Even an early spring storm that dropped four inches of snow couldn’t hold back the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ)’s 36th annual NORTHEAST™ 2013 Automotive Services Show on March 8, 9 and 10 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center of Secaucus, NJ.
Thousands weathered the storm that turned to nearly 60-degree weather over the final two days to get to the NORTHEAST™ 2013 show’s slate of top-tier seminars, demos and over 55,000 square feet of vendors displaying the latest in automotive repair service equipment and technology.
“Another year, another fantastic show,” marveled AASP/NJ President Jeff McDowell. “We were a little concerned with the weather but apparently that isn’t a factor when it comes to NORTHEAST™. We are thrilled with the support and dedication our vendors and attendees give to the show. Like fine wine, every year it just keeps getting better.”
NORTHEAST™ 2013 kicked off activities with the 2013 East Coast Resolution Forum & Leadership Meeting, jointly sponsored by AASP/NJ and the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS). Representatives from AASP/NJ, the Coalition for Collision Repair Excellence (CCRE), the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Massachusetts (AASP/MA), the Auto Body Association of Connecticut (ABAC), the Vermont Auto Body Association (VABA) and SCRS all gave presentations about activity in their groups while opening up several industry-wide discussions.
Following the Leadership Conference was the NORTHEAST™2013-exclusive “Insurer-Mandated Parts Procurement: A Discussion From the Frontlines” seminar. Moderated by SCRS’ Aaron Schulenburg, the panel included Dan Hunsaker of Dan’s Paint and Body in Tucson, AZ, Andy Dingman of Dingman’s Collision Center in Omaha and Steve Plier of Consumer Auto Repair Excellence Inc. (CARE) in Alabama. All three panelists offered their insights on the parts procurement process, with Hunsaker and Plier (State Farm’s PartsTrader program) and Dingman (American Family’s APU program) all sharing their first-hand experience. The discussion opened up to an audience Q&A for the final 90 minutes and all in attendance came away with a new understanding of one of the biggest threats the collision repair industry has ever faced.
“What made this panel unique,” Schulenberg said after the seminar, “is that AASP/NJ was able to pull people in from all over the country who are directly involved in the frontlines of what is going on in the industry and get them in a room and share with their members what exactly what’s happening with these programs.”
Attendees were treated to a variety of training and educational opportunities including standing-room only presentations from Larry Montanez, BASF and I-CAR, as well as a show floor flooded with the industry’s top vendors and suppliers. “We’re located a couple hundred miles away,” said NUCAR Wholesale Parts’ Nick Halladay, “so we don’t often get the chance to meet face to face with our customers. The NORTHEAST™ show offers us that opportunity as well as the chance to put on some educational classes. It allows us to see many customers and potential customers as well as give back to those who support us.”
“We’ve had a lot of activity at our booth,” added Mark Behrens of CARSTAR, who traveled to NORTHEAST™ 2013 from Kansas. “A lot of interest from the shops. It’s been a very successful show for us.” Geoff Blackwell of D&W Diesel was impressed with the type of attendee his booth was seeing. “The best part of the show is the quality of the people visiting us,” he said, “They’re very closely associated with the products we are offering and they are providing us with a lot of opportunity.” The show’s location is high on the list of positives for USI of North America’s Luigi Zucchet. “The show is so easy to get to,” he says, “The easy access to the Meadowlands makes a huge difference.”
McDowell and AASP/NJ are already planning for NORTHEAST™ 2014, which is scheduled for March 21, 22 and 23, 2014. “Time to get back to work,” he says with a smile. For more information, photos and videos of NORTHEAST™ 2013, visit www.aaspnjnortheast.com, the NORTHEAST™ Automotive Services Show on Facebook, the NORTHEAST™ Automotive Services Show YouTube page (http://www.youtube.com/user/AASPNJNORTHEAST?feature=watch) or on Twitter @AASPNJNORTHEAST.