Fountainebleu Las Vegas
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Fount of Knowledge: NTTC heads to Vegas for 2024 Annual Conference

April 24, 2024
Yearly gathering of tank truck executives, suppliers set for May 4-7 includes North American safety awards, Driver of the Year presentation, industry updates, and more

National Tank Truck Carriers, the tank truck industry’s top trade organization, found itself in a difficult position after the Covid-19 pandemic forced association leaders to scrub several shows, including the 75th anniversary-edition of NTTC’s Annual Conference, and reorganize its event calendar.

Four years later, the group is emerging more effective than ever.

NTTC’s staff and membership are expanding, the association introduced a new safety championship and industry branding campaign last year, leaders recently approved the largest political action committee (PAC) disbursement plan in NTTC history, and the restructured schedule of events is gaining momentum, with the recent Executive Forum in Florida joining the Annual Conference and Tank Truck Week as a third must-attend event for bulk carriers, fleets, and suppliers.

“We’ve really hit our stride now, with the changes to our events,” said Ryan Streblow, NTTC president and CEO. “We hosted critical executive business sessions at the Executive Forum, and now, as we move into our Annual Conference, this is where we take the opportunity to recognize the best carriers and fleets in the industry and celebrate the best drivers in our segment. We’ll also look at some high-level economic factors some people may see as tailwinds, and others may see as headwinds.

“And as we move into the later part of the year, our team already is doing an excellent job of lining up Tank Truck Week, which will cover a lot of key operations, maintenance, and safety topics—all at one event.”

The 2024 Annual Conference, in which NTTC will crown the 2023 for-hire carrier and private-fleet champions, and the 2023-24 Professional Tank Truck Driver of the Year, is set for May 4-7 at the new Fontainebleau Las Vegas resort and casino, where association leaders expect over 500 attendees to assemble. “It’s an impressive property that’s in the upper echelon of the Las Vegas strip,” Streblow said.

“The level of detail is amazing—and it’s been a long time coming.”

Parade of champions

So was NTTC’s inaugural private-fleet accolade, which Gemini Motor Transport, the main fuel hauler for Love’s Travel Stops, secured in an historic win at the Encore Boston Harbor hotel. Gemini previously collected a prestigious Heil trophy for elite safety operations in 2017 while competing in the for-hire carrier category. “We wanted to make sure we’re recognizing fleets that have like operations, so it was time for us to break off that private-fleet award, just based on their business model and applications, while at the same time making sure the recognition across the board for all three carriers and fleets remains at that high level it’s been known for, for decades,” Streblow explained.

The second private-fleet award finalists, who earned Grand Awards in the Competitive Safety Contest—the first round of the North American Safety Awards—are Gemini (Class 1), CLI Transport (Class 2), Irving Oil (Class 3), Poolsure (Class 4), Chevron Phillips Chemical (Class 5), and Cato (Class 5).

The Canadians swept the two for-hire carrier awards last year.

Tandet Group, based in Oakville, Ontario, claimed the top honor in the Harvison division, which includes carriers whose trucks travelled more than 15 million miles; and Harmac Transportation, in nearby North York, won in the Sutherland division, for carriers whose trucks logged less than 15 million miles. Tandet, which prevailed in the Sutherland division in 2018, is the first company to win in both categories.

The 2023 safety championship finalists include Trimac Transportation (Class 1), Groendyke Transport (Class 2)—the only eight-time winner—Western Dairy Transport (Class 3), Slay Transportation (Class 4), and Service Transport Company (Class 5) in the Harvison division; and G&D Trucking/Hoffman Transportation (Class 6), Reed Hurst Trucking (Class 7), Alaska West Express (Class 8), Ee-Jay Motor Transports (Class 9), MBH Trucking (Class 9), and Ventura Transfer Company (Class 10) in the Sutherland division.

Finally, this year’s finalists for the William A. Usher Sr. trophy include Cox Petroleum’s John Contreras and Robert “Newt” Newsome, Grammer Logistics’ Brian Jennings and Mark Schroyer, Highway Transport’s Edward Heard Jr., Kenan Advantage Group’s Bill McNamee, Eagle Transport Corporation’s Wayne Moody, and Usher Transport’s Dave Powell. This is the first time two companies each have two finalists.

“These groups continue to not just meet, but exceed the mark of excellence with their professionalism, industry involvement, and engagement in their communities and companies,” Streblow said. “But it says a lot when you have two companies with two drivers. This recognition is for drivers—not their employers—but they’re clearly doing it right to be able to recruit and retain elite drivers.”

Previous winners of the NTTC Driver of the Year award include:

  • 2013-14: James Starr, Groendyke Transport
  • 2014-15: Bobby Weller, Hahn Transportation
  • 2015-16: Darryl Nowell, Eagle Transport
  • 2016-17: Todd Stine, Carbon Express
  • 2017-18: Paul Emerson, Foodliner
  • 2018-19: Barbara Herman, K-Limited Carrier
  • 2019-20: Program suspended due to pandemic
  • 2020-21: Ron Baird, G&D Trucking/Hoffman Transportation
  • 2021-22: Thomas Frain, Highway Transport
  • 2022-23: Kenneth Tolliver, G&D Trucking/Hoffman Transportation

Shifting schedule

The association will host two PAC events to support its plan to disburse a record $175,000 in contributions that support industry advocacy. Instead of a golf outing, NTTC is holding a Kentucky Derby kickoff event at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4 at The Tavern in Fontainebleu—on the same day of the 150th running of “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports”—with food, drinks, and prizes for a “nominal” suggested donation of $250; and the more formal NTTC PAC reception is set for 5 p.m. Monday, May 6.

NTTC also shifted its closing-night gathering, the ACT 1 affair that served as the grand finale, to opening night, immediately following the chairman’s reception in the exhibit hall, which opens at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, May 5. Now, the North American Safety Award luncheon, which starts at noon Tuesday, May 7, will close out the Annual Conference, leaving attendees to enjoy the evening in Vegas, or head home early.

“We’ve had a great response to that shift in schedule,” Streblow attested.

Guest speakers include keynote Ben Newman, a speaker, entrepreneur, and philanthropist hailed as the foremost “continuous peak performance coach” in the country; Bob Costello, American Trucking Associations chief economist, who will present his “Tank Truck Market Analysis” report; Kim Beck, Cottingham & Butler vice president of benefits consulting, who will deliver the tank/bulk edition of the Trucking Benchmark Compensation & Benefits survey; Bob Davis, Drōv Technologies VP of business development; and Daniel Stein, The Chlorine Institute senior director of product stewardship and analysis.

“I’m looking forward to another great event,” Streblow concluded.

NTTC’s North American safety champions over the last 50 years:

  • 1973: Groendyke Transport, Enid, Okla.
  • 1974: W.S. Hatch, Woods Cross, Utah
  • 1975: Groendyke Transport, Enid, Okla.
  • 1976: Younger Brothers, Houston, Texas
  • 1977: DSI Transports, Houston, Texas
  • 1978: Lemmon Transport Company, Marion, Va.
  • 1979: Rogers Cartage, Oak Lawn, Ill.
  • 1980: Wheeler Transport Service, Omaha, Neb.
  • 1981: DSI Transports, Houston, Texas
  • 1982: DSI Transports, Houston, Texas
  • 1983: Rogers Cartage, Oak Lawn, Ill.
  • 1984: Ruan Transport, Des Moines, Iowa
  • 1985: Younger Brothers, Houston, Texas
  • 1986: Ruan Transport, Des Moines, Iowa
  • 1987: Manfredi Motor Transit Company, Newbury, Ohio
  • 1988: Boncosky Transportation, Algonquin, Ill.
  • 1989: Enterprise Transportation, Houston, Texas
  • 1990: Groendyke Transport, Enid, Okla.
  • 1991: Groendyke Transport, Enid, Okla.
  • 1992: Manfredi Motor Transit Company, Newbury, Ohio
  • 1993: Manfredi Motor Transit Company, Newbury, Ohio
  • 1994: Roeder Cartage, Lima, Ohio
  • 1995: Manfredi Motor Transit Company, Newbury, Ohio
  • 1996: Matlack, Wilmington, Del.
  • 1997: Manfredi Motor Transit Company, Newbury, Ohio
  • 1998: Transport Service Company, Hinsdale, Ill.
  • 1999: Groendyke Transport, Enid, Okla.
  • 2000: Groendyke Transport, Enid, Okla.
  • 2001: Usher Transport, Louisville, Kentucky
  • 2002: Trimac Transportation, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 2003: Mission Petroleum Carriers, Houston, Texas
  • 2004: A&R Transport, Joliet, Ill.
  • 2005: Distribution Technologies (formerly Manfredi), Newbury, Ohio
  • 2006: Miller Transporters, Jackson, Miss.
  • 2007: Trimac Transportation, Calgary, and Houston, Texas
  • 2008: Jack B. Kelley, Amarillo, Texas
  • 2009: Andrews Logistics, Irving, Texas
  • 2010: A&R Transport, Joliet, Ill.
  • 2011: Florida Rock & Tank Lines, Jacksonville, Fla.
  • 2012: Usher Transport, Louisville, Kentucky
  • 2013: Superior Carriers, Oak Brook, Ill.
  • 2014: Tidewater Transit, Harvison; Wynne Transport, Sutherland
  • 2015: Miller Transporters, Harvison; Carbon Express, Sutherland
  • 2016: Groendyke Transport, Harvison; GLS Transport, Sutherland
  • 2017: Gemini Motor Transport, Harvison; G&D Trucking/Hoffman Transportation, Sutherland
  • 2018: Groendyke Transport, Harvison; Tandet Logistics, Sutherland
  • 2019: Trimac Transportation, Harvison; G&D Trucking/Hoffman Transportation, Sutherland
  • 2020: Suttles Truck Leasing, Harvison; LSP Transport, Sutherland
  • 2021: Service Transport Company, Harvison; Lacy’s Express, Sutherland
  • 2022: Tandet Logistics, Harvison; Harmac Transportation, Sutherland; Gemini Motor Transport, private
About the Author

Jason McDaniel

Jason McDaniel, based in the Houston TX area, has more than 20 years of experience as an award-winning journalist. He spent 15 writing and editing for daily newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle, and began covering the commercial vehicle industry in 2018. He was named editor of Bulk Transporter and Refrigerated Transporter magazines in July 2020.