100 years of tow trucks!

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Two weeks ago, the NRC team was in Chattanooga for the celebration of the 100 year anniversary of tow trucks, where it all began. An event like this was the perfect occasion to kickoff our new training program featuring eight NRC instructors, nationwide. We finished the training with the first ever Rotator Relay! This relay involved 4 sliding rotators passing a bus like runners would pass a baton.

A training like this is a lot of unknown, takes a lot of preparation and a lot of last minute organization. For the Chattanooga training, TowTimes was generous enough to facilitate our event by helping with the location, the subscription and general organisation. We’re also very lucky to count on the help of our beloved distributors, who played a key-role at the training. They made sure we got everything we needed, like by going 20 times to the supermarket to keep the attendees cool and hydrated during these hot days. Special shout-out for the coffee and donuts that got us going in the morning; they literraly tasted like heaven. (Chantelle I saw you having all the sprinkled ones!!!)

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The training attracted 40 trainnees from all over the globe. We had people from United States, Canada, Hawaii, Sweden… People of different age with different levels of experience, all with one goal; get a better understanding of their NRC equipment, and do safer, more efficient recovery in their everyday job. «Our goal with this training is to spread knowledge about NRC products and offer a uniform instruction worldwide with a new base core that can be taught anywhere.» says Bruce Jackson, NRC Industries international rep and Diplomat. (Who btw did an amazing job coordinating our trip and the training in Chattanooga. I’m always really impressed when I’m with Bruce at shows; he knows everything and everybody, and he always has fascinating stories about the industry.)

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Even though the NRC master, Norbert Pigeon, was there, he wasn’t the one giving the training. The designated instructors for this one were Ryan Ormonde from Eppler truck Sales, California and Jeremy Matthews from Matthews Garage, Georgia. The pair did a wonderful job captivating the audience with their detailed yet efficient instructions. Normand Caron, our engineering manager pinpointed what makes them great teachers :

«The trainers were impressive. To work with people this passionate is really inspiring ! They all had an excellent understanding of the theory around our products but mostly, it is their incredible field experience that makes them the perfect ambassadors to explain how it’s really going down in everyday life. The scenarios were carefully executed and fully explained later, which made the training a rewarding event for all.»
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At a technical level, I was impressed by the team’s professionalism and speed to answer the audience’s question. On a human level, I was struck by the relation between people; the camaraderie, the respect and the support between our customers and distributors is really nice to see. That’s what we’re all about in the #NRCFAMILY;  we want you to feel not like a customer, but as a member of our team, a member of our family. And what does family do? They are always there to help each other out, just as we saw at the training.

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I was trying to describe that feeling, but just can’t seem to find the right words. Anyway, I didn’t need them, one of our customer from Kansas put it perfectly for me :

«So these last few days I’ve attended the NRC training in Chattanooga. I just want to touch on how great of a company they are. With all the knowledge they have, the instructors would one on one with you if you had questions. If they didn’t have the answers, the engineer was right there to answer them from a technical stance. That’s something you don’t see very often. We done numerous different scenarios allowing people to learn what the trucks are capable of doing. We finished the class with a supper where I was able to spend time racking the brain on the engineer for a while. That one on one we had may lead to something great for all of us but most importantly it gave me a better understanding of my unit. I know I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again with this company you’re family, not a name or a truck you’re a person to them.»

We wanted to take the occasion to say a special thank you to Michael Lilly for these words, but also because he’s been nothing but an incredible ambassador to our brand. Always great exchange with you!img_6415

And talking of our engineer, Normand also did had a wonderful time in Chattanooga :
«At NRC, we deeply want people to be at the hearth of our equipment design process. A training like this gave me a good idea of the appreciation of our customers for our products from and a great preview of their needs of tomorrow.I’m proud to be a part of the #NRCFAMILY.»

Another member of the #nrcfamily who makes us proud : Nia Decenzo, an 18 year-old girl from Pennsylvania came to her very first NRC training with her boyfriend, Trevor Gombach of Gombach Towing and Salvage. Don’t think that because she’s a girl, she didn’t play with the big toys. She didn’t hesitate a bit to get her hands dirty and work with the guys to learn as much as she can. Last time I saw her at the training, she was operating the 50/65CSR, one of the two units used to roll the mixer mid-air. She said : «We really enjoyed the training course and found it very educational as we learned a lot from it. I like how you guys have also included the girls in the industry!»nia

I had the chance to talk a little to the two of them when I crashed our drone, and they kindly offer me to use theirs for the demo (Trevor wanted me to drive it, I said no. It was enough drone stress/drone shame for that day.) The two had this really positive and refreshing attitude, listening carefully to the instructors,  taking everything they can from that experience to get better at their everyday work. We’re glad to have people like you in the #NRCFAMILY, get your passports and come visit anytime you want!

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We’re always excited to go to shows and training, but there was something special about this one. Well, there was many something special about this one. Firstly, we got struck by the excitment and the dynamic that was brought by the celebration of 100 years of towing! It’s a unique chance to live a moment like this, to all reunite and be thankful to the funding fathers and leaders who put all their energy in making our industry a better, safer and more recognized one.I’m thinking here about Ernest Holmes who built the first tow truck in 1916, Bill Jackson, founder of MatJack and renowned author, and our very own Norbert Pigeon, who totally changed the face of the industry in 1975, by proposing the hydraulic underlift.

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This shot is hands down my favorite one ever. When you take pictures, that’s the kind of moment you want to capture. You can see all the NRC spirit in it. Let me tell you that it’s a real honour to work with this man every day, and any employee at NRC will tell you the same. Norbert is a visionnary, an inventor, but mostly a genuinely nice person. I don’t recall a conversation where I didn’t learn something or had a good laugh (Most of the times he laughed at me, but hey, I deserve it, I crashed his drone afterall).

Norbert Pigeon built an incredibly strong valued company who puts family, respect and simplicity well ahead money and profit. This spririt is now enacted by every member of the #nrcfamily, and we couldn’t be more proud of our team.

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And that’s why our team would be the second reason this trip was so exciting. During this week, I had the chance to meet amazing new people, chat with our distributors and learned many, many things (even american slang! #shenanigans). Everyone was in a good state of mind, everyone was nice and respectful. I can’t be the only one who have felt the large amount of love in the air, eh? For our part, we totally enjoyed hearing y’all (see? This is my south accent) talking about how our products changed your business, how you had a great experience with us and all of your goofy stories and memories with our team… That’s love folks! And we hope we’re returning it to you just right <3

 

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This week, we’re gonna premiere our recap video of the relay, so for those of you who weren’t there; be prepared to be impressed! The relay consists of a bus being transfered mid-air from one rotator to another. And we did that 3 times! Norbert was closing the walk with Robert’s Young 60/80SR, showing a little reach on the way. The demo went without a hitch and we finished that awesome day with pizza and beer, what better?img_6570

 

This year in Chattanooga was a once in a lifetime show. Not only because organizers did a wonderful job in commemorating what has defined our industry and made it stronger; but also because everyone eas excited, coming from all over the globe to reunite and create wonderful memories around the celebration of 100 years of tow trucks. We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who were present at the training, the demo and the show. A special thanks to our distributors. Without them nothing would have been possible, but also for your continuous efforts in promoting the brand and recruiting new members to the #NRCFAMILY. See y’all in Baltimore for new memories :)

Shannel Forgues