2018 Summit Highlights

The 2018 NIT League Transportation Summit, held at the InterContinental Dallas, provided attendees with the most critical industry information and connections. Read an overview below.

Opening Keynote Speaker: Derek Leathers, Werner Enterprises

Werner Enterprises CEO Derek Leathers set the stage for the 2018 Summit with his opening keynote presentation on developing a strategic plan in a time of regulatory uncertainty. He shared his insights on the different influences at play in the transportation industry, such as economic factors, transportation-specific issues, political changes, and developing technologies.

Derek Leathers, Werner Enterprises



General Sessions:

Freight Transportation’s Rapidly Changing Complexion

Attendees heard how technologies like enhanced autonomy, truck platooning/peloton software, and increasingly sophisticated transportation management systems are already providing solutions today and changing tomorrow’s freight landscape.

The Next Wave of Transportation

What’s next on the freight transportation horizon? Attendees received insights into a new forecasting concept that estimates freight rates 12 months into the future based on historical and seasonal data.

Ocean Transportation Today

A prestigious group of members of the maritime freight sector discussed current and future developments that will affect ocean transportation globally.

Supply Chain and Workforce Development

Improved supply chain management (SCM) practices have the potential to increase companies’ overall financial performance. This presentation provided insights on areas of hidden value, ways of using SCM to unlock them, and how to better show the value of SCM in the boardroom.

Recruiting workers to fill freight transportation positions, confronting daily operational changes, effectively managing vast supply chains, and keeping employees actively engaged are just some of the concerns logistics professionals face throughout their careers. This session addressed those challenges head on, offering insights for both seasoned veteran and new transportation and logistics professionals alike.

Back to the Future of the Railroad Industry

Our distinguished rail panelists lead us on a journey into the future of the railroad industry. They discussed how the customer and railroad experiences can be improved, and addressed how the industry and the rail network will handle the increased volume the domestic and international supply chains are facing. They explored how railroads, shippers, and other rail industry suppliers can work together to maximize the rail industry for all parties, and they looked at new technologies that will influence growth and change in the railroad industry.

  • Jean-Jacques Ruest – Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, CN
  • David Eaton – Vice President of Sales and Marketing Carload, KCS
  • Deb Miller – Vice Chairman, STB
  • Eric Marchetto – Executive Vice President, Trinity Rail
  • Eric Starks – CEO and Chairman, FTR Transportation Intelligence(Moderator)

Emergency Preparedness—Are You Ready?

Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Forest fires. Terrorist acts. These are just some of the challenges companies face above and beyond their daily operations. Developing emergency response plans for your facilities, staff, and operations are a crucial aspect of keeping your businesses running and protecting your greatest assets—your people.

Capacity Challenges in Every Transportation Mode—What to Do?

More than ever before, North American transportation networks are interdependent. When one mode is disrupted, other modes are affected. Today’s ongoing economic recovery, combined with truck regulations, rail disturbances, a rewrite of the world’s retail experience, and other factors, has stretched capacity like never before—pushing prices to historically high levels. This distinguished panel of industry executives shared their experiences, insights and predictions and explored the current and future state of capacity across ocean, air, truck, and intermodal transportation.

  • Jason Beardall – President, England Logistics
  • David Eaton – Vice President of Sales and Marketing Carload, KCS
  • Mike Heaton – Vice President of Global Business Development, Mallory Alexander
  • John Hill – President & CCO, Pilot Air Freight
  • Christopher Holloway – Vice President of Intermodal, JB Hunt
  • Avery Vise – Vice President of Trucking Research, FTR (moderator)

Technology on the Horizon

How will artificial intelligence (AI), self-driving vehicles, connected transportation systems, and other technologies affect the freight transportation environment over the next 5-10 years? This panel session offered a variety of perspectives on technology, freight logistics, and the transportation workforce.

Exhibit Hall

The latest products and technologies were on display at the Summit in an exhibit hall located just steps from the meeting rooms. Attendees had many hours of dedicated time to visit with exhibitors, including breakfasts, breaks, and receptions.

Networking Dinner, featuring keynote Tommy Spaulding

After a full day of attending educational sessions, participating in business meetings, and visiting with vendors in the exhibit hall, attendees unwound and indulged at the NITL Networking Dinner with Tommy Spaulding, a world-renowned speaker on leadership. Spaulding has spoken to hundreds of organizations, associations, educational institutions, and corporations around the globe. His October 2015 book, The Heart-Led Leader, is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal national bestseller. Spaulding spoke on the value and importance of heart-led leadership and how it can change your career and your life.

Annual Golf Classic

The TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas takes golfing to a whole new level. Redesigned in 2008, the TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas is an award-winning golf resort designed to be challenging for professional golfers as well as inviting to recreational players. This world-renowned course was an ideal venue for making new connections and strengthening relationships with other leading shippers and carriers who attended the Summit!

Tour of AT&T Stadium – Home of the Dallas Cowboys

What does it take to stage a professional football game at a sold-out, state-of-the-art stadium that seats 80,000 and can hold as many as 105,000? Tour participants visited the playing field and locker rooms and other areas of the stadium and enjoyed lunch in the Stadium Club

NITL Modal Committee Meetings

NITL’s three modal committees—Rail Transportation, Highway Transportation, and Ocean Transportation—each met during the Summit. Committees addressed the most timely topics, heard from various guest speakers, and established recommendations for League positions on rail, highway, and ocean transportation policy and regulations.


To see the full schedule of 2018 Summit events, click here.