News: DRIVE Expo 2022 — What You Have to Look Forward to
On June 23-25, over 200 collision repair professionals gathered at the Gateway Conference Center in Richburg, S.C., for the inaugural Southeast Collision Conference hosted by the Carolinas Collision Association (CCA), Gulf States Collision Association (GSCA) and Tennessee Collision Repairers Association (TCRA). The three-day event featured a dozen classes taught by leading industry trainers, 42 exhibitor booths, over two dozen raffle prizes, an awards dinner and a Recycled Rides giveaway.
“Feedback was 98% positive,” said Josh Kent, executive director of CCA, GSCA and TCRA. “Vendors indicated that attendees represented quality shops that came with a specific purpose — they asked questions and made purchases. But more importantly, I think people felt the vibe was different at the Southeast Collision Conference than at other shows with regard to community and networking. We want people to meet each other, have a good time and truly enjoy themselves.”
Association leaders were pleased with the 2022 Southeast Collision Conference.
“We had an amazing event that truly exceeded our expectations,” said Kyle Bradshaw, president of the CCA. “It is nice to know that there are so many collision repair professionals out there who value their craft and are actively striving to better themselves and their businesses. We could not have put this event together without the support of our sponsors, vendors and speakers who selflessly gave their time and resources to put it together. I am humbled and honored to be a small part of CCA and the Southeast Collision Conference, and I am already looking forward to next year.”
Added TCRA President Mark Smith, “I was really impressed with our speakers, especially Mike Anderson. He always does a fantastic job and really gets you into the groove of learning. The conference went exceptionally well and was better than I’d even anticipated. We had a great turnout, and everyone did a fantastic job carrying through with what we put together.”
“It was great to have face-to-face interaction with so many colleagues new and old after having to delay things since COVID,” said Tracy Lewis, president of GSCA. “We so enjoyed the awards ceremony, listening to laughter and emotions as people honored others for their hard work. We had a great display from our vendors, and the education was something that everyone could have takeaways from. I look forward to seeing the conference grow and just get better and better in the coming years.”
The event focused on and promoted the value of unity and community between shops and associations, borne of a mutual desire to perform safe and proper repairs while running an honest, profitable business with integrity.
“Multiple people commented on the closeness of these three organizations,” said Kent. “It’s not just CCA calling CCA; GSCA calls CCA, and CCA calls TCRA. All three associations have opened their arms and ears to one another. They call each other and fly out to see shops in other states. CCA has been bringing that change to North Carolina shops for several years, and we want to bring it to the entire southeast region.”