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Details shared about upcoming Southeast, Midwest & ABAT trade shows

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Three trade shows in the Midwest and Southeast are coming up later this year that are packed with education opportunities for the industry.

First is the Southeast Collision Conference, which is a partnership of the Carolinas Collision Association (CCA) and the Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association (WMABA). The show will be held featuring WMABA’s Collision P.R.E.P in Greensboro, North Carolina at the Greensboro Coliseum May 16-18.

The show will kick off on Thursday with an awards dinner at 6:30 p.m., followed by the trade show on Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Education will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Friday, May 17:

    • 8:30-10:30 a.m.
      “Future-proof Your Shop: Tomorrow’s Success Starts with Today”
      Mike Anderson, Collision Advice
    • 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. | LUNCH & LEARN
      “Efficiency Unleashed: Rethinking Roles in Collision Repair” with Michael Bradshaw of K&M Collision, Barry Dorn of Dorn’s Body & Paint, and Kris Burton of Rosslyn Auto Body
    • 2-3 p.m.: Option one — “The Critical Steps Involved to Achieve an OEM-Centric Calibration” with Greg Peeters, Car ADAS Solutions CEO; or option two — “Building Value in Your Shop” with Matt DiFrancesco, CExP principal/certified exit planner, High Lift Financial
    • 4:30-5:30 p.m.: Option one — “Self Confidence: An Advanced Repair Plan You Can Expand On” with Danny Gredinberg, DEG administrator and Kyle Motzkus, Hunter Autobody general manager, and Missouri Autobody Association; or option two — “Navigating the Challenges of Recruiting & Retaining Technicians” with Jay Goninen, WrenchWay co-founder and president

Saturday, May 18:

    • 8:30-9:30 a.m.: Option one — “100% Disassembly” with Mike Anderson, Collision Advice; or option two: “Do You Have Leaky Profit? Find Out Where Profit Leaks from Your Collision Center and How to Fill the Holes!” with Taylor Moss, OEConnection
    • 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | LUNCH & LEARN
      “Repairer to Repairer: RTA’s and PRI’s, The Process & the Shop’s Role”
      Panelists: Adrian Mora, Collision Consumer Advocates and Billy Walkowiak, Collision Safety Consultants. Moderated by Steve Krieps, WMABA immediate past president/Collision Safety Consultants of West Virginia
    • 2-3:30 p.m.: Option one — “Nurturing the Goose That Laid the Golden Egg” with Bruce Schronce, StrongLead’s executive partner and leadership and business consultant; or option two — “Increased Profitability through Proper Documentation: How Communication, Documentation and Collision Shop Positioning Must Change in 2024 and Beyond” with Keith Manich, AMAM director of collision Services, Automotive Training Institute

To register, click here. Member pre-registration costs $99. Non-member costs $179. Walking the trade show floor is free and excludes classes.

WMABA’s 2024 “Shops Rate Insurers” survey is also underway for collision repairers in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington D.C. to anonymously rate insurance company market behaviors regarding claims handling.

The survey is aimed at “keeping with our ongoing commitment to provide consumer-driven resources, tools, and actionable information to our membership and the industry at large,” according to WMABA.

“This survey allows shops to rate insurers on their market conduct, including communications and claims handling, knowledge of repair processes, payment for OEM documented repairs, and much more,” WMABA said. “It also provides shops with the opportunity to share specific feedback regarding insurers, which helps us to identify trends and issues as they emerge and develop resources and solutions to support our members and their customers.”

WMABA hopes that the results “show the overall perception from the repair industry to their claims staff” and that the information helps improve relationships with the carriers in the area, according to its industry surveys webpage. The website also lists last year’s survey questions and results from prior surveys.

On May 31 and June 1, the Midwest Collision Repair Trade Show & Conference will be held in Overland Park, Kansas at the Overland Park Convention Center. This year is the third show.

“What I love about it is it’s a huge collaborative effort; multiple states come aboard,” said Gina Cotton, executive director of the Missouri Auto Body Association and Nebraska Auto Body Association. “Speakers come from all over… there’s definitely a void in the Midwest.”

The first year’s show had attendees from 25 states. Last year, attendees were from 33 states and Quebec, Canada.

The show will include a welding competition sponsored by Solidus in which contestants will compete for a $5,000 Solidus MIG welder.

Education on Friday will include “100% Disassembly and Parts Best Practices” with Anderson and Jeff Oldenettel from Collision Advice from 12-5 p.m. followed by Anderson opening the show up with a welcome reception on the trade show floor at 5:30. The show will be open until 10 p.m.

From 8-11 p.m., a “Totally 80s Dance Party” will be held, presented by Spanesi, with live band AM/FM whose members include former shop owner Todd Speidell and one of the shop’s painters.

The show will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Saturday education will include:

    • 8-9:30: Anderson and Craig Stephens, with CCC Intelligent Solutions, will cover CCC One product updates, new features, and the use of artificial intelligence in his class “Your Customer Experience: Why It Matters Now More Than Ever.”
    • 8-9 a.m.: Presentation by Erin Solis, Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) __ and Certified Collision Group __. More details on what she’ll cover to come.
    • 8-10 a.m.: Sheryl Driggers, with Collision Advice, will present “Beyond Transactional to Relational” with customers.
    • 9-10 a.m.: Rod Cahoy with PPG will present “Refinish Area Optimization — How to Maximize Throughput and profit with Real World Examples.”
    • 10-11:30 a.m.: “Buying and Selling A Business” with Anderson; Casey Lund, Collision Leaders, and Ryan Clark, Eustis Body Shop.
    • 10-11 a.m.: Tyler Claypool with Optima Automotive will present. More details on what he’ll cover to come.
    • 10-11:30 a.m.: “Building a Body Shop in a Box and Culture from the Inside Out so it Can be Duplicated” with Tim Morgan and Clay Hoberecht from Spanesi.
    • 12-1:30 p.m.: Lunch and keynote speaker Anderson. Anderson will discuss “Success Today, Success Tomorrow” based on his insights from his personal experiences and traveling more than 300 days a year to work with hundreds of shops, OEMs, and software companies.
    • 2-3 p.m.: “Certification: What Does It Mean to You?” will be presented by Lucid’s Jake Rodenroth and Rivian’s Casey Hamilton.
    • 2-3 p.m.: “Are You Measuring All of Your Repairs Correctly?” will be presented by Alex Stapleton and Jeremy Holloway from Spanesi.
    • 2-3 p.m.: “Financial Bootcamp” with Maria Quintero of Collision Advice.

The day will wrap up from 3-4 p.m. with an awards ceremony.

General admission and classes are free. Online registration is required. The luncheon with Anderson is $55.

Coming up in July is the Auto Body Association of Texas (ABAT) trade show in Irving, Texas.

It will held July 12-13 at The Irving Convention Center from  1-8 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Seminars will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Final show plans and classes haven’t been shored up yet. Check back later on the show website for details. ABAT Executive Director Jill Tuggle said the annual “Big Shots Competition, car show, women’s event, and after-show party will return.

During Big Shots, contestants compete in painting, body and glue pull repair, and estimating. Contestants will compete for a $1,000 cash prize and several other prizes.

In the vein of “outside-the-box fun” similar to last year’s “Industry Over A Pint,” Tuggle said there will be a gameshow this year.

As for education options, Anderson and others from Collision Advice will speak as well as EagleMMS.

The women’s event will include mixology classes and other activities. The after-show party will coincide with ABAT’s 10th-year celebration.

A celebrity guest will host the car show, which will be announced when confirmed.

Show registration opens in March.


Featured image: Mike Anderson of Collision Advice speaks during a 2022 class at the Midwest Collision Repair Trade Show & Conference. (Photo courtesy of Gina Cotton)

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