and maintenance information.

The Certified VMRS Specialist Program was established to provide current VMRS users a means of demonstrating their expertise and proficiency, and to create a greater awareness of the knowledge and use of VMRS. The program highlights the importance of VMRS to employers and encourages employees to continue their VMRS education. Certified VMRS Specialists will have an added credential that documents their expertise.

“VMRS has been an important tool for successful fleet operation for more than 40 years and now users can receive acknowledgment of their skills,” said Carl Kirk, ATA vice president for Maintenance, Information Technology & Logistics. “The Certified VMRS Specialist Program will help broaden the scope and importance of VMRS to the maintenance community.”

The certification testing process consists of 15 multiple choice and one essay question pertaining to the use and implementation of VMRS. The questions will assess an applicant’s knowledge of the VMRS coding structure and guidelines. The certification is valid for two years; applicants must retest to keep their status valid.

The certification testing will cost $100 for ATA/TMC members and $125 for non-members. In cases of a failing grade, one free retest will be administered. An applicant must obtain a passing grade of 80 percent to qualify for certification status. If an applicant fails both tests, all subsequent testing will be administered at full price.

Additional information on the VMRS Certified Specialist program is available by contacting Jack Poster, VMRS Services Manager, at 703-838-7928 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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