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01/11/2022

NATSO to Bring Back Annual Meeting as In-Person Event This Year

A Transportation Energy Track will discuss alternative fuels, the impact of government affairs on the travel center industry and more.
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NATSO Connect 2022 logo

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — NATSO Connect 2022 will return as an in-person event, bringing face-to-face learning and networking opportunities to the travel plaza and truck stop industries.

The annual show, which will take place at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Fla., from Feb. 20–24, is designed for travel plaza or truck stop owners, operators, managers, buyers and staff to help them identify trends, seize new opportunities and stay ahead of the curve.

"We are thrilled to be able to bring all of our industry's key leaders, managers and decision makers together with industry suppliers, retail thought leaders and experts in the truck stop industry at an in-person meeting next year," said Pamela Hayes, vice president of business development for NATSO. "During the pandemic, we pivoted to online learning to share the insights and best practices, which is a wonderful option, but I think we are all missing the extra connections we get from meeting face to face."

NATSO Connect combines exclusive executive briefings with opportunities for operators to gain specific guidance on how to succeed by speaking directly with experienced operators and vendor partners. The event also creates opportunities for operators to problem-solve with key industry suppliers and their peers so they can grow their business.

Among many highlights, NATSO Connect will feature a Transportation Energy Track on Tuesday, Feb. 22, which will offer the following sessions:

  • How are government decisions today shaping your tomorrow?: David Fialkov, NATSO's executive vice president of government affairs, offers his take on what the political landscape in 2022 will mean for the business community in general and travel centers in particular.
  • Guided tours: Transportation Energy Track participants will receive a schedule of presentations on the show floor by vendors in the transportation energy business. 
  • Breakout share sessions: Fuel retailers, equipment manufacturers and energy producers will have the opportunity to share their experiences in small groups over lunch.
  • Trucking economy and what it means for truck stops and travel centers: Bob Costello, senior vice president of international trade policy and cross-border operations and chief economist at the American Trucking Associations, will provide insight into the future of the trucking industry.
  • Panel discussion light-duty fleet: Panelists will address the future of the light-duty fleet. Equipment manufacturers and energy providers discuss expectations for automotive innovation and deployment.
  • Panel discussion alternative fuels: Alternative fuels producers and NATSO members will discuss considerations for continued investment in alternative fuels.
  • Infrastructure investment and Jobs Act grants: A grant expert will share information on grant opportunities, the best way to secure a grant, and how to best partner with state and local government.

NATSO's Alternative Fuels Council will also offer a two-part Renewable Fuels Workshop on Monday, Feb. 21, and a Fleets of the Future session on Wednesday, Feb. 23, during which industry thought leaders will cover future equipment technologies and how the businesses that serve them can prepare.

Additionally, as part of an interactive workshop, a panel of DAS Distributors' Road Pro professional drivers will discuss what matters most to them while they are on the road. DAS regularly solicits input from drivers and has valuable insights that can help truck stop and travel plaza operators with their short- and long-term goals, according to NATSO. During the session, drivers are expected to cover the importance of cleanliness, customer service and lighting, as well as their thoughts on parking reservations and social media.

"NATSO members are constantly working to meet the needs of professional drivers, and we're excited to present a diverse panel of drivers at NATSO Connect," said Amy Toner, vice president of publishing and digital content for NATSO. "It is especially timely given the importance of improving drivers' lifestyles as the industry works to attract and retain professional drivers."

Alexandria-based NATSO represents more than 2,000 travel plazas and truck stops nationwide, owned by more than 220 corporate entities.