Welcome to the inaugural edition of the “Point of Impact” blog. From time to time, I’ll be using this format to share my thoughts on the collision repair business, the automotive industry and … life in general.
You can give some of the credit (or blame) to BodyShop Business Editor Jason Stahl. I’ve been mulling the idea of blogging for a while now, and when Jason revived his “Editor’s Notes 2.0,” it inspired me to take the plunge. (However, I won’t be analyzing any dreams in this post.)
So anyway, I spent the weekend in Secaucus, N.J., for the 2018 NORTHEAST Automotive Services Show, presented by the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ). This year, AASP/NJ took the event to another level – literally – by adding a second floor to the trade show. AASP/NJ also beefed up the education track by partnering with the Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association (WMABA), which offered some outstanding sessions through its Collision P.R.E.P. program.
Attendance was up 20 percent from last year, according to AASP/NJ. Part of that could be due to the fact that the East Coast was digging out from a major snowstorm that hit just prior to the 2017 NORTHEAST Show, which kept some attendees at home last year. The draw of the Collision P.R.E.P. program had to help too.
AASP/NJ said this year’s NORTHEAST show was the most successful one in the 41-year history of the event.
“The amount of traffic that came through the Meadowlands Exposition Center was unprecedented, and the quality of the various seminars and presentations held throughout the weekend far exceeded our greatest expectations,” AASP/NJ President Jerry McNee said.
For me, one of the highlights was Mike Anderson’s session (“Write it Right, with Life Nuggets to Live by”), which gave collision repairers a gameplan for negotiating with insurers. Mike’s presentation style is educational and entertaining, and his passion is contagious. (Can I get an “Amen?”)
Another highlight was the March 17 panel discussion that touched on two of the most important topics in collision repair today: OEM certification and OEM repair procedures. Moderated by Gary Wano, the panel confronted some hard truths about the changing landscape in the collision repair industry, and talked about some of the sacrifices involved in becoming certified.
The trade show exhibited some of the latest and greatest innovations in collision repair …
… and refinish.
It also offered plenty of eye candy …
… and more eye candy.
Another draw is the show’s proximity to New York City. From any of the hotels near the convention center, Manhattan is a 15-minute bus ride away.
Of course, there’s much more to Manhattan than Times Square.
For someone like me, who is trying to learn as much as I can about the collision repair industry, NORTHEAST 2018 was time well-spent. Look for coverage of the show on bodyshopbusiness.com, and maybe I’ll see you there next year.