Penn College Hosting Distinguished Automotive Conference

Published 07.06.1998


The North American Council of Automotive Teachers is celebrating its 25th annual conference and has selected Pennsylvania College of Technology to be the host site.

NACAT delegates from across the United States and Canada will converge on the Penn College campus the week of July 20-24 to learn about new advances in the transportation industry and new approaches in education.

Seminar presenters also will be in attendance representing a diverse array of transportation specialists, including industry giants like American Honda Motor Co., BMW of North America, Caterpillar, Chrysler Corp., Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Mack Trucks, Nissan Motor Corp., PPG Industries, Toyota and Valvoline. Transportation areas represented at the gathering include automotive, auto body, trucks and heavy equipment.

The conference will highlight emerging technologies such as alternative fuel-powered vehicles; electric vehicles from Ford and Toyota are expected to be on hand.

Colin W. Williamson, dean of the School of Transportation Technology at Penn College, says this is the first time the College has hosted the distinguished conference. As well, this is the first time in several years that the conference has been held on the East Coast.

"It's a competitive process to be the host site," Williamson explained. "We're honored they selected us, especially for a special anniversary the 25th. They only select the best colleges in the country to serve as the host sites. For Penn College, this means exposure for our majors and national prominence.

"This is part of a whole plan we're pursuing to become known as one of the elite automotive training facilities in the country. To be a leader in the field of automotive education, you have to be more than a teaching institution; you have to play a role in developing the career area. Our interest in NACAT is the fact that it is the only major automotive education association in North America. We feel we need to be a part of that association and help nurture it."

Making a guest appearance at the conference will be Indy Car (CART) Veteran Scott Pruett, who placed ninth in last year's PPG Cup standings. Pruett's appearance is being sponsored by Ford Motor Sports. He will be coming to the conference directly from a CART race in Toronto.

The event's opening keynote speaker will be Cheryl F. Adelman, of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Air and Radiation, who also is president of the Governing Board for Service Technicians Society. The closing keynote speaker will be Tim Mannello, senior vice president, managementand organizational development, Susquehanna Health System.

More than 200 NACAT delegates, along with their families, have registered for the event. With more than 70 seminars and nearly 50 vendors participating in a conference trade show, the total number of conference attendees will rise to more than 600 individuals. Participants will be staying in local hotels and taking in numerous area tourist attractions that have been promoted as part of the conference package. Several day outings have been arranged for the family members of conference participants, along with evening activities for all.

In addition to luncheons and an evening barbeque, attendees also will be treated to a banquet the evening of Thursday, July 23, featuring Benjamin Franklin, portrayed by Ralph Archbold. Archbold was chosen as the official Ben Franklin for the City of Philadelphia and became the primary spokesman for America's Constitutional Bicentennial Celebration. He has delighted thousands at corporate meetings, conventions and other gatherings with his talent for combining contemporary thought with the wisdom and witticisms of Franklin's time.

Penn College transportation faculty members, as well as College specialists in technology and distance learning, also will be heavily involved in the conference. The weeklong event will finalize an extensive, two-year planning process conducted by Penn College in order to host the conference.