Ben Stein and Steve Forbes are just two of the fascinating speakers at the AmeriQuest Business Services event.
Each year, AmeriQuest Business Services strives to make its annual Symposium better than the year before. The company continues to do that, year after year, and this year, so far, is no exception. Doug Clark, Founder, President, and CEO of AmeriQuest opened the event by discussing his, and his company’s, passion for simplifying business processes and eliminating paper.
He was followed by a tremendously inspirational speaker, Eric Greitens, a former Navy SEAL and founder of The Mission Continues. Injured in Iraq in 2007, Greitens realized that he had a new mission: to help wounded veterans (some with traumatic injuries) find ways to serve their communities as they served their friends and fellow soldiers. Through videos and stories about these returning heroes, attendees saw the true faces of courage and resilience. Greitens also revealed the intense training that Navy SEALs go through and how breaking through fear, pain, and suffering can lead to incredible changes in your own life. As he said, “Fear, pain, challenge, hardship – that’s where growth happens.”
He was followed by Ben Stein, presidential speechwriter, actor, game show host, and commentator, who regaled the audience with some clever, humorous stories (and of course, a few callouts for “Bueller, Bueller”) followed by a serious discussion on the economy. He spoke of the challenges the country and the world are facing, including looming retirement of Baby Boomers, global instability, and the business slowdown in China. He spoke of the improving economy in the U.S., commenting that many jobs are left unfilled due to a lack of qualified applicants. He also commented on the amazing changes he has seen throughout his life, including the business advances made by women and minorities. According to Stein, “the doors of power are open.”
Dr. Scott Brown, Chief Economist for Raymond James, covered the economy in detail and how the U. S. has recovered from the recent deep recession. He pointed out promising points…the most job growth in history; more people entering the job market; lower oil prices, and credit beginning to loosen up for SMBs. He also commented on the pitfalls that could occur: from Putin’s push on Ukraine to slowing growth in Europe and China to the housing sector that has yet to rebound the way it should. However, with all that in mind, Brown made clear to the audience, that as far as the U.S. economy is concerned, there are a lot more positives than negatives.
The afternoon session began with Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief at Forbes Media, who gave his assessment of the economy, speaking about monetary policy and its effect on the overall economy and on growth. He talked about the power of entrepreneurship and how, using Israel as an example, success can happen in even the most trying and difficult of circumstances if one has knowledge…the key to success. In fact, even failure can be a stepping stone to success since learning what doesn’t work can lead you to what does. Forbes spoke at length on the Federal Reserve and monetary policy, including his belief that tying the currency to the Gold Standard and implementing a flat tax would be positive steps on the road to economic stability and growth.
A panel of transportation industry experts followed. The panel, moderated by Terry Young of Advantage Truck Leasing, a NationaLease Member, included Brian Hogan of Hogan Truck Leasing, Inc.; Vin McLoughlin of Cardinal Logistics, and Andy Pajakowski of Cummins Inc. They discussed some of the major topics facing the trucking industry today, from regulations to technology; but the most pressing issue, and one we’ve spoken of in many blogs, is the disastrous shortage of drivers. According to the panel, the issue isn’t just about pay; it’s also about giving drivers options to enable them to have more of a family life. Overall though, as was stated, between lower fuel prices and higher tonnage, this is a good time to be in the transportation industry.
The day’s concluding speaker was Friedrich Baumann, Senior Vice President Aftermarket Daimler Trucks North America. He gave a fascinating overview on the recent trends and changes within the industry. He also spoke on a topic of great interest to those in the truck rental industry, how to assess and control the total cost of ownership of a fleet.
Getting ready for Day Two which should be equally exciting.