ALEXANDRIA, VA. – During NATSO Connect 2018, Feb. 10-13 in Nashville, Tenn., truckstop and travel plaza operators from around the country will have an opportunity to sit down with Bob Costello, senior vice president and chief economist at the American Trucking Associations, to gain key insights into the critical economic factors that will influence the trucking industry throughout the coming year. Costello’s session is sponsored by Chevron Products Co.-Global Lubricants-Americas Region.

Costello continues to be a popular speaker at NATSO’s annual meeting. This year’s economic session will take on a different format as a panel of truckstop operators ask Costello the industry’s most top-of-mind questions during a discussion led by NATSO Vice President of Public Affairs Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman. Confirmed panelists include Jim Hays, owner of Dodge City Petro in Hanceville, Ala., and Elizabeth Warring, president and CEO of Busy Bee in Madison, Fla.

The session will help attendees understand how economic forecasts, such as freight forecasts, manufacturing levels and consumer spending, will affect travel plaza operations throughout 2018 and beyond.

“Numbers without an analytical framework can be white noise. For NATSO Connect 2018, we’ve designed an interactive panel to help our members go beyond the numbers to get a deep understanding of what the economic indicators mean for them,” said Wlazlowski Neuman.

Costello plans to address several key facts and figures during the session. “There are three big buckets of freight, and they are related to the consumer, construction and factory output,” Costello said. “I’ll talk about those as well as what is going on with employment, how people are spending money and the driver shortage.” Costello also will address questions related to autonomous vehicles, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the overall U.S. economy.

Attendees will leave the event with a greater understanding of the economic factors affecting their customers and how those will, in turn, affect them.

“As the only national association dedicated to the truckstop and travel plaza industry, our goal is to give operators the information they need to prepare for their future and best serve their customers,” said Pamela Hayes, vice president of business development for NATSO. “Bob Costello has a wide breadth of knowledge that will help NATSO members as they create their short- and long-term goals.”

Operators should save the date and plan to attend annual meeting, Feb. 10-13, to increase their industry knowledge, gain business intelligence, connect with vendors and their peers, and see new products.