At a time of economic downturn and business turmoil in general, fleet professionals are searching for new ideas and programs which bring the greatest value to their operations.

In this climate, and with these expectations in mind, NPTC has lined up its major events for 2009 with the goal of returning optimal benefits for participants. These meetings are “must attend” for all private fleet professionals and should be budgeted in your professional development plans for the year ahead.

Here's why. Opportunities to realize five, ten, fifty times and more value than the cost of participation are typical of NPTC meetings. Many members report they return from these meetings with many more new ways of doing business than can be implemented at one time. The challenge is to pick the best among several excellent approaches and put them immediately into practice. At this year's annual conference, a director of transportation from a new fleet member company learned an improved way to calculate fuel surcharges. This one idea alone — discovered only because he attended our conference — is projected to save the company more than $1 million a year. The fully loaded cost of his participation was around $2,500.

Here are four 2009 NPTC events you should attend:

  • Private Fleet Management Institute, Jacksonville, Fla., Jan. 17-21: The cost of this intense, five-day immersion course in private fleet management is only $1,800 (unchanged in ten years), and the hotel room rate is $119. The return-on-investment cost ratio of money to time expended for fleet professionals can range from 20-1 to 50-1. One attendee found $ 7 million in savings from attending the PFMI compared to under $5,000 in out-of-pocket cost to his company.

  • Certified Transportation Professional (CTP): This certification credential, the only one in the transportation industry for private fleet professionals, is the gold standard of education and knowledge. The costs are $495 for the eligibility application; $195 for the exam application; and an optional $330 for the Exam Prep Workshop, which takes place one day before the start of the PFMI. The ROI of this program can be literally millions of dollars annually in continuous improvement and “raising the bar.”

  • NPTC Annual Conference, Nashville, May 3-5: The major focus of this event will be on fuel conservation management programs and practices from the private fleet perspective. Two special back-to-back general sessions on this subject and some twenty specialty workshops covering a range of topics will focus on successful private fleet practices and strategies. Costs for fleet member registration are as low as $625 (unchanged in ten years), and the hotel daily rate is $165. Evaluations from fleet attendees typically place the ROI of this event in “multiples” of actual expense outlay to attend.

  • National Safety Conference, Washington, D.C. (Dulles, Va.), Sept. 2009: This event hits hot-button subjects like innovative driver wellness, including driver physiology impairment; technology tracking of driver safety; and emerging safety technology. The cost is only $395 (unchanged in seven years). Participants often say that one idea alone plucked from this event pays for attendance “ten-fold.”

Summing up, the annual cost of participation in these four key events, an outlay of under $10,000, annually yields millions of dollars in savings, innovations and added safety and efficiency to a private fleet operation.

That's real “take-home pay” in anyone's book.


Gary Petty is president and CEO of the National Private Truck Council. The council's web site is www.nptc.org. His column appears monthly in FLEET OWNER.