Ah, Las Vegas. Sin City, as they call it, a place where anything’s possible – losing all your money, suffering from a bout of total amnesia, wedding someone you don’t know and befriending a midget named Carmen who convinces you to get out of the collision repair business and into mobile pet care. And even though that may seem like a good idea given how slim profits are these days, don’t do anything rash until you hit the floor at the International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE) at Mandalay Bay Convention Center Nov. 1-4. Checking out innovative new equipment that can make your operations more efficient or attending a conference session that could boost your brain into one worthy of the envy of Harvard Business School grads might just change your mind.
This year’s show will offer 56 conference sessions focused on collision repair with 75% of them being new to the lineup, including DRPs – In Need of Change?, High Strength Steel Properties & Repairability, The Cost of Comebacks and Are You Sure It’s A Total? Sessions will be held Wednesday, Nov. 1 – Saturday, Nov. 4. Out of the 56 sessions, 70% are accredited by the Automotive Management Institute (AMI). You can search online at
www.NACEexpo.com for a complete listing of sessions, descriptions
In addition, I-CAR will present six training sessions on Wednesday, Nov. 1 and two on Saturday, Nov. 4. New classes include Collision Repair Overview for Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep Vehicles (DCX01) and Steering and Suspension Damage Analysis (DAM06).
NACE is also offering seven new attractions at this year’s show. The Auto & Cycle Alley will give NACE attendees an opportunity to show off their personal cars, trucks or bikes for a chance at winning prizes up to $3,000. The I-CAR Technology Showcase will offer attendees a chance to get free education right on the NACE show floor. And now that the Auto Glass Expo has merged with NACE, attendees also will be able to check out the latest trends in auto glass replacement/repair products and technologies. Other brand spanking new stuff: the live exhibitor demos (where you can test out products in a real, on-site work environment), virtual reality competitions, an estimating skills station and early-bird roundtables on a variety of
Some other key events at this year’s NACE include Wednesday’s IBIS@NACE — an all-day globally focused program and luncheon (IBIS@NACE packages are $350); Thursday’s Opening General Session featuring former NFL quarterback and Hall of Famer Troy Aikman; Friday morning’s OE Forum where major U.S. and foreign auto manufacturers respond to your questions; and Saturday morning’s Town Hall Breakfast meeting sponsored by BASF titled, “The Total Loss Dilemma, It Affects Us All.”
Also not to be missed — Wednesday evening’s Welcome Reception, which will be held at Studio 54 nightclub in the MGM Grand.
And, as much as you might like to, don’t forget your spouse. New and improved packages for spouses this year include a spouse-only mixer, an exclusive spouse lounge, spouse shopping shuttles, a Vegas Mob Tour, Gambling Workshop and a program on Friday titled, So You Married a Bodyshop Guy.
If you still have some energy left after exploring the show floor, attending the activities and networking with fellow repairers, then head over to the casino and give that one-armed bandit one last pull or that pair of dice one last throw. Just watch out for any midgets named Carmen or tall, overly muscular women with flat chests and baritone voices. Remember, you’re not in the Midwest anymore. Keep your wits about you so you don’t do anything you might regret. Then again, it is Las Vegas. Viva Las Vegas!
Writer Jason Stahl is managing editor of BodyShop Business. This year’s NACE will be his first trip to Vegas. If you see him, it’s OK to get him drunk and take him to get an “I (heart) BodyShop Business” tattoo. It is not OK to let him marry a stripper.
To register for NACE, visit www.NACEexpo.com. Four packages are available: Full Congress — member (of ASA, AIRC, CCA, CAWA, CCIF, NABC), $305; Full Congress — non-member, $345; Spouse (Entertainment or Education package), $275; IBIS@NACE, $350; NACE Exposition Only (does not include SEMA and AAPEX), $10 online or $25 mail or fax.
$10,000 Up for Grabs at NACE
Wouldn’t an extra $10,000 to gamble away at the craps table be nice? It might just extend your visit to Las Vegas long after the NACE show is history, right? Well, here’s how to get your name in the drawing:
*Register for an Exposition registration and receive one (1) prize ticket.
But don’t drink too much Friday night and sleep through Saturday morning! That’s a gamble you don’t want to take, since all qualifiers must be present at Saturday morning’s Town Hall Breakfast to win.