The Northwest Auto Care Alliance (NWACA) held its first Collision Training Expo (CTE) on May 6 at Clover Park Technical School in Lakewood, WA.
Forty people attended the all-day training and exhibition event designed for collision shops, by collision shops. The classes---several of which were hands-on---consisted of training for managers, owners, estimators and technicians, with trainers from leading industry names like CCC, Wesco, ATI, Elitek, 3M and LDC Equipment teaching everything from performing calibrations on ADAS features and writing estimates to measuring and welding on a variety of materials used in modern vehicles.
Micah Strom, collision chair for the NWACA and a body shop owner, said show organizers got a lot of excellent feedback, which will be used to make next year's second annual CTE even better.
"Just like the first time with anything, there will be things we'll learn from," Strom said. "But we had an instructor from a tech school in Bellingham, WA, and he said he will tell everyone they need to attend next year."
Strom said show organizers are already trying to think of a way to offer a hands-on painting class in 2024.
"We want to provide a training event for the whole shop," Strom said. "We prefer hands-on training, not just a classroom setting, because technicians learn better that way."
Strom thanked everyone who made the first CTE a success, including NWACA office staff, CTE committee members, vendors and sponsors.
Strom said the NWACA has hosted a training expo for mechanical shops for 20 years and felt it was time to offer the same to its collision shop members.
“We started the CTE for our members and for the industry in general, to get some good training out there,” Strom said. “There’s not a lot [of collision training] here in the Northwest, and that’s why we put this together.”
The success of the inaugural event concreted the vision of CTE and the need for a training event like it.
Anyone interested in participating in the 2024 CTE as an attendee, trainer or sponsor can contact Brenda Wolslegel at 253-653-2334 or by email at email@example.com.