It’s Show Time for the Auto Body Association of Texas’ 2024 Trade Show

The July 12-13 event is a must-attend for those in the Southwest collision repair community who want to stay ahead of the curve.

See, experience and touch equipment, learn from live demos, ask questions and learn.

They say everything is bigger in Texas, which applies to the Auto Body Association of Texas’s (ABAT) annual conference and trade show. Now in its seven year, the show, set for July 12-13 at the Irving Convention Center in Irving, TX, has attracted the best trainers and educational content and balanced that with networking fun and unique events that make it stand out.

ABATTradeshow Logo

One of the primary reasons the event is such a smashing success is that it has stayed true to its vision.

ABAT President Burl Richards is committed to helping shops stay ahead of the curve by creating the best educational and fun learning opportunities for collision repairers in Texas.

BurlRichards webABAT President Burl Richards. Photo credit: Thomas Greco Publishing.

“[ABAT’s] goal is to help shops learn more, ensure consumers receive safe and proper repairs, and improve shops in all Texas markets. When we elevate one another, we elevate our entire profession. We do better together!” Richards said.

He shared the story of visiting a shop in Florida while he was on vacation. The shop doesn’t pre-scan vehicles or perform post-repair scans. It was unsure which vehicles needed to be calibrated or why calibrations are essential.

JillTuggle webABAT Executive Director Jill Tuggle.

Richards said it reminded him of the early days before ABAT was founded, and he saw Texas body shops needing more knowledge. That lack of knowledge and training opportunities fueled ABAT's founding in 2014.

A decade later, he said he doesn’t see as many shops struggling because ABAT has worked hard to educate its members and the auto repair community.

To carry out Richards’ vision of strengthening the collision repair community with exceptional educational opportunities, ABAT enlisted the help of Executive Director Jill Tuggle. She has a deep understanding of collision repair, an energetic drive to get things done in an out-of-the-box way, and a love for the industry that fuels her success.

Texas-Sized Learning Opportunities

For 2024, Tuggle has a Texas-sized mentality regarding expectations from the show.

“With ABAT celebrating its 10th anniversary, and with our seventh annual show, I want to give attendees an experience they won’t forget,” she said.

ABAT has added technician classes and estimating sessions for the first time, so Tuggle advises “bringing your whole shop.”

The July 12 morning lineup of educational classes includes estimating, repair planning, shop culture and much more.

9-10 a.m.

Customer Experiences Beyond Transactional to Relational with Sheryl Driggers, CollisionAdvice
Damage Appraisal Documentation with John Shoemaker, BASF
Dent to Delivery: AI Tools & Strategies to Reduce Cycle Time with Tom Zobelein, Capture the Keys

10:15-11:15 a.m.

Estimating for Seatbelt Inspections with Danny Gredinberg, DEG and Collision Advice
Do You Have Leaky Profits? Find Out Where Your Profit Leaks Are and How to Fill the Holes! with Ian Szilagyi, OEC
Navigating Collision Repair Regulations & Insurance Terminology with Burl Richards, Burl’s Collision Center and ABAT president

“Along with covering some of the biggest topics on collision repairers’ minds, we’ll bring you the best trainers,” Tuggle said. At the top of that list is the “king of the collision industry," Collision Advice’s Mike Anderson.

Tuggle is excited that ABAT will bring Anderson and several team members from Collision Advice. The team will cover various topics like negotiation, repair planning and more.

In addition to giving the Lunch and Learn on July 13, Anderson will present "100% Disassembly" to kick off the morning sessions that same day. Anderson said most, if not every, shop owner, manager, estimator and technician believe in 100% disassembly. “However,” he said, “most are not performing 100% disassembly and are instead just doing 80% or 90%.”

During the presentation, the Collision Advice team will explain how to achieve consensus on the importance of 100% disassembly and foster a culture that embraces this practice. They will emphasize the significance of working collaboratively with your team rather than imposing the process on them, ensuring it becomes a lasting part of your operations. Complete disassembly is essential for accurately identifying all damage and capturing every not-included R&I operation.

Tony Adams with AkzoNobel is another presenter at the show, and will discuss Contemporary Workforce Dynamics, a critical topic on the minds of repairers today.

Adams said he’ll address the changes in the workforce today and the shifts needed from leaders to attract and retain talent. Workforce dynamics have radically changed, he said.

“As leaders of our organizations, we must adjust our thought processes around what workers are looking for today. The conversation has never been more relevant than today. We are trying to find new entrants to the workforce but still trying to apply what worked 15 years ago, and that’s not working anymore.”

Adams said it’s his first time attending the show. He looks forward to growing alongside his peers and learning all the knowledge that will be presented.

The July 13 lineup of educational content includes:

9-10 a.m.

100% Disassembly Best Practices with Mike Anderson
Contemporary Workforce Dynamics: What Does the Data Say and How Do History & Human Biology Play a Role? with Tony Adams

10:15-11 a.m.

Eagle MMS: Unveiling Trends & Reimbursement Strategies for Body Shop Materials with Yanni Koutmos, Eagle MMS
Honest Conversations: How to be YOUR Best with Clay Hoberecht

There are other events planned, so check out the complete educational lineup.

Helpful Schedule and Registration Details

IrvingC.CThe Irving Convention in Irving, TX, is hosting the ABAT trade show.

The July 12-13 event occurs at the Irving Convention Center in Irving, TX, conveniently located near the exciting Toyota Music Factory, a fun conglomeration of hotels, dining and entertainment just a few short steps away.

July 12 starts with educational sessions at 9 a.m., so plan on arriving July 11 to hit the ground running for a super-charged two days.

Each educational seminar costs $99, but a weekend “all-access” pass is $299 and gives you the most bang for your buck. It includes all training and luncheons on both days and admission to the trade show.

Along with the education, attendees can look forward to fun elements weaved throughout the show

"Repairidy" is a collision repair game show similar to the popular game show "Jeopardy!" Erin Solis of Certified Collision Group and Danny Gredinberg of the Database Enhancement Gateway will be outfitted in their best evening wear to bring attendees Repairidy. Tuggle said attendees may even be called on stage, so “bring your A-game to this seminar!”

Be sure to schedule time during the event to stop by the exhibit floor to continue learning about the latest products and services and connect with helpful vendors. Exhibit hours are 1-8 p.m. July 12 and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. July 13.

ABAT supports a robust trade show. Last year, the event attracted more than 75 exhibitors.

One of those exhibitors is Tommy Ames of One Source ADAS. Ames has been an ABAT member for five years and has been exhibiting for three years.

In 2023, One Source ADAS, a software provider of calibration reports, was in beta testing, and Ames was pleased with the feedback and connections he made at ABAT.

“Last year’s show gave us a strong start on developing leads when we were still in beta mode,” he said. “It helped us to start strong and helped us launch at SEMA when we were out of beta mode.

“We like attending this show because ABAT aligns with our work ethic and business model and how we work by following OEM procedures,” he added.

He praised Tuggle and the event management of ABAT’s trade show, and said the show stands out for its excellent organization and quality.

Anderson concurred. He said this Southwest regional show excels because it stays “ahead of the curve” regarding what’s going on in the collision repair industry and looks forward to seeing the “industry’s finest” individuals, including Richards, at the show each year.

“I’ve attended ABAT several times, and the quality of attendees and the large gathering of some of the industry’s finest is paramount to anyone looking to stay ahead,” Anderson added.

Ames agreed. “Anybody who wants to be successful needs to join ABAT,” he said.

BIGSHOTS Competition, Car Show, Live Demos

Technicians love showing off, and the BIGSHOTS Competition facilitates a little boasting by giving techs the opportunity to participate in skills competitions.

No auto-related trade show is complete without a car show, and you can expect to walk the show floor oohing and ahhing over the most creative and exciting rides around.

As this is a learning show, the live demos will let you see the tools, tech and gadgets up close, so be prepared to be wowed by the latest technology, equipment and best practices.

“Whatever you are looking for to support your collision business and career, I can guarantee you will find it July 12-13 at the 2024 Texas Auto Body Trade Show in Irving!” said Tuggle. She encourages the collision repair community to register early because many classes will sell out.

“I can’t wait to see you there, and be sure to stop by the registration booth to say ‘Howdy!’” she said.

Leona Scott

Contributing Writer
With extensive experience in the auto care industry and working for nonprofits, Leona D. Scott has dedicated years to crafting compelling content for print... Read More

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