By Aaron Clements, AAM, Chairman
NACE, CARS and Industry Week 2007 have come and gone. I hope you were able to attend. As I am writing this, I am sitting at the Las Vegas Airport waiting for my flight back to the East coast. I am reminiscing about the many good times I had, the excellent training I received, and the friendships I made.
It was difficult to decide which of the many meetings, classes and receptions occurring during the week to attend. Of course, some events were "must-sees" - such as the opening speech at NACE by Chris Gardner. His against-all-odds, rags-to-riches story about his son and himself was truly inspirational. It taught us all about how determination can help us to overcome huge obstacles. If you did not get a chance to hear his speech - or even if you did - I strongly recommend you watch the movie based on his story, "The Pursuit of Happyness," or read his book by the same title. Another key speaker that I made certain to hear was Jones Loflin, the author of "Juggling Elephants," which compares hectic lives to a circus and our frustration in managing them to juggling elephants. His speech was part of the CARS luncheon on Saturday, and I hope you had the pleasure of hearing his entertaining and motivating speech.
The meetings, training classes and exhibitor booths were also an essential part of the whole week. I took notes, received valuable information, and handed out several of my business cards. Some other exciting aspects of this year's event were the large number of attendees, many of whom were younger. The younger generation's presence at the event and interest in the industry was thrilling to me. I am very proud to say that my daughter, Amanda, who is 21 years old, attended and said she learned a great deal and looks forward to next year. Overall, I was especially glad to see the excitement and optimism about our association and industry that everyone displayed.
During the CARS Luncheon Saturday, I mentioned that although the benefits, education and training are very significant items that ASA provides us, the memories we make with each other are the most important. This will always be true for the association.
I would have to say that CARS and NACE were both a huge success and I would like to personally say, "Thank you!" to all of the staff and volunteers who made it possible. You should be very proud.
The news for next year is even better. ASA has announced that CARS will be held at the same location as NACE in 2008, and both will be under the umbrella name of Automotive Service and Repair Week (ASRW). The benefits and possibilities are enormous. You can probably tell that I am extremely pumped up about ASRW in 2008. So join in the enthusiasm and - seriously - start making plans now for the next CARS and NACE events. They promise to be the best ones yet.
Sorry, I have to run now, they just called my seating zone number. If I saw you during the events in Las Vegas this year, it was great to see you. If I did not, then I sincerely hope to see you next year!
Have a blessed month.