EXCEL Trade Show & Training conference provides ‘Secret Sauce’ for learning

St. Charles, Mo.—With a total of 19 classes in management, collision repair, or technical categories, there was plenty of information to soak up at the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Missouri’s (AASP-MO) 34th annual EXCEL Trade Show & Training Conference, Sept. 18-19, at the St. Charles Convention Center, which was open to all automotive industry personnel.

But because of the poor efficiency of how people retain their memory, it can be helpful if they have some help in absorbing some of that class information, said Rick White, managing partner of One Eighty Business Solutions in Harrisonburg, Va., and consultant to the automotive repair industry.

“I sat as an attendee in many training events like this one furiously taking notes, soaking in the tips, techniques, and lessons being presented in every session,” White said. But White said it took him more than 50 years to figure out what he needed to be able to remember to apply it to his business.

White, who also taught a management class Friday afternoon on “The Fail-Safe Path to Profit”, spoke on “Learning’s Secret Sauce Recipe” at the luncheon.

Some ingredients of White’s recipe are to take notes, which helps one focus on the material being taught. He also recommended engaging and participating by asking questions and sharing experiences, which will make one a part of the class.

Summarizing the notes allows one to “fill in the gaps,” he said, and moves the material from short-term memory into long-term memory. Transferring those notes to another writing pad or keying them on a computer ensures the notes are complete and legible.

“There’s nothing worse than trying to decipher notes you can’t read or make sense of,” White said.

To apply the newfound knowledge, the class participant must make a prioritized to-do list, he said, and what actions are required to implement those tasks.

Once back at the shop, “top off” the newfound knowledge with a daily review of goals and actions needed to start, White said, so that one can start the day focused and motivated.

And in teaching others or having one’s employees teach others, the information sinks in even more readily, because it must be learned three times: once in learning, once in doing, and once in teaching.

White said he’s known successful shop owners and managers to send technicians to unique classes and task them with teaching that subject matter to the other technicians upon their return.

“Once you’ve mixed all these ingredients together in your shop, you’ll find your training dollars are truly an investment that, over time, creates success,” White said.

At the luncheon, Steve Pokorny, longtime AASP-MO member and owner of STS Car Care in Jennings, Mo., was named outstanding member of the year.

After receiving feedback from vendors and attendees from last year’s EXCEL, this year’s event was tightened up from three days to two: a Friday evening trade show, with 22 exhibitors offering parts, tools, and equipment, and services for both collision and mechanical repair, and all but White’s management class on Saturday.

Owners, managers, and technicians from 45 shops preregistered for the event, and could choose from eight technical classes, six management classes, and five I-CAR collision classes, the same number as last year. Automotive Technology Inc. once again donated a Benelli Super Nova 12-gauge pump shotgun for the raffle that AASP-MO held for its education fund. Mike Silva, co-owner of Advanced Auto Service, in St. Louis, and past AASP-MO president, won the gun.

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.