The Shop Owner’s Expo and its anticipated announcement attracted hundreds of shop owners, industry leaders, parts suppliers, trade associations and media to the Sheraton Fairplex in Pomona, California, on October 19-21.
The event kicked off on Thursday evening with a special welcome reception hosted by NAPA AutoCare. “It was a really great start to the expo with delicious food and thousands of dollars in giveaways,” commented Kareem Abouzeid of Knockout Collision Repair in Chico, California, “I left the event feeling inspired and excited to move into the weekend’s agenda.” Guests enjoyed a selection of Oktoberfest-themed food and beverages, while visiting with NAPA AutoCare vendors and learning about the latest resources available to their shop.
Friday morning’s general session boasted an exciting announcement from the 25-year-old management consulting company. Proudly introducing an innovative brand and new cutting-edge services, Management Success will now be known as DRIVE. “The rebrand to DRIVE is a significant development for our industry,” said Bill Kilpatrick, CEO of DRIVE, “it is a strong shift tightly integrating management services with trending aftermarket technology.” With an expanded 10,600 square foot exhibit hall and 30 vendors, exhibitors included leading names such as Jasper Engines, Podium, AutoVitals, Demandforce, Bolt On and RepairPal to name a few. “This is the most extraordinary event we have ever held,” Kilpatrick adds. “The keynote speaker and presenters, exhibitors and the shop owner turnout; it was fantastic.”
A compelling industry update then followed for more than 550 attendees within the heavy duty truck, collision and automotive repair industries. NAPA President, Dan Askey, discussed relevant updates in the automotive aftermarket, as well as predictions for what shop owners can expect from the industry moving forward. “He went into their financials and kind of put it out there,” stated Mark Guerrero, owner of Infinity Automotive in Wichita, Kansas. “It’s obvious they are a company that will be around for years to come.” Mark’s wife, Summer, is highly involved in the shop’s operations and takes a personal interest in helping to improve the industry as a whole. “Having inspirational speakers shows us, the owners, that there’s a higher level,” Summer commented. “We are always looking for that person that’s going to speak to us personally and help kick us into a higher gear; these guest speakers were phenomenal.”
Later that evening, Brett Penzkofer, vice president of N.A. Aftermarket for Meritor, addressed the crowd during the Shop Owner’s Expo prestigious awards ceremony, where Meritor was a Platinum sponsor. Thirty-five trophies were bestowed to owners that have attained significant milestones in their business’ development. Multiple shop owner Kate Jonasse of K- Tech Auto and Pauline’s Automotive in Sebastopol, California, is the only recipient to have ever been awarded the distinguished acknowledgement of Sustained Master Elite of Shop Management. This honor recognizes operators who have consistently demonstrated effective management tools and financial and organizational stability.
Saturday morning’s agenda offered a total of 12 unique topics where attendees were encouraged to choose the set of classes that best fit their individual needs. Guest speakers and DRIVE team members delivered a variety of management content touching on hot buttons such as growth and scalability, innovative marketing and sales solutions, mentoring new technicians and more. The day ended with a NASCAR-themed celebration, featuring a live band, buffet-style barbecue, racing games and a green-screened photo booth.
Wrapping up the weekend, Sunday’s super session began with a high-energy interactive workshop on employee engagement presented by Wes Severi, Shop Owner’s Expo MC and DRIVE systems development coordinator. Shop owners practiced team-building techniques designed to help them incorporate games for maximum production and improved employee efficiency.
“This expo opened me up to new technology and the upcoming industry trends,” said Kevin House at Center Collision in Tacoma, Washington, when asked about the value that the expo offers to shop owners. “I am walking away with a lot of great information that I can implement right away to help our shop run better.”
For more information on DRIVE and for updates on the spring 2019 Shop Owner’s Expo, which will be held in Savannah, Georgia from March 22-24, please visit driveshops.com.