By Chasidy Rae Sisk as printed in Autobody News
On Sept. 27-29, the Independent Garage Owners of North Carolina (IGONC) hosted its 2019 Automotive Service and Technology Expo (ASTE) at the Embassy Suites and Convention Center in Cary, NC.
According to IGONC Executive Director Bob Pulverenti, “This was the largest ASTE ever. Shops attended from 23 states as well as Canada, and vendor booths space sold out early. We had Carm Capriotto creating live and recorded podcasts throughout the event, providing insight into the running of a business and where our industry is headed, as well as videos created by Frank Leutz of Wrench Nation featuring a technician retention deep dive.”
Associate Executive Director Tricia Sauls added, “The event was amazing, far exceeding our expectations. We had approximately 700 attendees, including vendors, so we had a little more than 500 shop owners and techs. This year, we were able to highlight our new apprentice program, with several apprentices in attendance and participating in classes for the first time.”
As the self-proclaimed largest aftermarket automotive show in the southeast, ASTE 2019 featured two full days of training classes, a trade show, networking opportunities, an awards dinner and much more. The 2019 ASTE boasted 36 management and technical seminars taught by nationally known speakers.
Presenters for ASTE 2019 included Rick White of 180Biz, WorldPac’s Bernie Thompson, Craig Van Batenburg of ACDC, ATI’s Jim Silverman, Danny Sanchez from Autoshop Solutions, NASTF’s Donny Seyfer, Jimmy Lea from Kukui Corporation, and many other renowned industry educators. Seminar topics ranged from technical training to seminars on profit, sales, marketing and everything in between that professional collision repair and automotive service professionals need to know to stay current in the industry.
The Town Hall Forum held on Friday, Sept. 27 featured a discussion on “Technician Retention,” hosted by Capriotto of Remarkable Results Radio, who also created live podcasts during ASTE 2019. Leutz also featured the event through live videos.
Each evening presented a variety of networking opportunities for attendees. A Manager’s Reception and ASTE Pre-Party was held on Thursday, Sept. 26, and on Friday, Sept. 27, attendees enjoyed a pizza party and the ASTE Casino Night.