The 2020 Specialized Transportation Symposium will take a deep dive into technology.

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This year’s Symposium will comprise an overall deep dive into technology’s role across the next decade.

What does the next decade hold for specialized transport and what does it mean for your company and career? Find out at SC&RA’s 2020 Specialized Transportation Symposium (STS), set for February 18-21, at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina.

As it does every year, STS boasts an unmatched opportunity for transportation professionals on every level to network with top operations managers, safety directors, safety managers, pilot car professionals, permitting officials, law enforcement and state and federal officials from MAASTO, NASTO, SASHTO and WASHTO.

Symposium attendees get a chance to interface with members of all of these groups throughout the week during an assortment of Association committee meetings, presentations and industry-driven education sessions, scheduled networking breaks, evening receptions and a sold-out Exhibit Center.

Additionally, STS is unique in that it includes the SC&RA Leadership Forum – designed to help fast-track the best and brightest young minds to the next levels of professional and Association leadership.

Remaining open-minded

This year’s Symposium will comprise an overall deep dive into technology’s role across the next decade.  

“A great deal of our presentations, as well as what we’ve requested of the speakers, will focus on what our membership should expect to see from technology, and just as importantly, solutions for employing new technologies by 2030,” said SC&RA Vice President, Transportation, Steven Todd, who himself will be presenting “Five Ways SC&RA is Positioning Heavy Haul for the Next Decade” – a look ahead at how SC&RA is mapping out key steps critical to economic development and business success.

With that in mind, acting FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) Administrator Jim Mullen has been invited to deliver the “Opening Session: Regulatory Update,” which will jumpstart the Symposium with an up-to-date regulatory and compliance update, including hours-of-service reform.  

From there, the week is a dynamic assemblage of information exchange. In one instance, eventgoers will get the chance to listen in to a no-holds-barred conversation about reality and possibility in the next decade as three highly respected former state DOT officials offer their perspectives on the future of specialized transportation based on first-hand experiences. “Keeping it Real: State Officials Dish on Future of Harmonization” will feature speakers Scott Marion, retired Missouri DOT; Randy Braden, retired Alabama DOT; and Dan Wells, retired Colorado DOT.

Additionally, “Hauling Past the Present: Projections for Specialized Transport” will describe how one of the nation’s leading transportation logistics companies is preparing for some of the industry’s biggest changes ahead. Kyle Abbott, account executive, heavy/specialized; Mike Cobb, vice president of safety, security and loss prevention; and Rusty Cody, vice president of heavy haul/intermodal services – all from Landstar Transportation Logistics – will present.

Along with moderator, Illinois DOT permit chief Geno Koehler, Wes Mollno, president at WCS Permits, and Tim Pilcher at ProMiles will join Mike Morgan, CEO at Pit Row Transportation Solutions, with “What the Future Holds: Permitting in 2030 – Part 1,” which will educate STS attendees on what to expect and how to position for success in the next 10 years in OS/OW permitting.

“Carriers need to remain open-minded as to the way permit-related software, hardware and apps can positively affect safety, accountability, productivity and profitability,” said Mollno. “As the industry embraces the technology available to them, it will be a much smoother transition for those who are open to learning how certain technology can directly benefit them.”

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SC&RA’s 2020 Specialized Transportation Symposium is set for February 18-21, at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel in Charlotte, NC.

Pilcher added, “Insuring the driver (and the route surveyor) is able to understand and follow the complicated routes provided by automated routing systems is a key focus. Tools to simplify this are coming, but are not likely to be universal until late next decade.”

User benefit

“How Accuracy in Measurement Gives You an Advantage” will be presented by Peter J. Vanderzee of LifeSpan Technologies and John Caya of 5C Strategy. The presentation will spotlight how new sensor technology is changing the game as it opens up more bridges to OS/OW. Likewise, technology advancements in dimension and axel spacing measurements will give companies an exponential advantage in hauling times and compliance with permits.

“Sensor technology, used to objectively load-rate bridges in accordance with AASHTO testing methods, is a commercial technology that has provided outstanding results for over twenty years,” explained Vanderzee. “Sadly, many state DOTs are still unwilling to fully exploit this proven technology to benefit users, especially the trucking industry.”

From economics to demographics, John Maketa will deliver “Charting the Course Through Demographic Change,” where he explores the common-sense, but very counter-intuitive and fascinating realm of demography.

Working together

Breakout Sessions abound at the 2020 Symposium, addressing such pertinent topics as “The Science Behind Driver Retention” and “What the Future Holds: Permitting in 2020 – Part 2,” – which features Darryl Foust of Comdata and Louis Juneau of Nova Permits & Pilot Cars, along with moderator Joanna Jungels, permit manager at ATS Specialized Inc.

As far as key issues tied to what the next decade will bring, Juneau maintained, “The main thing I believe will be data protection. Additionally, there are already states that plan to use ELD technology combined with route analysis to better determine which routes they should emphasize on keeping in better shape.

“I also believe that not too far down the road, dispatch systems will be linked to permitting software in order to reduce the time and productivity by either submitting information to permit companies such as ours – or for those who do not outsource and do the process themselves – the actual process will remain very cumbersome.”

Working together is the theme for “Harmonization from a Manufacturer’s Perspective,” designed to educate audience members on how leveraging strengths together can benefit the industry through such initiatives as UPT2021 and more – led by speaker Kathy Barber, Caterpillar Inc., State Government Affairs, Southern Region, Law, Security & Public Policy Global Government & Corporate Affairs Division.

Collision-avoidance experts Brian Fielkow of Jetco, and Dave Merrill of Pahoa Express, will present “Using Technology for Safer Operations,” which will articulate how integrating technology into your safety culture creates an extraordinary ROI.

From inside the cab to inside the office, Randy Starnes of Kenco Bucket Trucks, will help attendees learn how to work better with project coordinators, permit coordinators, permit supervisors, dispatchers and managers for successful OS/OW transports during “An Inside Job: Coordinating with The Office on OS/OW Movements.”

“Leveraging Technology as a Proactive Loss Prevention Tool Description,” and “Managing your Company’s Technology & Data as it Relates to Your Insurance Policy” are two additional must-attend sessions which zero in on technology as it can be leveraged to not only create a safety culture, but utilized as a tool to manage and transfer risk in order to determine insurance needs and costs.  

And if demonstrations are your thing, then STS 2020 has you covered all the same. “Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Outdoor Demonstration” will educate attendees on load securement, tips for acing law enforcement inspections, advice for maintaining excellent CSA scores and insights on understanding best practices for preventing accidents.

Relatedly, “Demonstrations of Pilot Cars Best Practices” will provide eventgoers with the latest advocacy efforts of the North American Pilot Vehicle Safety Alliance as well as allow them to participate in a hands-on demonstration of the most effective equipment for pilot cars and pilot car drivers.

Check out the full STS 2020 schedule at


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