Collision repair professionals from across North America came together recently at NACE in New Orleans, LA, to network, see the latest and greatest in equipment and products, and to contemplate a smaller but still high-quality event. Some 225 companies occupied 50,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space but attendees were fewer in number from last year’s Orlando venue.
“It was a great pleasure to have Dick Cross open the 30th Anniversary general session,” said Ron Pyle, ASA president. “He delivered a practical and easy-to-implement plan for success. I am sure everyone in attendance agrees that he was extremely motivational and an excellent choice to kick off this very special ASRW.”
Leadership and Management Tactics
NACE began October 10 with a series of seminars and lectures regarding sales tactics and innovation of paint and materials, including The Art of the Deal—Acquiring and Developing New Locations; Marketing to Generations X and Y; and Paint and Materials: The Paradigm Shift.
The afternoon sessions saw a focus on leadership, delegation and customer management tactics, aimed at retaining and appeasing your staff and customers. Seminars included Leadership Best Practices—How to Inspire, Delegate and Coach Your Team to Success, by Mike Anderson; Calming and Retaining Angry Customers, by Margie Seyfer and Guilt by Association—Defining Your Image, by Tony Nethery. Kurt Lammon of Urethane Supply Company instructed viewers on how to properly weld plastic with nitrogen, while Dan Espersen of ALLDATA taught the best practical applications of OEM Information.
I-CAR spokesmen Bob Zelano and Jeff Poole ran afternoon seminars on Corrosion Protection and Hazardous Materials, Personal Safety and Refinish Safety, respectively.
The first day of NACE was capped off with the Assembly, a confidential, closed-door forum for collision repairers.
NACE continued with tutorials, demonstrations and information pertaining to every aspect of the collision repair industry. The exposition portion of the event also opened at 10:00 am, offering the latest products, services and technologies from industry leaders.
The Profit Building Pavilion portion of the exposition showcased vendors with customer-driven products, such as Autoshop Solutions, Demandforce, Mudlick Mail Co. and Net Driven Media.
The morning of Oct. 10 saw several seminars headed by I-CAR. Bob Zelano ran a seminar on automotive foams and Tony Nethery instructed participants on proper measuring methods.
Educational highlights included I-CAR representative Shawn Collins’s workshop on Blueprinting Process and Damage Discovery, (BLU01); I-CAR’s Bob Zelano presenting the Steel Unitized Structures Technologies and Repair class and Bryan Dodge of Dodge Development’s presentation on balancing your work and life.
Blueprinting Process and Damage Discovery
This new course provided an interactive training experience and was filled to capacity during both sessions. I-CAR offered special premiere pricing for this course launch with a cost savings of $56 for standard pricing.
The new Live Demo course demonstrates I-CAR’s commitment to increased student interaction in the classroom and uses an actual vehicle to demonstrate technique while engaging students in the learning process.
Rich Southerland of Alldata attended the Thursday premiere of Blueprinting Process and Damage Discovery and stated, “This is the best I-CAR class I’ve attended. I couldn’t imagine how this would not benefit any tech or shop employee.”
The course led students beyond the disassembly of damaged parts to help them uncover hidden damage that can impact the repair process and provided a number of demonstrations, including quick checks and implementation tips. Students who attended the course gained an understanding of the definition of the blueprinting process and how the process can help improve repair quality through a standardized approach to collision repair planning.
The day wound down with the ASRW Welcome Party, sponsored by CCC, was held at the iconic Mardi Gras World venue, basically a warehouse of larger than life characters used on floats and in Mardi Gras themed events. Attendees were toured through the warehouse where Mardi Gras floats are manufactured, and ended up at the Grand Oaks Mansion next door where some excellent local dishes were offered.
NACE events on Oct. 11 ended with the ASRW Industry Awards ceremony completing the second day of NACE. The ceremony was held at the National World War Two museum.
The NACE conference continued on Oct. 11 with several I-CAR seminars, human resource tutorials and team development clinics. The ASRW Collision Forum also took place in the morning.
The ten-and-a-half-hour MSO (Multi-store operators) Symposium hosted by Matthew Ohrnstein of Symphony Advisors took place Friday. The symposium spanned the duration of the NACE Friday schedule and was comprised of five panels that aimed to help multi-store business owners, many of whom take over failing operations in order to rejuvenate them, improve aspects of their businesses including culture, branding, customer relations, leadership and finance.
The MSO Symposium also included networking opportunities for owners, and ended with a networking reception in the evening.
Shawn Collins held his second seminar on Blueprinting Process and Damage Discovery, while Bob Zelano taught the second Structural Straightening Steel seminar, both hosted by I-CAR. The seminars were add-on educational seminars available on both Thursday and Friday. OEMs including General Motors, Toyota and Nissan all sponsored booths during the show, offering promotional giveaways and showcasing new products.
Some highlights from the on-floor demo area included exhibits from Innova Electronics Corp. on how their CarScan tools benefit shops and CAS of New England revealing The Truth About Programming in Today’s Vehicles.
Kaeser Compressors created an informative technical (not sales-oriented) presentation titled “Compressed Air Requirements for Waterborne Paints.” It was held October 10 to help repairers make practical choices for their shops. Topics included: sources of moisture and contaminants, air system components that affect paints and finishes, the impact of air amplifiers and more.
Some workshops on Friday afternoon focused on the financial aspect of collision repair. Mike Anderson of CollisonAdvice.com spoke on measuring performance in Financial Best Practices. Dan Stander of FIX Auto Highland Ranch moderated The Keys to Successful Estimating! panel, in which data providers addressed audience questions.
Denise Caspersen of ASA and Melissa Miller of CARSTAR encouraged women to be courageous leaders in their seminar, one of several in the Women’s Professional Development track of NACE. (See story this issue.)
Twenty 2.0 peer benchmarking
A new-to-NACE-this-year, Twenty 2.0 peer benchmarking event was attended by about 20 repairers and ran on Friday afternoon hosted by keynote speaker Dick Cross.
Twenty 2.0 is/was a peer benchmarking/virtual 20 group concept, applicable to both mechanical service/repair and collision repair shop owners focused on doing “the job at the top.” The 90-minute session began with a half hour introductory session, followed by an hour-long breakout session. All participants had the opportunity to enroll in the formal (ongoing) Twenty 2.0 virtual 20 group at the conclusion of the session.
“Shop owners interested in obtaining the value of participating in a 20 group process with a non-traditional time or financial investment won’t want to miss this unique session,” said ASA president Ron Pyle in advance of the event. “We’ve taken the 20 group concept and upgraded it to the digital age. Participants who formally enroll will receive all the benefits of belonging to a 20 group, with a virtual twist.”