This year coming into the SEMA Show, my schedule changed a little bit, to say the least. I knew I would be experiencing a new market on a whole new level, but I didn’t know it was going to be this drastic.
I usually have meetings all over the place, but most of my travel during industry week has always been between the Sands Expo & Convention Center and the Las Vegas Convention Center, getting the most out of the AAPEX and SEMA shows. For 10 years, I have been servicing the same industries and have met a lot of great people along the way. This is the time of year when you make every attempt to meet with all of your customers and strategize on how to grow your businesses together. However, this year I was told I would be delivering a speech to a group of hundreds at the Collision Industry Red Carpet Awards Breakfast, honoring our Multi-Shop Executive of the Year and our Single-Shop Executive of the Year. Instantly, I paused with lack of comment, which is not normal for me, and thought to myself with a little anxiety, “It all changes this year.”
And boy am I glad it did! The awards breakfast started at 7:30 a.m., and I was slated to speak first. I arrived way too early to make sure I knew where I was going and to also make sure I had all the table accommodations handled. And, not to mention, to make sure our awards were there in one piece.
As the time got closer and the ballroom filled up, it was time for me to head to the stage. As I stood up there and spoke to this crowd for the first time, I noticed how everyone was engaged and paying attention and truly enthused to be there. Both gentlemen who received our Executive of the Year awards were very gracious and humbled by the recognition. And during my speech, as I recited the accomplishments of these award recipients, there were moments of applause – and that’s when I realized this is going to be a great ride!