Jump to content

Joe Marconi

Highlights from the NACE/CARS Convention at Las Vegas

Recommended Posts

Highlights from the NACE/CARS Convention at Las Vegas


The convention had more collision industry companies and OE presence than the auto repair sector. The overwhelming majority of people attending were also from the collision side. I did get a chance to speak to many shop owners from all segments of the industry and to many of the companies on the convention floor. The seminars were very worthwhile, both technical and business and overall the Convention was very informative and valuable.


Here are some of the highlights:


• Key note speaker, Kelly McDonald, spoke about the diversity in not only the work place but our consumers and how we need to change our businesses in order to compete in the future market place. She also touched upon the differences in the generations and how they will differ in the workplace and the challenges we will have with advertising and marketing to the younger generations, which are vastly different from the baby boomers.

• There were companies like Elite that presented seminars and business solutions for both collision shops and repairs shops.

• Many new car dealer owners I spoke to were at the convention to find out about the collision side of the industry and plan to expand into the collision business and auto repair business. For some, selling cars will no longer be their number one profit center.

• May business seminars focused on the customer, the future and the how we need to become customer focused and get the people in our company working toward the common good of the company.

• The collision companies dominated the convention from hardware suppliers, to paint, to body structure and glass. Many on-the-floor presentations showed new techniques for collision shops.

• The OE manufacture showed their support for not only their dealer franchises, but to the aftermarket collision business. The OE promoted factory approved parts vs. aftermarket parts for collision shops. It appears that the OE, ASA and the collision side of the business are aligning themselves together, from my perspective.

• AutoShop Solutions, a company that can help shops with Internet marketing, sales and training.

• On the floor, mini technical clinics gave the attendees a brief overview of the complex future we are facing with respect to technology.

• Mitchell1 and CARQUEST presented their new features and how they are committed to the aftermarket repair business.

• Repair Pal was there with live demonstrations about their online service.


There was a lot more, if I remember any other important highlights I will be sure to add them. Working the Elite Booth with Bob Cooper, Karen Cooper, Kirk Gray and Mike Boden was rewarding. It gave me the opportunity to meet many industry leaders and great shop owners from around the country and Canada.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Forum Topics

    • By flacvabeach
      I serve on the board of directors of the Virginia Automotive Association (VAA). The primary purpose of this organization is to lobby the state legislature to try and keep them from passing laws and regulations that are harmful to our industry. Membership includes about 170 shop and industry sponsors. Every year VAA has a convention that includes speakers, training round table discussion and a trade show. This year's convention is being held at the Williamsburg Lodge in famous Colonial Williamsburg Virginia 24-26 April. We expect about 300 attendees. Keynote speakers include Chubby Fredericks from ATI, Dave Crawford of The Hybrid Shop and others. You don't have to be a member to attend. The agenda leaves time to enjoy the colonial area, so you can bring your family and turn it into a vacation.You can get more info about the convention at the VAA website.
    • By Alex
      Has anyone attended the SEMA show this year? If so...any feedback?

      Tuesday, November 4 – Friday, November 7, 2008
      The SEMA Show is the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world (PLEASE NOTE: THE SEMA SHOW IS NOT OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC). It draws the industry’s brightest minds and hottest products to one place, the Las Vegas Convention Center. As part of the AAIW, the SEMA Show attracts more than 100,000 industry leaders from over 100 countries for unlimited profit opportunities in the automotive, truck and SUV, marine and RV markets. SEMA Show 2006 drew over 50,000 domestic and international buyers through two million square feet of exhibits. The displays are segmented into 11 sections, and a New Products Showcase features more than 2,000 newly introduced parts, tools and components. In addition, the SEMA Show provides attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, networking opportunities and more…
      SEMA Show Web Site
    • By CarER
      So I was wondering if any fellow ASO members ever heard of / been to "The Auto Repair Event" in Las Vegas hosted by Ron Ipach?
      If so, is it worthwhile? Is anyone planning on going this year? I plan on attending, so maybe I can meet some of you guys?
      Sorry, that's a lot of separate questions...
    • By Dave Pelaez
      Due to family issues I have to sell the shop or it's contents. It has been open for almost 2 years and is grossing between 250k-300k per year with only me and 2 employees. I am also willing to sell all the equipment and furniture if buyer does not want to lease in the current location. If interested please email me at [email protected]
    • By Gonzo
      The Best of the Best
      Overland Park Convention Center, Kansas City, Missouri is the place for the Vision HiTech training convention. I try to attend every year, take some classes, browse the expo, and meet up with some old friends. Classes range from Hybrid service, scope and scanner reading, diesel and gas engine drive-ability, to shop management. Some of the top instructors gather at this convention and put together some of the best classes I’ve ever attended. Whether it’s your first year or your 40th year in the repair business you’ll learn something new from attending the Vision HiTech convention.
      My first class was on hybrid battery servicing. Really great stuff, lots of insight on what is involved, the theory behind the technology, and how to properly recharge, discharge and tests each cell separately. Most of the classes were all day, the morning half was lecture and familiarization with the tools and specifications while the afternoon session is actual hands on. Exceptional information and instruction.
      I also sat in on a scope reading class, diesel diagnostics, and spent some time in the hybrid diagnostic class. Every one of them was top notch. Then, with time to spare, I made the rounds through the expo and talked with several vendors and suppliers. Lots of things to see, from tires to tools to demonstrations, there was something there for every form of automotive repair.
      Every aspect of the classes, seminars on future technology, luncheon speeches, live pod-casts, and “think tank” discussions panels was well received and attended. But, for me, not only was the expo, the seminars, the class instructors, and the various college level instructors from across the country that were impressive it was the guys and gals that swing the wrenches down in the service bays from across the country that were just as impressive.
      These are the guys and gals that have taken on this thankless job as a career. Sure, we all have those customers that really appreciate what it takes to do this job, but it’s sometimes hard for some people to comprehend the amount of ever changing knowledge a person has to retain to be a professional mechanic. Most of the time, the general public doesn’t have a clue as to what it takes to be a professional mechanic. These guys and gals do.
      This convention brings out the cream of the crop, and those individuals who are seeking to become a better technician as well. These are the individuals, shops, and service centers that want to do a better job for their customers. One thing is for sure, you don’t go to one of these conventions to learn to be a parts changer, this is the real deal, this is the type of convention you attend to become one of the best of the best.
      An email I received said it best. “I learned a lot at the convention and now I’m back at my job and have to deal with all of these not so educated guys from other repair shops all over again.” What I believe he meant to say was there are so many variations of the word “mechanic” out there that a lot of people just lump them all into one term... “Mechanic”. (It almost sounds like a four letter word to me when somebody is at the service counter and says, “My friend already told me what’s wrong, cause he’s a mechanic just like you.”) In my opinion, what they are really telling me is there “mechanic” either doesn’t have the tools to perform the necessary repair, or they have never taken any training on how to perform the repair. (Or they ran out of parts to swap.)
      These are the “mechanics” (there’s that four letter word again) that give the rest of the auto industry a bad name. Parts changers, guess-and-go repair shops, and the preverbal, “I had the codes checked at the parts store.” (Codes are NOT parts people!)
      For the guys and gals attending these training conventions it’s all about learning or updating their skills, not about changing parts. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean that if you didn’t attend you’re not one of the top notch mechanics out there, heck no... If you’re reading this then you obviously are thinking along the same lines as the guys and gals that had the opportunity to attend the convention, and I’ll bet you probably would have liked to have gone but for whatever reason you weren’t able to. I’m talking about those “mechanics” that don’t attend, don’t read the latest technical articles and procedures, don’t keep up with the technology and don’t want any part of learning up to date practices because they either think they already know everything or are to dang stubborn to think somebody might know more about it. (You’re never too old to learn something new.)
      The other part about attending conferences and conventions like Vision is the “meet and greet” side of things. Think about it, you’re at a convention where likeminded individuals are in attendance, you’re on common ground. They understand the daily grind, the diagnostic and tool issues, the grease and grime, and what it’s like to deal with every aspect of trying to make a living from the underside of a hood. Each and every one of them has a story to tell, and it wasn’t uncommon to see techs from different parts of the country get together at the nearest watering hole and swap their latest stories. When the evening came to a close, every one left with a new found respect for their trade, themselves, and the other attendees.
      So there’s a lot more going on at these conventions than classes and sales pitches at the expo. It’s a place for the best of the best to meet the rest of the best of the best. I’m never disappointed after spending a few hours with some of these guys and gals at these conventions, and I plan on continuing to do so.
      Until we reach a point in the far reaching future where all this car knowledge can be surgically implanted or is taken over by some weird futuristic robot control, attending a few classes to increase your knowledge is one sure way to keep up with the best of the best.
      Click here to view the article
  • AutoShopOwner Sponsors