The Automotive Service Association (ASA) Northwest 6th Annual Automotive Training Expo (ATE) was held at the Doubletree Hilton in Seattle, WA, March 21–23, 2014. With over 600 attendees and 83 exhibitors, the 2014 ATE marked the first year the event has been sold out. The goal of the event was to provide training for the automotive industry, including owners, managers, and technicians, and ATE 2014 really delivered with 62 training sessions, six of which were I-CAR courses taught by industry-leading professionals.
Attendees raved about ATE 2014, and some of the feedback that ASA Northwest has received so far included the following:
“2014 was the best ATE ever; my production team all brought back valuable information they could use the first day back to work, and my service advisors made subtle changes in how they function and brought up ARO and GP the first week back. If this improvement continues, we will pay the entire investment of sending six people to ATE back in three months just off of that, not including what the techs learned!”
“This was a premier event that allowed my team and me to increase our knowledge in all facets of our business as well as an amazing team-building experience. It’s a no-brainer that we will be back next year, and I think every shop should attend.”
“ATE teaches you to be better at your job.”
“ATE is a great way for automotive educators to get updated on current repair information. Attending is always a positive experience.”
Jeff Lovell, ASA Northwest president and executive director, notes “this year, our sixth year, was sold out and exceeded our expectations. We have grown this event from the first year of 173 attendees to over 600 attendees going to training classes with 12,430 hours of training. We also had 83 exhibitors participate in our expo both Friday and Saturday evening. The expo floor was sold out three months in advance!”
On March 20, 2014, the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) joined ATE to host their Spring 2014 General Meeting, and over 100 participants attended to discuss the topic of J-2534 Reprogramming.
At breakfast on March 22, 2014, renowned trainer Gary Smith presented “Success or Struggle,” and during lunch, Bryan Dodge taught attendees “How to Have Your Best Year Ever.”
Throughout the event, ATE offered an impressive trade expo with exhibitors displaying automotive parts, repair equipment, shop management services, and specialty products.
ATE attendees also had the chance to win a variety of door prizes, which were distributed throughout the weekend.
Lovell believes these types of association-sponsored events are important for members and the industry because it “brings our membership together to discuss issues affecting our industry, such as getting new technicians into the industry, environmental issues, legislative issues, and networking. It is so gratifying to have ATE grow each year and that it has established itself as the west coast’s premier training event. Our staff and volunteers help make this an exceptional event that provides quality training to all levels of the service and repair industry.”
In addition to ASA Northwest, sponsors for ATE included the Northwest Tire Dealers Association, Auto Shop Solutions (the official social media sponsor), and Parts & People Northwest, the official media sponsor of the event. ATE 2015 will be held March 20–22, 2015, at the Doubletree Hilton in Seattle, WA.