Scott Pearson shared a few of the fundamentals that shape the values of his dealership, Peterbilt of Atlanta, and which will guide him as the new chairman of American Truck Dealers. During his first address as ATD chairman, he delivered his keynote on the Main Stage of the 2024 ATD Show in Las Vegas to a full house of truck dealers, their staff and industry allies.
Fix the problem, not the blame.
Noting the regulatory obstacles currently facing the industry, Pearson encouraged his fellow dealers to focus on addressing the problem through engagement and education.
Due to emission regulation mandates, California heavy-duty truck dealers’ vehicle allocation is being cut by up to 90% in 2024, which will not only have a huge impact on those dealers’ business, but on the industry and economy. And California is not the only state considering such stringent regulations.
“We need to inform legislators how completely unrealistic and overly aggressive EPA and CARB regulations are,” Pearson said. “And the impact they will have on consumers, your businesses, and our economy.”
Pearson spent three decades working for a supplier and a manufacturer before buying his first dealership. First, he was a materials manager, then parts manager at Cummins. Later, he transitioned to Peterbilt. Throughout this time, he had the opportunity to work with some of the best dealers in the country, listening and learning from them and their businesses.
“That listening and learning never stops,” Pearson said. “Today’s truck dealerships are not the same as they were a generation ago, or even a decade ago.”
The ever-changing nature of the industry is one reason why Pearson strongly advocates for engaging the next generation in the business early and often. His son, Brad, graduated from ATD Academy in 2023, and his daughter, Shelley, is enrolling this year.
“I’ve told [my kids], and I will tell all of you– Academy is the beginning of your learning,” Pearson said. “It is the place to go to learn how to run a successful dealership, but the education does not end there. Always keep listening.”
Bring the fun.
“Sometimes we forget it, but this should be fun!” Pearson said. “Let's celebrate the wins, and let’s work hard for the future of the entire trucking and transportation industry. Remember – we are the foundation of the American economy.”
Pearson closed his address by outlining the results he strives to deliver to the ATD membership: increased dealership involvement, engage the next generation and improve workforce development.
Pearson’s efforts will be supported by the ATD Board of Line Representatives, which welcomed two additions for the 2024 term. Korey Neal, CEO of K. Neal Truck and Bus Center, replaces Terry Minor, President of Cumberland International Trucks, Inc., after his three-year term as the International Line Rep. Chris O’Donnell, COO of Valley Truck Centers, will be taking Neal’s place as ATD NextGen Chair.