The most successful managers and technicians in the automotive industry are fully aware of the need for continued training, to prevent being blindsided by advances that others have experienced and are willing to share. This is what Vision EXPO is all about. It’s a gathering of the brightest minds in the industry with a common goal: to expand their horizons through classes and interaction with other professionals.
The program took place in Overland Park, Kansas; a suburb of Kansas City. Its central location made it an inviting and convenient destination from almost anywhere in North America. The Midwest Auto Care Alliance (MWACA) took great lengths to make sure that technicians and managers could plan and experience a seamless, interactive educational experience on topics that would affect their shops.
With over 25 management and 80 technical courses available, there were topics from entry level to cutting-edge, advanced skill sets that made it impossible for anyone in the automotive industry not to find something of value. Most of the technical courses covered engine and overall system diagnosis with a few transmission specific sessions. For a transmission specialist, like myself, there were several ‘outside-of-the-box’ courses geared towards other specialties that could be used to enhance overall diagnostic procedures.
Registration started on Wednesday, with classes going from Thursday morning through Sunday noon. Sessions were either half-day or full-day intervals, including hands-on events, depending on the subject matter. The EXPO tool floor opened on Friday afternoon and extended through Saturday afternoon.
Technical classes included special sessions for training the trainer and a think tank for creating more effective training and teaching techniques. Subjects from automotive system diagnostics to introducing new technology were in high demand, being taught by capable, well-prepared instructors.
Management classes had thorough coverage too, introducing new management ideas and ways to shore up gaps in established shop and sales processes. Subjects ranged from branding, employee management, to sales, just to name a few.
All in all, there was a wealth of information presented and endless opportunities to spend one-on-one time with people in the industry sharing automotive problems and solutions. Everywhere you looked, people were exchanging business cards, telephone numbers, and email addresses. By the end of the event, you were sure to leave with new contacts and resources in the industry.
Training on this level is a must. With an explosion of technology that has saturated the automotive industry on every level, it’s impossible attend too many technical or management training events. On the technical side, even if the material isn’t specific to your specialty, the fact that we no longer diagnose components but systems raises the bar for technicians, managers, and owners to be aware of how technology interacts in modern vehicles.
On the management side, awareness of new data management, shop management, and sales platforms, products, and techniques can create a more efficient and productive shop. Sharing these experiences with others is bound to yield solutions to some of the toughest issues experienced in any shop.
I encourage you to check out what’s coming next year at the Vision EXPO 2020 at www.visionkc.com. And don’t forget: ATRA’s EXPO 2019 is going to be at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada from October 30th to November 2nd. Register on line at www.atra.com or call 805-604-2000. You don’t want to miss it!