Barry Barrett from RLO Training instructs a class at ATE 2017.

Automotive Training Expo set for March 16-18 with top international trainers

Event offers various training for shop owners, managers, service advisors, and techs

SeaTac, Wash.—The 2018 Automotive Training Expo (ATE) returns to the DoubleTree Hotel across from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for three days of intensive management and technical training classes.

“It appears that 2018 will again provide our attendees the absolute finest training available in North America,” said Jeff Lovell, AMAM, president and executive director of ASA Northwest, the event producer.

ATE 2018 will offer more than 60 training classes, many oriented for shop owners, managers, service advisors, and office personnel, plus dozens of mechanical seminars for technicians.

“We always enjoy having the nation’s most popular trainers return to ATE as our attendees enjoy their classes and the updated information they provide,” said Brenda Wolslegel, ATE program coordinator.

The March event has become the West Coast’s premier automotive training event for repair facilities of all types, automotive students, high school and college automotive instructors, and others because of the quality and timeliness of classes offered, Lovell said. “We draw repair shops and other attendees from across the Northwest, from California and other states, plus we have a large number of attendees each year from British Columbia.”

More than two dozen Northwest shops that attend ATE each year close down for the three-day event. “It’s the most dynamic and cost-effective training we do annually,” said an Oregon shop owner whose entire crew will attend ATE 2018.

“ATE just doesn’t happen by accident,” Lovell said. “Our entire staff works on the training sessions and trade show all year long, and our education committee, headed up by ASA Northwest Officers Brian Smith (Gig Harbor Automotive, Gig Harbor, Wash.), Butch Jobst (B&B Automotive, Aberdeen, Wash.), and Bryan Kelley (Valley Auto Electric, Maple Valley, Wash.), plus Leon Martin (Auto Tech Service, Rochester, Wash.), and Greg Linafelter (European Autohaus, Spokane, Wash.), was diligent about matching up the right classes and trainers that will provide the most needed and state-of-the-art training sessions for attendees next March.”

As ATE has progressed each year, the ASA/ATE staff has seen an increase in shops registering well in advance of the event.

“We’re seeing early registrations and most classes being sold out long before the actual event, so ASA shops should take advantage of the early bird discount to guarantee their shop’s participation in the training,” Lovell said, adding that the space at the DoubleTree allows for 600 attendees and when ATE staff reaches that number, class registration is closed.

The majority of registrations are for the full three days of training and include attendance at as many classes as desired, two breakfasts, two lunches, all training materials, plus admission to the ATE trade show Friday and Saturday evenings.

There are a limited number of one- and two-day class registrations that do not include meals, Lovell said. “Some sessions sell out very quickly, so again that early registration is important so each attendee can take the classes pertinent to their needs.”

Management classes at ATE cover an extensive array of subjects ranging from financial issues to marketing and employee matters. Each year, the ATE staff and education committee assemble top trainers who provide of wide range of valuable training sessions. For 2018, notable trainers such as Dan Gilley, Cecil Bullard, Barry Barrett, Scott Brown, and Jeremy O’Neal will be there, as well as Richard Flint, who will also be a keynote speaker at the Saturday breakfast.

On the technical side, classes on all three days of ATE are determined based on current need of session subject matter within the repair industry. Seminars range from diagnostics to reprogramming, hybrid service to electronics. Returning trainers in 2018 include notable instructors such as Gary Smith, Bob Pattengale, Adam Robertson, and Scott Mana.

In addition to the training sessions, a Friday and Saturday evening trade show with dozens of exhibitors offers attendees the opportunity to view the latest in diagnostic tools, shop equipment, management and financial systems, training programs, industry support systems, and new automotive products. Entrance to the show is free to registered ATE participants and complementary hors d’oeuvres are served both evenings.

A number of suppliers and industry partners sponsor ATE trainers, keynote speakers, and other aspects of the event. As of press time, those included ACDelco, AES Wave, Autoshop Solutions, Bolt-on Technology, Bosch, Car People Agency, CARQUEST Technical Training (CTI), Federated Insurance, IATN, Interstate Battery Northwest, LKQ Corp., Parts & People, RLO Training, The ACT Group, Wholesale Leaders, and WORLDPAC.

Registration for ATE will be available Dec. 4, on the event website ( At that time, full details on class offerings, instructors, sponsors, exhibitors, and hotel information will be available.

There are a limited number of scholarships available to attend ATE, Lovell said. “As of mid-November, we have more than 15 scholarships from ITEC, ASA units, and others available to students and shops that apply using the one-page online application in the registration section on the ATE website.”

The deadline for scholarship applications is Feb.1, 2018.

ATE is sponsored and produced by ASA Northwest with Parts & People/Northwest Edition serving as the official media sponsor.

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.