On March 15-17, thousands gathered at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ for the 42nd Annual NORTHEAST Automotive Services Show. Hosted by the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ), the three-day event drew the largest crowd and featured the most extensive slate of educational/training opportunities in NORTHEAST history.
"Everybody in AASP/NJ who works to facilitate this show and put it together was just blown away," comments AASP/NJ President Jerry McNee. "We easily drew more attendees than we've had in the past, and nobody was disappointed. The show was 42 years in the making to get it to this level. I went and spoke to as many vendors as I could, and they could not have been happier with the traffic on the floor. Many of them sold out of the products they brought to the show. We already have several vendors planning to come back next year, with many expressing an interest in expanding their booth sizes." "Once again, NORTHEAST left attendees from all over the country in awe," adds AASP/NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant. "It was like the stars aligned at the right time to produce the perfect show. There was something there for everyone who attended, and the training that took place was beyond compare. It was simply the place to be for anyone in the collision industry who is on top of their game. Time and time again, attendees stopped at the AASP/NJ booth to say it was a great show. The weather must have played a role in attendance, because there was not a time during the entire weekend when the aisles were not packed." For the second year, the Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association (WMABA) partnered with AASP/NJ to present the Collision Professional Repairer Education Program (Collision P.R.E.P.). "We had a couple standout courses, such as Mike Anderson of Collision Advice's new 'Scanning Best Practices' class, the OEM Repair Panel and the first-time 'Repairer to Repairer: Realities of Structural Repair and Tooling' discussion that was presented by Michael Bradshaw from K&M Collision [Hickory, NC]," shares WMABA Executive Director Jordan Hendler. "For the OEM Repair Panel, 'The Changing Landscape in Certified Repair, and Understanding the OEM Repair Procedures,' we had a lot of shops exiting saying they had a firmer grasp of expectations from the OEMs and the programs they administrate. It's certainly a very hot topic for all the right reasons. The most important thing is that every class was a hit; all our speakers did a dynamite job and gave relevant and timely information." Hendler is excited by the possibility of having WMABA and AASP/NJ collaborate on other educational initiatives down the road. "WMABA is proud to work with AASP/NJ when it comes to presenting the education at NORTHEAST. This is a unified effort to bring the best there is from around the country, and I think we're doing a great job together. The education available, along with a trade show to talk to vendors, is a powerful combination. We've received some feedback that will help us get even better and continue to keep pace with advancements in technology, vehicle repair processes and the industry itself." AASP/NJ is already hard at work planning for NORTHEAST 2020, scheduled for March 20-22, 2020 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center. Visit aaspnjnortheast.com for updates on next year's event as they become available, and check out the April 2019 issue of New Jersey Automotive for a full recap of NORTHEAST 2019. For more information on AASP/NJ, visit aaspnj.org.