Expedite Expo 2003 endures blackout

| 8/21/2003

Expedite Expo 2003 was a shining success despite the blackout that later tested the patience of attendees trying to return home.

Held last week at the Detroiter Truck Stop in Woodhaven, MI, the Expo featured 30 to 40 exhibitors. Attendance was up an estimated 15 percent from last year’s show, and the event netted positive reviews for its organizers, Expediters Online and On Time Media. OOIDA was a sponsor of the event.

Meanwhile, OOIDA members took home at least half the trophies in the Expediter Pride Truck Image Contest.

Arthur Scott, an OOIDA member from Norwood, MA, took first place in the cargo van division. He hauls from Menlo Expediting. Second and third places went to Patrick Hinnegan of Tri-State Expedited Services Inc. and David Nykamp of FedEx Custom Critical.

OOIDA member Bill Sturgis took first place in the straight truck division. He is leased to FedEx Custom Critical. Second place went to Morean Morris, also of FedEx Custom Critical. Sharon and John Guthmiller, OOIDA members from Franklin, TN, placed third. The Guthmillers run for Con-Way Now.

The blackout seen ‘round the world

Expedite Expo 2003 came to an end around 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14, as exhibitors packed up a little early and organizers began their final cleanup. According to Jeff Jensen at Expediters Online, the outdoor show was being run by generators, so organizers didn’t know about the blackout until someone drove by about 4:15 p.m. and told them about it.

Trucking radio personality Dave Nemo, who was in attendance and conducted live interviews with the attendees and exhibitors for his XM Satellite Radio program, told Jensen he found himself standing in line at the electronic check-in kiosk at Southwest Airlines when the lights went out. The airlines ended up canceling all flights, kicking everyone out and closing the airport.

“With the airport closing, I didn't know what to do until morning,” Nemo told Jensen. “I called around, and there were no motels available, and even if there were a room to be found, what would you have? A dark room with no a/c and no water.”

Nemo tried to re-rent the car he had just turned in, but he was turned away after an hour and a half in line. He then ran into Ty Morgan, a man from TMI Multimedia whom Nemo had lunch with during the show. Since both men were trying to return home to Nashville, TN, they borrowed a car from Morgan’s boss, who lived near Detroit, and drove back to Nashville, arriving about the same time as their original flight.

Nemo added, “I made it to the studio just in time to be interviewed on my own show by Rusty Wheeler, my assistant, who had been filling in for me.”

OOIDA’s Director of Marketing, Mike Schermoly, found himself stuck as well. “I was supposed to fly home but that wasn’t going to happen. So after spending the night at a dark, crowded hotel, I just commandeered the rental car and got in and started driving until I saw lights,” says Schermoly, who ended up in Chicago.

--by René Tankersley, feature editor

René Tankersley can be reached at renet@landlinemag.com.