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Equipment Management Conference EducationWith technological advances and economic shifts, the heavy equipment industry is constantly in flux. Isolated businesses can have a difficult time keeping up with the changes and are in danger of becoming irrelevant as the industry progresses without them.

Attending conferences and trade shows is one of the best ways to stay up to date with new technology and best business practices. Not only that, but they are a networking paradise, allowing you to learn from your peers and even partner with them to grow your business.

If you’re ready to invest in the growth of your business by attending an industry conference, the ELFA Equipment Management Conference in taking place in Phoenix, AZ on February 23-25, 2014.

What Is ELFA?

If you’re not familiar with the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA), it’s the trade association that represents financial service companies and manufacturers in the U.S. equipment finance sector. ELFA’s mission is built on advancing the development of the industry, so you can imagine the usefulness of their annual conference.

What to Expect at ELFA’s Equipment Management Conference

Now in its 26th year, the 2014 three-day conference features a jam-packed schedule full of educational sessions, equipment tours, live inspection demos, an exhibition hall and networking events.

Equipment Management Networking Events

Equipment management professionals, equipment appraisers and remarketers and industry service providers will all be in attendance.

Learn more about conference speakers and exhibitors, and get schedule details and ticket pricing, on ELFA’s website.

Conference Insight from ELFA’s President

William G Sutton ELFA PresidentAnyone can visit ELFA’s website and read the conference information posted there, but we wanted to dig deeper for the TuffWerx community. We understand that attending a conference on this level requires time and monetary investments, and you want to get as much information as you can before you pull the trigger.

We’re extremely grateful to ELFA President and CEO, William G. Sutton, for taking the time to answer a few questions about the conference. You’ll appreciate his unique perspective on the Equipment Management Conference’s networking events, speaker sessions, equipment inspections and equipment tours.

TuffWerx: It’s a well-known fact that the best deals are made on the golf course. What types of networking opportunities does the conference offer?

Mr. Sutton: The 2014 Equipment Management Conference & Exhibition offers unmatched networking opportunities for equipment managers, remarketers and appraisers in the equipment finance industry. A key benefit of this one-of-a-kind event, now in its 26th year, is that everyone you need to talk to is under one roof: equipment management professionals, including senior managers and their staff, and service providers to the industry.

Multiple receptions—from the opening reception and special newcomer reception on the first day of the conference, to the networking receptions held all three evenings of the event—offer attendees multiple opportunities to grow and solidify relationships with industry leaders. Social activities, including a golf tournament and group meals, allow for additional interaction. Interactive learning opportunities, including an on-site equipment showcase, off-site equipment tours and first-class exhibition, offer additional opportunities for networking.

One industry member recently commented that “The strength of an asset manager comes down to having strong industry contacts and relationships you can align with early on in the process and carry through to the maturity of the transaction.” The Equipment Management Conference allows attendees to build those important contacts through a wide range of networking opportunities.

TuffWerx: For those new to equipment management, which of this year’s speaker sessions shouldn’t be missed?

Mr. Sutton: A highlight of this year’s Equipment Management Conference is the session “What’s Hot, What’s Not in Equipment Leasing and Finance for 2014,” presented by industry veteran Carl Chrappa. According to Chrappa, the annual rate of equipment and software spending is forecast to increase this year, but in what areas and why? You’ll get answers to such questions as, “How much will the economy improve, and how does the U.S. economy compare to those of the rest of the developed world? What are the best equipment types to lease or finance? Where is the risk? What types of equipment should be avoided and why? Are there any developing secondary market bubbles?”

Chrappa will also highlight the results of a survey of more than 400 equipment managers and industry experts. In addition, he’ll share insights and outlooks for various equipment markets, with an emphasis on regulation, legislation, technology, valuation issues and various current and future residual challenges and opportunities.

Additional sessions will evaluate the current market conditions, portfolio quality and residual values for a variety of equipment segments. Please see the full conference agenda here.

TuffWerx: What can new attendees expect during the live equipment inspections?

Mr. Sutton: One of the most popular features of the conference is the live, on-site inspection of specialty vehicles, guided by qualified professionals. Attendees can “kick the tires” of a variety of equipment types and get an overview of market and industry position, identify key specifications, uncover critical areas of maintenance, discuss potential risk and reward aspects, and review lease return language and residual values.

Heavy Equipment Demos ELFA Conference

The following equipment will be on display at the vehicle showcase: a CAT backhoe Loader, a 53 foot trailer, a fracking rig, two forklifts and an ambulance. These are being supplied by IronPlanet, Nationwide Equipment Co., LLC, Bee-line Corp., Decker Forklifts and RTR Services.

TuffWerx: During the off-site equipment tours, what types of equipment will be featured?

Mr. Sutton: The off-site equipment tours will allow attendees to get invaluable insight into a variety of equipment and to see them in actual work settings. Tours will include:

  • Empire Caterpillar: Attendees will get “up close and personal” with CAT heavy equipment.
  • Desert Trailer Systems: Attendees will get up-to-speed on maintenance and repair costs for a variety of commercial semi-trailers.
  • Somerset Technology Sales: Attendees will delve into the audit, test and refurbishment processes of IT, UPS and material handling equipment.
  • Royal Paper Converting: Attendees will witness the conversion of household products such as tissue, napkins and paper towels from large rolls to packaging for consumer use.
  • IO Data Center: Attendees will tour the facilities of this global leader in data center infrastructure technology.

TuffWerx: Organizing a conference is no small task. Why does ELFA believe in investing in the Equipment Management Conference?

Mr. Sutton: Asset management is a critical component of the $827 billion equipment leasing and finance industry. It is also a complex subject area, and ELFA offers the Equipment Management Conference to provide practitioners access to high-quality learning and networking opportunities.

One of our members recently commented on the complex nature of equipment management: “You’re involved in the life cycle of the lease, the establishment of both the vendor and end-user relationships, the development of program agreements and then negotiations at lease-end. You could spend a career learning all of that for different asset classes.” ELFA is pleased to provide a world-class opportunity for equipment management professionals to grow their professional skills and expand their networks, all in support of this essential industry.

William G. Sutton, CAE, is President and CEO of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association, the trade association that represents companies in the $827 billion equipment finance sector, which includes financial services companies and manufacturers engaged in financing capital goods.  For more information, please visit and follow ELFA on Twitter at @elfaonline