Pioneers in a changing industry

May 2, 2023
This year’s ToolTech event provided attendees with valuable information on a variety of industry-focused topics.

This year’s annual Equipment and Tool Institute (ETI) ToolTech event took place from April 17-19 at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico. Close to 150 people attended the event including representatives from MEMA, the Auto Care Association, NASTF, and nine OEM brands, as well as numerous member companies. As with years past, the presentations given covered a variety of hot-button industry topics such as ADAS, connected cars, electric vehicles, and AI, to name a few. Each session provided much food for thought about the ever-changing automotive industry.

Presentations and panels for day one included:

  • The Future of Automotive Retail, Steve Greenfield, Automotive Ventures
  • OEM Panel Discussion moderated by Greg Potter, ETI
  • Legislative Update, Ann Wilson, MEMA and Lisa Foshee, Auto Care Association
  • How AI is Impacting the Automotive Aftermarket Service Experience, Mark Seng, Predii

To start off day two of ToolTech, current ETI President, Edward Prange, passed the gavel on to new ETI President, David Rich. Additionally, all the new members of the ETI board were recognized.

Before the start of the Shop Owners Panel began, Brian Plott, executive director for ETI, brought Dutch Silverstein up onto the stage. Silverstein has been in the automotive industry for over 50 years and has been a shop owner for 25; he is the first official affiliate member of ETI, which is ETI’s third level of membership.

Silverstein believes it is incredibly important for shop owners to be a part of ETI and be able to attend events such as ToolTech, so this year he increased his previous donation to ETI from $1,000 to $5,000 to sponsor shop owners who can’t afford to come to the event. He plans on matching this donation every year.

“It’s often been said that the measure of how badly you want to do something is what you’re willing to give up to get it, Silverstein noted. “I believe so strongly in ETI and the networking that’s done here and the ability for shop owners to be heard—to actually meet tool manufacturers and vehicle manufacturers and convey their ideas to give different perspectives to draw different insights—that I’m going to be upping this [check] from $1,000 to $5,000.”

Presentations and panel for day two included:

  • Securing Tomorrow’s Connected Car, Roger Lanctot, TechInsights
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems and the Future of Travel, Ken Vaughn, Trevilon
  • Shop Owners Panel moderated by Scott Brown, Diagnostic Network
  • International Perspectives, Pete Bradley, Hella-Gutmann (EGEA)
  • Automotive Data Legal Landscape, Jeff Stefan, Varnum Law

Throughout the event, attendees also had the opportunity to schedule one-on-one meetings with other industry professionals and network at the company spotlight tradeshow/reception.

“There’s a lot of change that’s coming,” Rich said. The new ETI President compared this period time back in the 1890s when the switch from horses and buggies to motorized vehicles began.

“You, people in this room, are the pioneers that are going to come up with industry solutions for those conditions, Rich noted. “The way vehicles are serviced is definitely going to change—how, when, where. There are services that are going to change and we’re going to have to adapt to that.”

It’s these changes that ETI hopes they can provide their members knowledge on and a space to collaborate to find solutions to any challenges as they arise.

Check out more photos from the event here.

About the Author

Emily Markham | Editor | PTEN and Professional Distributor

Emily Markham is the editor of  Professional Tool & Equipment News (PTEN) and Professional Distributor magazines. These publications are part of the Endeavor Business Media Vehicle Repair Group.

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