Wow! I’m sure by now that most of you have heard what a great show NACE 2011 was. I want to use this space to thank Ron Pyle, the Automotive Service Association (ASA) and Hanley Wood Expositions for giving the industry such an excellent collision repair show. Ron and his organization listened to their members and industry suppliers and really hit a home run.
It had been quite a while since there was a show for those of us in the Eastern United States, and shops responded by turning out in solid numbers. Attendance was up over 15 percent from 2010 levels. This year, more than 20,000 total tickets were sold to the event. The truly great thing about these figures is that more than 40 percent of those attendees were new to the show.
When a show can post that kind of growth and new attendees, it’s definitely on the right track. Producing a show of this magnitude is no small feat. It takes literally a year and thousands of hours to get it ready and then complete it. I applaud ASA and Hanley Wood on the excellent job that was done this year in Orlando.
Trade shows are an important part of our business, as they give all of us the ability to see new equipment and get trained on the ever-changing technologies in our business. Vehicles are changing at a rate that’s almost impossible to stay current on. NACE is an excellent way for all of you to get information and see the latest in shop equipment and materials.
I understand that NACE will be held in New Orleans next year. This venue will give a whole different set of shops a place they can get to easily to learn about new technologies. While I understand that moving the show around increases the burden on those who put it together, it’s well worth it in terms of increasing certain shops’ ability to attend.
Every vendor I spoke with on the floor told me how great it was to get out with the shops and be able to show them their products and explain the new advancements in the industry. We here at BodyShop Business had the opportunity to talk to many of the shops as well, and they seemed to be grateful to be able to get out of their busy environments for a day and see what the rest of the industry was up to.
Education in this business is the key to our future. What we do every day keeps this country moving and drivers safe in their vehicles. We all need to be the best and most efficient repairers in the business. The only way we can do that is by having the best equipment and understanding all the latest technology. Trade shows such as NACE are an excellent way to get all of this in one place.