ATE mission accomplished: high-quality training with record attendance
SeaTac, Wash.—The Automotive Training Expo (ATE), held late March at the DoubleTree Hotel near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, set a record for the number of training participants who attended the 10th annual event.
“Our training classes sold out well in advance, and we had to turn away some shops who wanted to register late,” said Jeff Lovell, AMAM, president and executive director of ASA Northwest, the ATE event producer. “The vast majority of our classes were at capacity seating as were our meal functions. Without a doubt, this was the most successful ATE we have ever staged. It accomplished what our mission is all about – providing high-quality training for those in our region and beyond.”
With more than 900 industry professionals on hand for training and a trade show, the event drew attendees from the Northwest, British Columbia, Alaska, California, and other states, Lovell said. Those included technicians, service advisers, managers, owners, automotive students, and automotive instructors from high schools and colleges in western states. “We booked more than 700 room nights at the DoubleTree for the three-day event.”
Dozens of repair shops in the Northwest region closed their facilities on Friday so all employees could attend the three days of management and technical training, ATE staff said.
“ATE is a collaborative effort of dozens of people who make this happen each year,” Lovell said. “Our ASA Northwest education committee, headed by Butch Jobst (B&B Automotive in Aberdeen, Wash.), does a remarkable job in selecting timely classes for both management and technical training, and our ASA Northwest staff, under the direction of Brenda Wolslegel, does a amazing job coordinating with the trainers and handling the attendee registrations. In addition, more than a dozen industry volunteers donate their time and energy to handle training room set up, class and meal check-in, and numerous other duties that make this a top-rated event.”
Lovell also touted the support provided by ATE sponsors who sponsor training classes, keynote speakers, beverage service, and other features of the event.
In addition to mechanically oriented classes, I-CAR held separate courses for collision industry professionals . Those attending were able to also able to visit the ATE trade show.
More than 60 classes were offered, including 20 Automotive Management Institute (AMI)-approved courses for those seeking their Accredited Automotive Repair Manager (AAM), Accredited Master Automotive Manager (AMAM), Accredited Automotive Office Manager (AAOM), or other designations.
Those courses, instructed by top industry trainers and coaches, ranged from “Understanding and Working with Your Technicians” to “Grow Your Own Superstar,” and from “Extreme Communication” to “Maintenance Profit Master.”
“ATE 2017 received tremendous feedback from those who attended classes, our trainers, keynote speakers, plus exhibitors and expo attendees,” said Brian Smith, AAM, co-owner of Gig Harbor Automotive Service and chairman of ASA Northwest. “The event was a clear testament to our attendees’ dedication to their craft and to our industry.”
Pat Burns, regional director of sales for WORLDPAC, said, “We are very pleased to be a training sponsor at ATE because it offers a venue for the very best in continuing education for industry professionals.” WORLDPAC sponsored 11 management and technical classes.
Mechanical classes covered subjects ranging from understanding oscilloscopes to diagnosing EV and hybrid battery packs, autonomous cars to evaporative emission systems, plus seminars on diesel exhaust systems, diagnostic disciplines, brake technology, Can Bus communications, and more.
While ATE trained hundreds of repair shop professionals, 68 high school and college automotive instructors attended the event, said Wolslegel, adding that each received certificates of continuing education for attending.
The instructors met at the conclusion of the Friday classes for an hour-long review of issues pertinent to education. Coordinated by Fred Donaldson, who is a retired Auburn, Wash., high school instructor and education activist, the group discussed issues facing automotive education, had presentations from Walt Commans, western states ASE and AYES field representative, plus interfaced with ASA Northwest officers about the partnership between industry and education.
During the crowded two-night trade show that featured more than 60 exhibitors displaying automotive tools, equipment, parts, training, and business support services, thousands of dollars in prizes were given away. “We had an astounding number of prizes for our attendees this year, ranging from tools to a 50-inch television,” said Bryan Kelley, AMAM, owner of Valley Auto Electric in Covington, Wash., ASA Northwest treasurer, and coordinator of the prize drawings.
“We were extremely pleased with the contacts we made and the industry professionals we visited with at the ATE expo,” said Nicole Sloan, co-owner of Hybrid Automotive. “This is a great show.”