Through the decades: the Mid-America Trucking Show and trucking technology
The Mid-America Trucking Show happens every spring in Louisville, KY. The show brings together thousands of people from the trucking industry and has more than one million square feet of exhibits.
Hi 👋, I’m Kyle. I’m a Pre-Sales Consultant at Rose Rocket.
I’ve been attending the Mid-America Trucking Show for many years and I’m excited to share with you why I like this show, my history attending the show, as well as how I’ve seen the trucking industry transform.
Unlike most kids growing up, I knew what I wanted to do as far back as I can remember. I am fortunate to have been entrenched in the trucking industry for three decades by 39. I have had the opportunity to pinball through this industry, starting from pushing a broom in the shop at ten years old, to driving short/long haul, to becoming a Logistics Manager for a Transportation group. Through these experiences, I was able to see the transformation taking place around technology and culture in the trucking industry. I have watched these transformations take place and can only imagine what it will look like in 30 more years.
A stroll down memory lane…
Back in the 90s, we had a small family trucking operation. One of the lanes we serviced was London, ON to Louisville, KY. Alcoa Aluminum wheels down to the Ford plant. When our truck arrived, they would typically drop the loaded trailer and hook up to a load of empty return racks preloaded on a trailer. It wasn't hard to talk the shipping clerk into tossing two piles onto a trailer for a makeshift load.
Once completed, you would need to call the 800 number to dispatch day or night to update what trailer was dropped, picked up and confirm all details and ref#, Pick up # and match info with dispatch. They would also need to give ETAs. I remember being a kid in the passenger seat of a 1979 Cabover Kenworth while my father was on a payphone with dispatch. There are no rack loads today, so they sent us from Louisville up to Navistar in Springfield, OH to pick up a load of truck cabs for Navistar in Chatham, ON. We made the 180-mile trip north to find out that the load was canceled about 5 minutes after being dispatched—no app, cell phone, or email. Qualcomm had not yet even made their entrance into the industry. The improvement is the speed of communication and how we communicate.
Why I attend the Mid-America Trucking Show
I say all of this to explain a couple of things. I have attended the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville for decades. Another is that technology has evolved and grown in every aspect of trucking, from transportation management systems to manufacturing technology. This influx in technology is so exciting but very overwhelming. As a neck-deep person in the tech space in trucking, it's almost impossible to keep up with all the freight matching apps, digital brokers, software and apps. Attending the Mid-America Trucking Show enables me to see new technology coming out in the trucking space.
The Mid-America Trucking Show has always been a stable show for decades. This show is geared toward the people that want to see the industry for what it is. The Show & Shine is for the proud owners of some of the most incredible equipment on the road. The exhibitor hall is full of everything from brand new trucks, diecasts, fuel providers, TMS providers, truck part manufacturers, etc. and some amazing Kentucky BBQ.
My favorite thing about the show is the fantastic people. I always enjoy reconnecting with old friends and meeting new people in the industry. My next favorite thing is learning about new innovative products for the trucking industry, such as windshield wiper vibrators to assist drivers in knocking off built-up snow and ice on the wiper blade. It’s amazing how much technology can improve our lives for the better.
Here’s a look at my experience from the show this year:
I hope this reflection has given you a glimpse of why I attend the Mid-America Trucking Show each year and why I find value in attending. I knew I was destined to be in the trucking industry, but I wasn't aware I would end up in the tech space. Working in the tech space with Rose Rocket over the past few years has helped me understand the technology and how it can be applied to drive efficiency. If we look at technology as a way to improve our lives and open our minds to change, we can do amazing things. It all starts with change.
I hope to see you all next year.