On May 17-19, the North Carolina Association of Collision and Autobody Repair (NCACAR) and the South Carolina Association of Collision and Autobody Repair (SCACAR) hosted the first-ever Carolina’s Educational Collision Conference (CECC) at the Cabarrus Arena in Concord, NC.
“Hats off to Josh Kent for putting this great event together—he did an amazing job,” said NCACAR President Brian Davies. “It takes a small army to create a successful conference. NCACAR and SCACAR are grateful to all of the industry leaders who provided support, advice and insight with organizing the event as well as our guest speakers and our main sponsors: PPG, Axalta and Carolina Collision Equipment.”
The CECC featured numerous informative seminars from some of the industry’s favorite presenters, including John Shoemaker of BASF, asTech’s Jake Rodenroth, Mike Lanza from Sherwin Williams, ATI’s Keith Manich, Collision Advice’s Mike Anderson and an unexpected appearance by Mike Jones of Discover Leadership Training.
Kent, executive director of NCACAR and SCACAR, pointed out, “Mike Jones was not even scheduled to speak at our conference, but he surprised us by showing up anyway and joining Mike Anderson on stage. Mike and Mike are always amazing speakers, especially when they team up together.”
The CECC began on Friday, May 17 with an intimate roundtable discussion during dinner which was sponsored by Axalta. In addition to current and prospective board members from NCACAR and SCACAR, the roundtable included special guest speakers Aaron Schulenburg of SCRS, WMABA’s Jordan Hendler and Barry Dorn, and Aaron Clark from the Assured Performance Network.
“Josh Kent started off with introductions and shared his vision of building strong yet healthy associations for both North and South Carolina. The goal of the dinner was to hear from the industry’s best association leaders and key players on how to better organize, drive and grow both the NCACAR and the SCACAR,” said Sarah Myers-Daniels, president of SCACAR.
Hendler provided “a clear perspective of the struggles required to build a long-term organization that can stand the test of time and Barry Dorn shared thoughts related to leadership and how various personalities, skills and insights create different perspectives, ensuring a healthy organization,” Davies recounted.
“Aaron Schulenburg shared a childhood story that’s near to his heart, outlining the importance of us coming together as a team and sharing the responsibility while focusing on the outcome,” Myers-Daniels said.
Kent added, “Aaron Clark’s advice was clear: things have to be done right and by the book. He provided a reality check that was needed and very much appreciated.”
On Saturday, May 18, participants who purchased VIP tickets to the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race got to take a bus to the Charlotte Speedway where they enjoyed terrace seating, a concert, pit passes, a buffet dinner, drinks and more.
The CECC also included a vendor expo, providing attendees with an opportunity to meet with vendors and learn about the products they offer. Vendors included Kemperle, IGO Insurance, CCC, Lombard Equipment, I-CAR, Mitchell and more.
The event was well received by vendors and attendees. According to Davies, “One consistent theme I heard from sponsors was an appreciation for the intimate setting of the vendor area. It gave everyone a great opportunity to talk and have genuine conversation, without pressure, which makes an event a huge success.”
Kent added, “Attendees gave us great feedback about how educational the classes were. I haven’t heard any negative comments.” One repairer told Kent that after he attended Anderson’s seminar, he learned he was doing everything wrong for a while.
The driving purpose of the CECC was “purely educational, not only for industry professionals but for our business partners and members as well,” Myers-Daniels said.
“The purpose of this event was to bring awareness to what we are trying to do as associations and to attract new members,” Kent said. “We plan to make this an annual event and hope to see it get bigger and better every year.”
Shops should not feel alone—unity within the industry is important, Davies said. Members and partners should feel supported so they can grow and build more success, he added.
The first CECC exceeded expectations for NCACAR and SCACAR.
“It was a great turnout,” Davies said. “We all learned a great deal and will fine-tune the event in the future based on advice and suggestions from attendees. We are looking forward to next year’s event.”