Roll the Dice - BodyShop Business

Roll the Dice

There’s never been more of a sure thing than the NACE show, which enters its 26th year and promises to deal you a full deck of new ideas to increase your business’s profitability.

Normally, the rule is, “Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” But if you’re attending the 26th annual International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE) at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas Nov. 5-8, there will be plenty you won’t want to leave behind – like your hard-earned cash, which you’ll inevitably misplace somewhere on a gaming table or in a slot machine.

But let’s focus on the things you’ll not want to forget about on the flight home, namely the 57 conference sessions (39 of which are brand new) available Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The sessions cover up-and-coming industry trends – including “Understanding ‘Green’ Consumer Trends,” “Lean 101,” “Waterborne – Body Shop Best Practices” and “Hybrids” – and issues shop face every day, like “Negotiating with Insurers in Both DRP and Non-DRP Environments” and “Estimating Best Practices.” And if you want to earn credits toward your Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) designation through the Automotive Management Institute (AMI), the odds are in your favor: 44 of the 57 conference sessions are AMI-approved and will earn you credits toward the AAM designation.

I-CAR technical training is also available Wednesday and Saturday for an additional $75 per session, and a new “Train the Trainer” course for $150 schools the industry’s educators on the fundamentals of teaching. Visit and click “Search Seminars” or “Schedule at a Glance” for full lists of sessions and events.

If you’re one of those people who loves Vegas for the bargains (free drinks while you gamble, 99-cent shrimp cocktail, all-you-can-eat buffets), then why not take advantage of the freebies included with your NACE registration? On Friday and Saturday mornings, free Early Bird Roundtable sessions are available to anyone who can manage the 7 a.m. start time. Topics include: “How to Make More Money Without Increasing Prices,” “Tips for Rekeying,” “Increasing Referrals,” “What to Expect in the Year 2011,” “Succeeding as a Woman in a Male-Dominated Industry” and “Recruiting Techniques.”

Thursday through Saturday, you can also browse the more than 150,000 square feet of exhibitor space filled by more than 500 companies showcasing the latest technology for your shop. The
I-CAR Technology Showcase offers free educational clinics on the exhibition floor and will cover “green” refinishing practices, aluminum repair, high-strength steel, hybrid vehicles, electronic vehicle systems and factory vs. repair attachment methods.

This year, Automotive Service & Repair Week (ASRW) will make its debut, combining NACE with the Congress of Automotive Repair & Service (CARS). CARS exhibitors will share NACE floor space to showcase the latest repair and service products. NACE attendees can also check out the demonstrations and interactive seminars available from the Auto Glass Expo at NACE to learn more about glass repair.

With so many events under one roof, it will be easy to get overwhelmed, but maybe keynote speaker and NFL MVP Archie Manning – you know, Peyton and Eli’s dad – will help you keep within the hashmarks. Check out his talk, “Principles for Success,” at the opening general session Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Manning will motivate using his life experience and love of football as a guide. Admission is free with Super Pass registration. And speaking of openings, don’t forget to attend the NACE welcome reception on Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. Come for the food, drinks and music, stay for the opportunity to network, and mix with friends and industry peers.

The bottom line is that if you attend this year’s NACE, it’s no gamble you’ll walk away with
the tools to run a better shop. All you have to do is ante up…er, show up.

Hannah Schiffman is managing editor of BodyShop Business. She can be reached at (330) 670-1234 ext. 261.

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