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Trade shows aim to educate industry on best repair, business practices & helpful resources

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Announcements | Associations | Business Practices | Education
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Four trade upcoming trade shows in Oklahoma, Idaho, Illinois, and New Jersey will provide networking and product information-gathering opportunities as well as education on business operations, emerging technologies, and more.

This weekend, Feb. 2-3, the Oklahoma Autobody Association (AKABA) will host its show at the Cox Business Center in Tulsa from 5-10 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday.

The show is the first for the new association that began a year ago.

Speakers include Allision Massari, entrepreneur and motivational speaker; Mark Olsen, Vehicle Collision Experts; Tony Adams, AkzoNobel; Amber Ritter, Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF); Aaron Schulenberg, Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS), and Clay Hoberecht, Best Body Shop.

On Saturday, attendees will have their choice of two breakout education sessions from 9-10:15 a.m. and 10:30-11:45 a.m. from:

    • Adams: “Freedom to Speak?” — hear how to improve employee retention and engagement through improved communication;
    • Amber Ritter: “Take Charge of Your Future Workforce: 5 Steps to Start Today through Volunteerism;”
    • Aaron Schulenburg: “Battling the History of the Blend” — hear details about SCRS’ 2022 blend study results; and
    • Clay Hoberecht: “Etch-A-Sketch The Repair Industry — learn how to compete in the industry.

These breakout sessions will be held Friday from 1:15-2:30 p.m. and are first come, first served at registration. Maximum seating at each is for 50.

Massari will speak on “the mindset for success” followed by Olsen who will cover how to figure out your “roadmap for success” Saturday from 1:15-4:15 p.m.

Friday will end with a performance from comedian Billy D. Washington.

Registration for the vendor social Friday from 6-8:15 p.m., the comedy performance, breakout sessions, and continental breakfast and lunch on Saturday costs $75.

Next month, the Idaho Autobody Craftsman Association (IACA) will host “a day with industry leaders” trade show to offer tips on improving industry businesses. It will be held March 2 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Micron Education Center in Nampa.

IACA asks that attendees RSVP by Feb. 26 via email at

Speakers include Schulenburg, OE Connection (OEC), Certified Collision Group, CarADAS, and CCC Intelligent Solutions.

    • Schulenburg will provide an overview of what SCRS does for the industry on a national level from 8-9 a.m.;
    • OEC will talk about its latest offerings from 9:15-10 a.m.;
    • Marty Evans: Certified Collision Group will discuss OEM certifications and their future in the industry from 10:15-11 a.m.;
    • CarADAS will talk about the latest ADAS information from 11:15 a.m. to 12 p.m.; and
    • Jacob Ku, CCC will hold a Q&A session for new and existing users from 1-3 p.m.

“We tried to break it up into smaller short seminars rather than sitting through an all-day event on one topic,” said IACA Executive Director Matt Thornton, referring to this year’s new trade show format. “We want to try to provide a wide variety of stuff for the members and the other shops that can attend.”

Also, on March 2, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Illinois (AASP-IL) will hold its annual meeting and trade show from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Northern Illinois University (NIU) Conference Center in Naperville.

A hybrid version of the meeting will be broadcast for Southern Illinois shops from 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at Lander’s Collision Center in Mt. Vernon. A digital recording of exhibitor demos will also be played.

“Illinois is on the move,” said Julie Lombardo, AASP-IL executive director. “We have some amazing news that is relating to our industry for bringing technicians in.”

She said a new automotive collision education program is in the works for Rock Valley College in Rockford. It will add to the ongoing progress of collision programs at the College of Lake County, Parkland College, and Kennedy King College, she said.

Attendees will hear from the National AutoBody Research, Betag, OEC, Opus IVS ADAS Solutions Vice President Frank Terlep. There will also be an OEM speaker panel with a Q&A session.

Sam and Richard Valenzuela with National AutoBody will discuss market-based labor rates. Dave Flockhart with Betag will cover how to manage career paths. OEC will detail “9 Steps to Repair Planning Glory.” Terlep will cover how to get more with ADAS calibrations.

Through Feb. 22 those who have paid for 2024 membership can register for $175. The non-member rate is $200. At the door, the price goes up to $225. Admission to the Mt. Vernon livestream is $100 for members and $125 for non-members.

Breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be provided.

A hotel room block at Hampton by Hilton in Naperville is available for discounted reservations through Feb. 16.

The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP-NJ) will hold the NORTHEAST Automotive Services Show March 14-17 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Admission to the show is free for those who pre-register. Valid attendee badge IDs are required to register for seminars. More than 150 exhibitors will be on-site.

“We’ve expanded our education slate for this show so now the education runs from full-day Thursday all the way through to Sunday,” said Ken Miller, AASP-NJ president. “We’re looking forward to a great show this year.”

A full-day financial workshop by Elite Body Shop Academy’s Dave Luehr will be held Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Luehr will teach shop owners which key metrics to monitor and share tips on budgeting, forecasting, job costing, file closing best practices, and more.

The cost to attend the workshop is $450. After trade show attendees have a 2024 show badge ID, they can get a 50% discount on registration with the code “AASPNJ-50” at checkout.

Ahead of the first day of the show, the private “NORTHEAST 2024 Resolution Forum & Leadership Meeting” will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Events before the show on Saturday will include the “NORTHEAST Bodywork Bowl ii Collision Repair Skills Competition” and the annual Young Technician Award presentation. The competition awards ceremony will be held Sunday at 11:30 a.m.

Education at the show includes classes from Collision Advice, AirPro Diagnostics, Reliable Automotive Equipment, Spanesi Americas, BASF, I-CAR, Ford, and more. They will take place from 5-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Topics include:

    • Shop culture dos and don’ts;
    • How to improve communication with customers;
    • Advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) calibrations know-how;
    • How to take the stress out of blueprinting and improve each step of the keys-to-keys process;
    • Proving the importance of OEM-required repairs;
    • Panel discussion on forthcoming industry trends from electric vehicles, artificial intelligence, and ADAS to specializations and certifications;
    • Business succession planning; and
    • Much more.

Classes are $30 each, or $249 for a full weekend pass. Those who sign up can each bring a friend for free to the same class as the primary registrant. The plus-one can’t be used on alternate classes or days. Checking the blue “add plus 1” box at the far right during online registration is required.


Featured image: The floor of NORTHEAST 2019 is shown. (Provided by Thomas Greco Publishing)

More information

Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Northeast & Southeast repair industry conferences scheduled

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