The 2023 Midwest Collision Repair Trade Show, set for May 19-20 at the Overland Park Convention Center outside Kansas City, KS, will bring together the collision repair industry for two days of networking, product demos and education.
The show is doubling in size after its successful inaugural run in 2022.
“We’re pretty excited to get our second show under our belts,” said Gina Cotton, co-coordinator and executive director of the Nebraska and Missouri autobody associations, which is hosting the show along with the South Dakota Autobody Association and the Iowa Collision Repair Association (ICRA).
The show is free, but organizers ask everyone to register so they can have nametags. The only charge is to attend the catered lunch May 20, featuring Jack Stack BBQ and keynote speaker Dan Meers, better known as “KC Wolf,” the mascot of the Kansas City Chiefs. He will tell his personal story, which Cotton promised is “very motivational and uplifting,” and might even include a couple tidbits about the Super Bowl.
The show opens at 5 p.m. May 19 with a “roaring welcome” from Mike Anderson of Collision Advice and a “big bash,” said Janet Chaney, co-coordinator and executive director of the ICRA.
From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 20, attendees will enjoy a blend of vendor booths and educational seminars and panel discussions. Cotton said about 50 vendors are registered as of late March, with room for more.
Solidus Equipment Systems, the show’s presenting sponsor, will host a welding competition offering a top prize of a $5,000 MIG welder. Interested competitors can register on the website.
Chaney said the show’s education component is centered on the “repair of the future,” tackling issues most relevant to shops today.
The technical seminars will include an “EV introduction” for technicians, reviewing the basics of EV repairs and safety issues, and one offering a significant refresher on writing estimates to reflect the increasing technology in vehicles.
Other seminars will cover how to build business through a shop’s website, get into OE repair procedures, address data privacy issues related to writing repair estimates, and perform ADAS calibration procedures in a safe --- and profitable --- way.
“All of these things are pain points in shops,” Chaney said.
Considering a technician shortage is one of the biggest issue shops are facing today, the closing session will be a panel discussion about cultivating a strong workplace culture, Chaney said.
Cotton said she was inspired to start the trade show when she attended the SEMA Show and thought it would be helpful to hold a “mini SEMA” for mom-and-pop repairers in Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas who couldn’t make it to Las Vegas. Chaney reached out and asked if Iowa and South Dakota could participate as well.
“It was a successful accident last year,” Cotton said. “I prayed for 300 people and got 600. This year, I am hoping for 1,000.”
Cotton said she has reached out to 11 Midwest states ahead of this year’s show.
“The vendors love it because it’s one stop,” Cotton said. “We’re all very spread out in the Midwest, so the biggest selling point for the vendors is they can get in front of 11 states.”
For more information, visit midwesttradeshow.org.