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See You At SEMA

Editor Jason Stahl looks back on his first experience at the SEMA Show.

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Jason Stahl has 28 years of experience as an editor, and has been editor of BodyShop Business for the past 16 years. He currently is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference. Jason, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from John Carroll University and started his career in journalism at a weekly newspaper, doing everything from delivering newspapers to selling advertising space to writing articles.

I’ll never forget my first SEMA Show experience. Someone had tried to prepare me by saying, “Imagine the biggest trade show you’ve ever been to…then multiply that by 100! It’s that big!” Still, when I showed up, the size and scale blew my mind.

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I remember walking through the tire section and feeling like I had just stepped into an ultra-exclusive, high-end nightclub. The bass was pumping, the lights were turned low, and tall, voluptuous women were approaching me left and right (where they usually run screaming in the opposite direction).

Indeed, that trip was my first to Las Vegas ever! Up to that point, the basis for most of my knowledge of that town was the infamous book written by Hunter Thompson, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” So of course I half-expected to see animals doing acrobatic stunts on trapezes. While I didn’t quite see that, I did see people getting tattoos of tire treads on the show floor. And the cars…oh my. Every single one I passed, I found myself daydreaming about the same thing: me jumping in behind the wheel, tearing out of the show with a stylish squeal of the tires and heading into the sunset.

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The growth of the Collision Repair & Refinish section at SEMA and the Repairer Driven Education seminars offered by the Society of Collision Repair Specialists has been encouraging to me. In fact, with all that’s being offered this year, including a discussion on State Farm’s controversial parts bidding program and a “Game Changers – Innovation Forum,” I think that any collision repairers who don’t go will miss out on staying in touch with the very information they need to grow their businesses in today’s ultra competitive and changing market. Check out our special SEMA Show preview section to see what else is going on. And hopefully I’ll see you there!

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