Following a successful, record-breaking conference last year, Automotive Parts Associates’ (APA) 30th annual Shareholders’ & Manufacturers’ Conference, held March 10-12 in San Diego, CA, was a great example of history repeating itself. With 67 shareholder WDs and 76 vendor manufacturers’ reps in attendance, the event delivered on a number of accounts.
The conference, which took place at the Manchester Grand Hyatt resort, provided plenty of time for networking opportunities between APA shareholders and vendors, several chances for those buyers and sellers to forge business relationships or strengthen existing ones, and discuss new products and programs, and the opportunity for industry friends and acquaintances to relax, have fun and celebrate all of the past year’s successes.
Several recognitions were made during the Manufacturer One-on-Ones, where APA vendors met during a six-hour timeframe with APA shareholder customers and prospects many of whom won thousands in cash and gift card prize giveaways throughout the day.
Eight Vendor Awards were also distributed during the One-on-Ones.
Professionals’ Choice Vendor of the Year: PTC Powertrain Components, Inc., Jack Nihart, president;
Branded Supplier of the Year: Centric Parts, Dan Lelchuk, president;
Marketing Partner: Robert Bosch LLC, Tim Bruin, director of sales PDG/Traditional Channel;
Headquarters’ Manufacturer of Choice: MAS Industries, Mark Stermer, president;
Outstanding APA Member by Headquarters: Bestbuy Distributors LTD, Dale Devlin, chairman and CEO;
Largest Total Manufacturers’ Orders at the 2010 One-on-Ones: SKF, Jeff Guempel, automotive program group sales director;
Exemplary Service Award for a New Vendor: General Cable, Ryan Kiefer, regional sales manager automotive products; and
Outstanding Partner Award: WHI Solutions Inc., Glenn Salberg, business intelligence.
General Session, Saturday Morning
The well-attended general session kicked off with opening comments by Dan Freeman, APA president and CEO, who announced new APA officers for 2011 (Jose Meyer, Meyers Auto Parts, Las Vegas, is chairman).
The general session also included with a very resourceful panel discussion on how to leverage social networking (complemented by mobile applications on smart phones) to not only drive traffic to your company websites, but, just as importantly, to build your brand and tout the features and benefits of your product lines. Panelists were: Jeff Levine, Levine Automotive; Harris Steinberg, POJA Warehouse; Dan Lelchuk, Centric Parts; and Cheri Reith, Federal-Mogul Corporation.
The panel also discussed the value of a company website and the importance of keeping it current and fresh, using photos and videos to help create a “buzz” and engage customers, and providing a call to action for visitors.
Next year’s conference is slated for March 15-17, 2012, at the Renaissance Hotel in Phoenix.