The 32nd annual Dairy Distribution Conference to visit Great Dane Trailers

Sunny Savannah, Ga. will be the setting for this year’s Dairy Distribution and Fleet Management Conference, Feb. 12-15. Logistics personnel from dairies around the country have an opportunity to learn about the latest technical, regulatory and security issues while enjoying the hospitality of one of the nation’s most unique and historical coastal cities.

“I’m really pleased with the program. We’ve got some really good speakers and some extremely important and timely information for people,” says Conference Organizer, Don Wilson. “Some years it seems like everything just gels, and it’s fortunate that this has been one of those kinds of years from a program standpoint.”

The conference begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday Feb. 12 with a “Get Acquainted” reception and registration.

Feature sessions on topics such as diesel engines, setting fuel budgets, DSD requirements, and post-9-11 security concerns, begin on Thursday Feb. 13. One of the highlights of this yearly event is the Vocational Tour. This year attendees will visit Great Dane Trailers Inc. in Savannah.

“Great Dane is the host, and this is going to be an extremely educational visit,” Wilson says. “This isn’t just an assembly facility, this is a full-scale manufacturing facility. They also have R&D and testing, and visitors will get to see some accelerated stress-wear testing on the Great Dane equipment.”

The conference also features popular roundtable breakout sessions, on a variety of topics, a Friday tour for spouses, and an optional Saturday golf tournament. And if all that isn’t enough, there’s the site. Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia. It’s considered the first planned city in the United States and it’s a living museum of architecture and history, featuring lighthouses, coastal scenery, and historic mansions and churches. And the average temperature in February is 63 degrees.

Thursday’s Opening Session will feature Phillip Van Hooser with a presentation called “Facing the Fearsome Facts” about facing and overcoming fears in business and in life. “Consolidation in Dairy Distribution: Why Fewer May be More,” is planned as a discussion of the practical value of concentrating distribution into larger facilities, in the face of industry consolidation. Concurrent morning sessions on Friday will focus on setting a fuel budget and robotics being used in dairy distribution. The conference may also give the industry a first opportunity to discuss new federal regulation on driver hours, which, as of this writing, were in the pipeline and expected to be introduced in January.

Other program highlights include:

  • EEOC Compliance & Audits, Harassment and HIPPSS Privacy Issues.

  • Current EPA Diesel Engine Certificate Status

  • New Supermarket, Club and Convenience Store Performance and Capability Requirements for DSD Suppliers

  • Post 9-11 Counter Terrorism and Security — Employee Identification Requirements.
The conference always has spouse activites, and this year, because the conference takes place on Valentines Day weekend, there’s a little extra. A “Get Acquainted Reception” for spouses is scheduled for Thursday morning. A tour focused on Savannah’s coastal heritage, which includes a luncheon and shopping excursion takes place Friday. And a Happy Valentine’s reception is planned for early Friday evening.

“We’re hoping people will be encouraged to bring their spouses with them and enjoy what Savannah has to offer for Valentine’s Day after the conference is over on Saturday afternoon,” Wilson says.

The Savannah Hilton DeSoto is the host hotel for the event, and a conference rate of $119 single or double occupancy is available. Delta Airlines has special airfares available, and Hertz is offering special car rental rates.

Sponsors and Underwriters of the Dairy Distribution and Fleet Management Conference are:

  • Carrier Trannsicold
  • Caterpillar Engine Division
  • Kidron Inc.
  • International Truck and Engine Co.
  • Thermo-King
  • Waltco Truck Equipment Co.
  • W&B Refrigeration Service Co.
  • Dairy Foods
  • National Ice Cream Mix Assn.
  • Quality Chekd Dairies, Inc.
  • All-Star Dairy Assn.
  • The Dixie Dairy Products Assn.
  • The Wilson Group