ASA-Midwest gears attendees for growth at annual Vision
Overland Park, Kan.— As a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force, Major Anthony “AB” Bourke learned the impact a debriefing session could make on an organization, where for every mission, there was a briefing to prepare; the flight; and a debriefing session where no one—including superior officers—was immune to criticism as part of the feedback needed to become not only a better pilot, but a better team for the next mission.
“I don’t care how good we think we are, no fighter pilot has ever flown a perfect mission,” Bourke told a ballroom packed with attendees at the opening general session of the Vision Hi-Tech Training & Expo, held March 3-6 at the Overland Park Convention Center and Sheraton Hotel.
Bourke, founder and CEO of Mach 2 Consulting, told Vision attendees that some of the best lessons were often learned not during the mission, but after, when pilots were free to focus on what went well with the mission and what could be improved upon for the next one, including catching what could be grievous errors. The same can be applied to business, he said.
“We debrief to accelerate our experience, drive better results, and improve customer satisfaction,” he said.
Vision, presented by the Automotive Service Association of the Midwest (ASA-Midwest) and with the theme “Geared for Growth,” was well under way by the time the general session started. The National Automotive Service Task Force held its spring general meeting on Wednesday afternoon, and all-day onsite management and technical training was held on Thursday and Friday.
Friday’s Educator Think Tank attracted instructors for secondary and postsecondary schools and featured topics such as new methods of assessing students, technicians transitioning to teaching, student-centered learning, writing test questions, “Leveraging Pressure Transducers in the Classroom,” and “Teaching GDI to Your Students.”
The Educator of the Year award was given to Jeff Curtis, instructor at Bellingham Technical College in Bellingham, Wash., “To honor an educator who goes above and beyond in inspiring students developing innovative training programs, and working with the industry to further the opportunities for tomorrow’s technicians.”
Although attendance figures were unavailable, Vision typically draws more than 3,500 automotive professionals from across the U.S. and Canada. There were 440 first-time attendees confirmed from 41 states and six Canadian provinces. There were 91 educational sessions, including management and technical seminars and educator breakout sessions.
Event organizer and ASA-Midwest Executive Director Sheri Hamilton said that the most popular classes this year centered on sales management and advanced driveability topics, and “the hands-on classes sold out in a matter of weeks.” All told, Hamilton said there were 23,635 hours of training presented, a figure which does not include the opening and closing general sessions.
After debuting to enthusiastic response last year, returning this year was the HiTech Tool Expo, a show within the show on Thursday evening designed to showcase diagnostic equipment. Strategically placed in the open lobby area outside of the classrooms filled with technicians and managers honing their diagnostic skills, the mini event provided for strong foot traffic throughout the evening, even hours after classes let out.
The 60,000-square-foot expo floor was once again sold out, with roughly a half dozen additional exhibitors spilling out into the hallway adjacent to the expo floor. Attendees there could check out the latest in parts, tools, equipment, and management software at the free two-day show, held Friday evening and Saturday.
The Saturday evening Celebration of Independents Awards Dinner & Comedy Night, with comedian Bill Herz sponsored by Kukui, recognized the efforts of independent repair shops, automotive technology students, and industry professionals.
Four students received $1,000 vocational scholarships: Austin Bentley, of Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kan.; Michelle Dorrance, of Longview Community College in Lee’s Summit, Mo.; Anthony Kelley, of Ft. Osage Career & Technical Center in Independence, Mo.; and Cheyenne Merchant, of Southeast Community College in Milford, Neb.
The Green Star Service Facility Award, which recognizes “green practices,” was presented to Butler’s Muffler & Auto, in Leavenworth, Kan., and Larson’s Service, in Peabody, Mass.
The Service Facility of the Year award went to Team One Automotive, in Broken Arrow, Okla., where Co-owner Nathan Hayes is also president of the Tulsa, Okla., chapter of ASA-Midwest.
After Hours Auto Repair, in Wichita, Kan., returned to the stage to claim its second award in as many years. Last year, the shop took home the award for Service Facility of the Year; this year, it brought home top honors for its website, www.afterhoursautorepair.net.
AESwave was awarded the Professional’s Choice Best New Product of 2016 for its uTest Advanced Terminal Test Kit, which was selected by Vision attendees, while Jeremy O’Neal, president of AdvisorFix, was given the President’s award.
Vision returns to the same venue, March 2-5, 2017. Visit www.visionkc.com for more information.