The VISION Hi-Tech Training & Expo is the one convention of all the various automotive conventions which I never miss. Dare I say it’s an overload of information from Overland Park, Kansas? There really is so much to see and do you can’t see it all in one day.
At VISION classes are filled to the brim with shop owners, technicians and service writers. This year, over 500 first-time attendees made their way to the convention, as well as future technicians and aspiring shop owners ascended on Overland Park, Kansas, for this in-depth week of training.
I’ve been attending this event for two decades so far, and each year it keeps getting better and better. Apart from the training and incredible deals to be found at the expo, I value longtime friendships with other shop owners, technicians and business people I’ve developed over the years through this show.
The management training sessions are valuable as well. This year attendees could choose from classes on money management to handling employees and inventory. This year specialty classes included those like Scott's Brown class on how to use different chat pages, the best methods of taking photos for your customers, and how to utilize today's electronic technology to aide in communication between the shop, technician, and the customer. John Bridgewater, owner of Wright’s Automotive Service, says “[VISION is] one of the best training events in the country. The technical and management training both are top notch, and the best value is the networking opportunity to meet others fighting the same battles we are.”
The expo left nothing out of the mix. More and more software companies are present at the show each year, and some of the latest players in scanning equipment were there, too. From training manuals, hand tools and scanners, to equipment and software, there was something for everyone. One of the new arrivals to VISION was a company from Australia [SP Tools USA] that introduced its own line of hand tools and tool boxes. I was also in awe of the amount of new concept ideas regarding the interaction between service writers, technicians, and the customer from companies like Bolt On and Denso.
But more than the expo or the classes, VISION represents a fellowship of the best of the best in the industry. A good friend of mine, Joe Marconi, says this: “We are here to make a difference in the field of automotive repair. Not only for ourselves, but for our customers and our employees.” VISION is also a meeting place for those people in the industry who put their time and efforts into the business on a daily basis. It's a place to shake hands and show how much each and every one of us pulls all of these different resources together to help make the industry that much better. That camaraderie is one of the reasons I have not missed a convention for more than two decades. Here’s what Jill Trotta, Repair Pal’s Vice President of Marketing, Industry, and Sales said about VISION: “"The energy and enthusiasm that VISION evokes is contagious. [I go] back to my company with renewed energy and a stronger bond with the industry. It’s more of than a tradeshow, it's a big family reunion that happens once a year.” I couldn’t agree more.
Each year new attendance records are broken and each year more first-time attendees are present. The keynote speakers are top notch, the facility is wonderful, and the barbecue is outstanding. VISION Hi-Tech is not a convention to miss. Be sure to put the VISION Hi-Tech convention in Overland Park, Kansas, on next year’s agenda – March 5-8, 2020. I’ll see you there!