I&E 2023 provided the perfect opportunity to highlight the changes happening in our industry and how collectively we can ensure an exciting and vibrant future.
As I write, we have just returned from NAFA’s 2023 Institute & Expo (I&E) in Baltimore, Md. With approximately 2,000 attendees from the U.S., Canada and around the world, it was great to see so many people and the energy was electric. You got a real sense that everyone was thrilled to be there and came with a real sense of purpose. A lot of the event this year was built around the theme of innovation, including vehicle electrification which is currently at the top of many minds in the fleet management sector. We also had new exhibitors and announced our inaugural Innovation Showcase and awards for the best new products and services to the industry.
Specific Canadian content
For our Canadian attendees, there was also a special networking reception, as well as a specific Canadian workshop and legislative session. The latter received great feedback from attendees of our new legislative council. We’ve also been developing Fleet 101 online training with programs that are specifically targeted to Canadian fleet management operations. And to help, we’ve been getting some great input from individuals in Canada and in Ontario to ensure we provide valuable and specific content that they can implement in their organizations and across the industry.
Speaking of Ontario, I had the opportunity to recently attend the Local Networking Group event in Toronto and it was great to meet local members and provide updates on NAFA’s new Regional Format. Our regional councils are now up and running and we’re moving forward and hosting events., including some bigger ones planned for later in the year. We had a lot of good feedback and conversations regarding the new regional format at I&E this year, and it’s been very encouraging to see how different regions within the NAFA framework are moving forward with their own initiatives and having the opportunity to bring more members into the fold than was possible under the previous chapter format.
We’ve also had some very encouraging feedback and support from suppliers that are looking to host events, including educational sessions, and facility tours in conjunction with the specific regions. We really see this new regional format providing new and fresh opportunities to engage and support more members and suppliers which can only help benefit the association, our members, and the industry.
Another key strategy going forward is continuing to offer real education and ongoing certification for our members, both at the local and national levels. We’re in the process of launching a Safety Symposium which we are planning to offer at the regional level, plus we are also looking to develop more local study groups and sessions for our CAFM Certification programs, where people can come together and collectively study for them. We’re also launching new study guides and materials that the regions can use and share with their members. Beyond CAFM and Certification, we are also furthering general education and advocacy efforts at the provincial and state level. Our new legislative group will be providing opportunities to train people and get them involved as well as provide education on how to obtain funding and grants at both a provincial/state and federal level to help invest in infrastructure and other programs that benefit fleet operations.
As the industry moves forward, NAFA will continue to be at the forefront to ensure we have the information, support and initiatives that will help our members continue to drive success in both their own organizations and the fleet management sector as a whole.