ATD will celebrate its 50th convention in Orlando Feb 8-11. The first convention was held in 1963, seven years before the ATD division of the National Automobile Dealers Association was even established.

This year's convention will be held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Keynote speakers include Troy A. Clarke, president and chief operating officer for Navistar; Bob Costello, chief economist of the American Trucking Associations; Dennis Snow, a former Walt Disney World executive trainer; and ATD Chairman Richard Witcher.

NADA-ATD University will offer nine workshop topics -- a total of 16 sessions -- for truck dealers and their managers to learn about and implement ways to improve their business operations. Dealers will also have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with manufacturer executives at 12 meetings, and with exhibitors in the ATD Zone on the expo floor.

George Grask, former chairman of the American Truck Dealers has been attending the ATD Convention and Expo for nearly 30 years. From meeting with fellow dealers, shopping the expo floor and attending make meetings, Grask views the convention as a valuable investment in the future success of dealerships. The workshops are "relevant and pertinent," says Grask, owner of Cedar Rapids Truck Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Marvin Rush, chairman of Rush Enterprises, has attended the ATD convention every year since 1966. He says he returns to learn new information, see friends and share ideas with others in the industry. "I enjoy the camaraderie between the manufacturers and dealers," Rush said.

Todd Bloom, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso, who has been attending convention for about 30 years, says the convention is "great venue to get to know the dealer better."

"Business is about relationships," Bloom said. "The convention allows attendees to share ideas and socialize, which creates and strengthens relationships with dealers and others in the industry. Dealer feedback from the make meetings helps shape policies and programs."