Gerling & Associates Kicks Off Busy ’14, Addresses Pending Industry Regulations

With all the festivities in Times Square, Herald Square, and Newark’s Prudential Center — not to mention the big game itself at MetLife Stadium — countless trucks have rolled into the greater New York-New Jersey area to cover Super Bowl XLVIII.

And the majority of those trucks are rolling thanks to Gerling & Associates.

“It’s going to be done with just about all G&A-built trailers,” says Gerling & Associates President Fred Gerling. “Game Creek Video is doing the project for Fox, and the trailers that they will be using for the main event and the halftime [show] were all built right here by the men and women at Gerling & Associates in Sunbury, OH.”

No stranger to big-time events, Gerling estimates that G&A trailers have been deployed in the past 15 Super Bowls. Sunday’s game, however, is just the beginning of a very busy 2014.

The company currently has 19 high-end television-production trailers on order, thanks in part to the number of media contracts being renegotiated this year. Often, says Gerling, media contracts are renegotiated with new trucks (on new trailers) included. “They’re required to provide in these new contracts new trailers,” he says, “and all the sports were up this year and going into next year. So there’s a great deal of business there between all these new contract wars.”

Another contributing factor to G&A’s business boom is the need for more space. In addition to the linear broadcast, networks are looking to feed content to multiple platforms, requiring additional equipment and personnel.

To accommodate the need for additional space, Gerling & Associates is designing a trailer that will expand not only side to side but also upwards. “I think you’ll see the first one of those fielded sometime in 2014, definitely 2015,” reports Gerling. “We’ve got a number of people interested in that.”

Gerling also has his eye on a number of environmental regulations affecting the mobile-production industry, specifically those imposed by the California Air Resources Board. According to the CARB regulations, tractors and 53-ft. trailers operating in California must comply with new regulations pertaining to fuel emissions, aerodynamics, truck weight, and more.

Mobile-production units comprise a small fraction of the overall shipping fleet but are subject to the same regulations, even though many are designed to be more aerodynamic than the standard 18-wheeler. Notes Gerling, they can be pulled over at any time by enforcement officials, wreaking havoc on scheduling.

“If you have a television truck that is working on a tight schedule that did a show in Denver and then got caught in a blizzard coming through western Colorado and they’re running late and the truck is hung up for a couple of hours, that can really be disastrous to a tight show time,” he says. “That’s the whole thing that we’re concerned about.”

The solution, he opines, is complete exemption for the mobile-production trucks and trailers — not only in California but nationwide once the regulations are adopted by other states — and obtaining EPA SmartWay approval for the entire fleet. (EPA’s SmartWay program provides incentives for truck companies to reduce transportation-related emissions and boost fuel efficiency.)

“If we can get everybody in the industry to sign on and get SmartWay, the entire fleet is exempt forever. And that’s what the ultimate goal is,” says Gerling. “If everybody would just get together on this subject and get EPA’s attention, we can attain the ultimate goal of SmartWay approval.

“That’s the ultimate goal,” he continues, “and we have to have everybody.”