If you have read anything I’ve written, you have probably noticed that I am always suggesting that you get out of your shop, attend training, meet some new people and get a new perspective on what you do. I’m able to do this a bit more than most as part of my work with the Automotive Service Association, the National Automotive Service Task Force, National Automotive Technician’s Education Foundation and as a technical and management trainer.
All this time away from the shop working with people at the highest levels of the industry gives me an in-depth perspective of where we are going. From my point of view, we are in the midst of one of the most interesting transformations our industry has ever seen. There is an unprecedented amount of cooperation occurring throughout the industry, and that’s a good thing. There are also a number of substantial and disruptive changes coming.
When my editor, Andrew Markel, asked me to write about CARS and NACE, it was akin to asking a father, “How are your kids?” I am intimately involved in the CARS program and its education components, so without sounding too pushy, I am going to tell you why you cannot miss a trip to Anaheim, CA, this August.
CARS is no longer a training event. It is now an informational, strategic planning and networking event unlike any other. While there are classes, they have been restructured with a new model in mind. The Technology and Telematics Forum (TTF) is in its third year. It is aimed at getting you up to speed on cutting-edge technologies. We are kicking off this year’s session with a panel on vehicle hacking and the risks this presents for repair shops. There are even a couple of presentations that are unique to TTF.
To make sure that all of this tech is not “geek speak,” we have asked our industry experts to package it specifically for the repair shop audience so you can relate it to your business. As I am writing this, we are putting the finishing touches on an opportunity for TTF attendees to drive a vehicle that has not yet been released. We are not going to talk about autonomous cars; we are going to show you what this means in the real world.
Automotive Management Institute
The most exciting part for me about this year’s NACE and CARS events is that the Automotive Management Institute (AMI) is back in a huge way. AMI students in service, repair and collision can use a special ASA/AMI training event as credit for the self-study requirement and graduate with their accredited automotive manager designation on Friday at the Celebration of Excellence, which will be hosted in a place so cool you will not want to miss it.
The AMI trainers have stepped up in a big way and have built an excellent day of presentations, many of which are new for our show. We will have Maylan Newton, Jeremy O’Neal, Bogi Lateiner and Cecil Bullard on hand, just to name a few.
Our Service Repair and Leadership Forum will include discussions and panels led by some of the most influential people in the industry — people who have their finger on the pulse of the future — gathered together in one room with the best repair shop operators in the country. You simply cannot get this anywhere else.
We have a couple of new additions to the show this year, one of which is that our friends at Garage Gurus are providing local technicians with Spanish language technical training with the support of Babcox Media’s Servicio Automotriz.
ASA is also very happy to welcome our sister organization, the Automotive Service Council of California, that will be co-locating its annual meeting with CARS.
One last word on CARS to my service repair brothers and sisters: Do not mistake the disparity in size between NACE and CARS as anything other than CARS being the best kept secret in the industry. It is open to everyone. The programs at CARS will change your view of the industry and where you fit in it. ASA is blessed to have so many fantastic supporters who share our vision of truly wanting to help you succeed.
Switching over to NACE, ASA President Dan Risley, VP Tony Molla and their cast of thousands have a truly Disney-like experience lined up in Anaheim this year. Meetings start on Monday, Aug. 8 and include the very well-attended MSO Symposium along with over a dozen co-located events including CIC, CREF, CIECA and Approved Performance Network OEM certification programs, just to name a few.
Education opportunities abound this year, thanks to involvement by 11 carmakers (featuring a new addition in Tesla), and some great classes on new-model features and repair techniques from Ford, Toyota, Cadillac, Honda, Mazda and more.
I have to close with one of our new traditions: the Young Technician’s Symposium. ASA’s commitment to encouraging new blood in our industry is on full display with our equally passionate partner — CARQUEST Technical Institute. This year, a limited number of bright young technicians will have the opportunity to bring their own scan tool and learn helpful techniques on a live vehicle simulator. This program is unlike anything we have offered before and is a true fit for the young minds we need in our industry.
Visit carsevent.com or naceexpo.com and register. If you miss out on what the collective industry has to share, there is a good chance that what you don’t know could hurt you later. Thank you to Babcox Media for its steadfast support of NACE and CARS.