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Another SEMA Show is history, and the perspective from the collision side is that the show exceeded expectations.
In a year of “firsts,” including I-CAR’s first-ever TechPro World Tour (a live welding demonstration) and SCRS’s Repairer Driven Education (RDE) training track featuring over 21 seminars, there was some question as to how the events might be received. So it was a relief to the organizers when, at the end of the week, positive comments abounded.
“It’s hard to set expectations with no history,” said SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg. “But SCRS dreams big, and SEMA and RDE turned out to be everything we hoped it would be. The feedback was all positive.”
Added SCRS Chairman Barry Dorn, “It was beyond our expectations. We had a thought on how the show should go, and we think it met it.”
Jeff Peevy, director of field operations for I-CAR, said he has been coming to the show for 21 years, and this one was the best.
“We didn’t know what to expect, but we were pleased because we had between 35 and 70 people at any one time at the TechPro World Tour, and booth traffic was higher than it has been in years,” Peevy said.
In fact, Peevy said I-CAR brought 2,500 bags to hand out at the show, and nearly all of them were snatched up.
The RDE educational track was kicked off on Nov. 4 by Charles Coonradt, author of “The Game of Work," "Managing the Obvious" and "The Better People Leader.” Other notable speakers included Mike Anderson, Toby Chess, Erica Eversman, J.D., John Sweigart, Patrick McGuire Esq., Steven Feltovich, Tim Ronak, Greg Horn and more.
“[The seminars] represented a broad scope those who attended felt like they couldn’t get anywhere else,” said Schulenburg. “And the caliber of those attendees was high, considering their basic understanding of all the material presented and the probing questions they asked.”
Added Dorn, “The exit polls for RDE were good, strong and high.”
Schulenburg, Dorn and Peevy all commented on the high level of fun and energy that existed at SEMA and said the show was a chance to meet a wide variety of repairers who had never heard of either SCRS or I-CAR.
“And we found a venue that, at $99 a night, isn’t that expensive and gives people a chance to cover the largest small business trade show in the country,” said Schulenburg. “Small and large shops alike were able to get fresh ideas and find new profit centers.”
Dorn couldn’t say enough about the staff of the Las Vegas Hilton and was very pleased with the accommodation shown. He remarked that 11 industry groups held meetings at the hotel, and none were charged for the space.
Jeff Hendler, administrator of the Collision Industry Conference (CIC), didn’t know what turnout to expect for the CIC reception, conference and Industry Achievement Luncheon either. But all three, according to Hendler, were smash hits.
“We were very pleasantly surprised at the turnout in this down economy and all the indecision where everyone was going to end up this year,” said Hendler. “We had the largest CIC meeting we’ve ever had in modern times, and on top of that we had the largest reception held in modern times. I was also pleasantly surprised at the number of new attendees, which was 60 to 65 compared to our usual 15 to 20.”