The Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS) Board of Directors has voted to defer its educational event for 2015. According to GAAS chairman Denny Welvaert the board made the difficult decision to postpone the event for 2015 in order to revaluates its purpose in the marketplace.
“Since its inception in 1996, the GAAS platform has hosted many notable speakers both within and outside our industry,” said Welvaert. “But the market has changed in the last 20 years and it has been increasingly difficult to attract attendees with the growth of program group meetings and other industry events. The board would like to take this next year to talk to industry leaders and study the event’s purpose, location, and format.”
Welvaert said he’s grateful to the associations who sponsor the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) who recently announced they will hold a new Wednesday morning General Session at AAPEX on November 5. The event will feature a speech by Steve Forbes and will be free to general attendees, but special VIP seating and other sponsorship opportunities will be offered to raise money for GAAS Scholarships.
“The GAAS Board is glad to know that our most important endeavor of raising funds for industry scholarships will be supported by this new event at AAPEX,” Welvaert said.
The first GAAS event was held in the fall of 1996 and quickly became the premier industry conference for senior-level aftermarket executives. For the past eight years GAAS has been held each May in Chicago. The net proceeds of the event have been used to fund industry scholarships for students studying for careers in the automotive aftermarket. The GAAS Scholarship Fund has awarded scholarships to more than 1,900 students representing $1.9 million in aid. Details about the GAAS scholarship program are available at www.automotivescholarships.com.
Welvaert says an announcement regarding GAAS’s future as an educational event will be made at a later time.
The GAAS program is a joint professional education effort of the Alliance of State Automotive Aftermarket Associations (ASAAA), Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), Auto Care Association, Automotive Industries Association (AIA) of Canada, Automotive Parts Remanufacturers Association (APRA), Automotive Service Association (ASA), Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA), Motorist Assurance Program (MAP), Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA), Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), Tire Industry Association (TIA) and University of the Aftermarket.