Exploring a New Era of Commercial Mobility


     With the world in what seems to be a perpetual storm, this Fall’s Commercial Vehicle Business Summit event, hosted by Work Truck Solutions, was a calm port where commercial industry experts sat down to discuss a New Era of Commercial Mobility.

Although “mobility” has traditionally alluded to solutions for physically disabled customers, today it refers to all the different ways business owners relate to emerging tech such as EVs, autonomous vehicles, connectivity, symbiotic partnerships, etc. What will this evolving definition mean to commercial vehicle users, dealers, OEMs, upfitters, and service providers? What challenges and opportunities will these emerging technologies create? Most importantly, what does “commercial mobility” mean as it relates to your business?

What’s driving mobility transformation?

As the commercial vehicle industry grows in complexity, even the meaning of common terms such as “mobility” evolve. Both external and internal factors are driving the mobility transformation, and those factors have a direct influence on your business.

On day one of the summit, Jim Press, a senior advisor for Work Truck Solutions and Former COO of Toyota North America, hosted a fireside chat with industry experts to examine the context and implications of the unfolding development of commercial mobility.

Jim was joined by Mandar Dighe, Global Sales/Marketing and Business Development Executive at Knapheide, Dave Herring, Vice President and General Manager of Work-Truck Finance at Mitsubishi HC Capital America, Tony Stinsa, Vice President Used Trucks at Navistar, and Sydney Dunn, U.S. VP of Truck Sales at Lion Electric.

A commercial perspective on mobility

The term mobility has begun to reflect a paradigm shift as it gets applied to, well… everything. And although the retail automotive industry has been scrutinizing the evolution of what mobility means in the 21st century for several years now, what about the commercial side of things? Are there implications unique to the commercial vehicle sector?

Gregory Skinner,  Vice President of Strategic Insights at Escalent broke down what mobility means for the commercial vehicle space, why mobility is one of the most important trends we’re likely to encounter in the next decade, and why you need to consider jumping on board.

Lauren Fletcher, Executive Editor for Work Truck Magazine/ Bobit [2] also tackled the subject along with several industry leaders such as Alan Levy of Crestline Transport, Leslie Lopez of Mitsubishi HC Capital America, Roman Hunter with ENGS Insurance, and Michele Pierog from ParkMyFleet.

Market outlook

Market outlook and forecasting for the commercial vehicle industry are anything but simple. Nevertheless, predictions are a necessity when considering asset allocation and business strategies. And how well you know your market directly impacts your competitive advantage and success.

With an eye-opening keynote presentation, Kathryn Schifferle, Founder and Chief Vision Officer at Work Truck Solutions, and Andrew Wrobel, Global Market Intelligence, Commercial Vehicle and Off-Highway Powertrain Forecasts at Rhein Associates, discussed the market outlook for commercial vehicles. Their commentary highlighted how insightful data can bring a deeper understanding of the forces involved in your business and livelihood.

High tech in commercial vehicles

This event also took a deep dive to explore challenges related to commercial vehicle connectivity, autonomy, shared use, electrification, and digitization of business processes.

The keynote address for day two of this stand-out event was delivered by Quin Garcia, Managing Director of Autotech Ventures. Garcia shared his enthusiasm for deep-tech, Autonomous, AI, semiconductors, business model innovations, fintech, and SaaS, among other things.

Later that day, John Bankes, Vice President of Commercial Vehicle and Fleet Advisory Solutions at Escalent, explored some specific ways data can empower business decisions.

Auto dealerships in the New Era of Mobility

The commercial vehicle industry is neck-deep in sweeping changes in emerging technology and the evolving world circumstances. And the role of traditional auto dealerships sits squarely in the crosshairs of these adjustments.

Jim Press once again hosted a fireside chat on day two, this time to discuss how dealerships must evolve to retain relevance in the New Era of Mobility with commercial vehicle experts.

Dan Bryan, General Manager at  Ricart to Business, Mark Williams, Fleet and Commercial Director at Rick Hendrick City Chevrolet, and Ryan Pritchard, Chief Revenue Officer at Pritchard EV, provided a deep bench with decades of combined industry experience.

The impact of energy policies

Energy policies always introduce a certain amount of risk for the commercial vehicle industry. But wherever risk presents itself, opportunity is the balancing factor.

Gregory Skinner, Vice President of Strategic Insights at Escalent led a panel discussion titled the “New Energy Policy and the Substantial Opportunities For Business Growth.” This session engaged with industry leaders to dive into ways this policy may impact your business.

Nate Shadoin, Sales Manager at NextEra Energy, K.C. Boyce, VP of Automotive and Mobility at Escalent, John Strisower, Founder of Kilows, and Laurel Moorhead, Regulatory Compliance Engineer at Transfer Flow contributed to a lively discussion on how government energy policies affect the commercial transportation industry.

Vehicle and fleet; ownership vs. leasing

Less flashy than autonomous class 8 deliveries, but just as relevant to business owners, the topic of vehicle leasing options vs. ownership was broached in a panel discussion led by Aaron Johnson, CEO of Work Truck Solutions.

Panelists Justin Wheeler, Head of Product and Business Development at Taycor Financial, Chris Pagano, VP and General Manager of Structured Finance at Mitsubishi HC Capital America Inc., Nicolle Flaten, Director of Commercial Finance at Sheehy Ford Springfield, and Kevin Quinn Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Holman Small Business Solutions, were on hand to walk through the pros and cons of what could be a make-or-break decision.

Last words

Days one and two of the summit were closed by Ben Winter, Director of Business Development and Sales at Transfer Flow, who delved into supply chain hurdles in manufacturing, and Steve Greenfield, founder and CEO of Automotive Ventures, discussing innovation in the commercial vehicle channel, with an eye on recent newsworthy developments across the space.