First they brought a few more in, then a few more after that, then another
40 or so and finally, they just opened up another room with a few hundred
more of them.
What could organizers of the annual National Auto Glass Conference
& EXPO possibly have been looking for in the basement of the Tampa
Convention Center at 3 p.m. on the last day of the conference? What
could they need on a beautiful Saturday afternoon that betrayed little
hint of the category-five hurricane approaching?
They were looking for empty chairs, because the hundreds already
in the meeting hall had been filled.
Hurricane Threat Doesn't Dampen National Auto Glass Conference
In proof that the power of the impending hurricane was no match for
the power of the Conference, and the strength of its winds no match
for the resolve by attendees to learn, approximately 600 people converged
at the end of the Conference to hear presentations by Jesse Herrera
of NAGS, and Wes Topping of the Chicago Group.
And learn they did.
Herrera, joined on the speaker's platform by his associate Bud Oliver,
went through the upcoming changes to be expected with the NAGS reevaluation
and how auto glass shops could prepare. He addressed many questions
and concerns that have been expressed since the reevaluation and the
available previews have been announced, including the issue of paying
for the preview.
"For us, I can assure you, there is no windfall for us from the
preview. It's not a money making venture," he said, explaining
that the charge for the preview covers the cost required for its creation
Upon the close of the NAGS presentation, the floor was opened up to
the audience for questions, a session that lasted more than an hour.
Though initially open to letting the question and answer period last
until everyone with a question had an opportunity to ask it, session
moderator Leo Cyr had to call the question and answer period to an end
after an hour and 15 minutes to allow the Chicago Auto Glass Group time
to set up and give their presentation.
Topping, along with Carl Ostdiek and Dave Leach, presented the history
and objectives of the Chicago Group, along with the issues members see
as plaguing the industry with regard to pricing. To further illustrate
its proposed pricing system, copies of the Chicago Group's white paper
were distributed prior to the seminar and the audience was encouraged
to read the "definitions" listed within to avoid any confusion
that the language in the technical paper could cause.
The two sessions served as finale to a Conference that proved successful
for exhibitors and attendees alike. "Our expectations were not
too high, but we have had a great show," said Matt Larson of Delta
Kits. "It was good for us."
"We saw a lot of our customers," said Elizabeth Vanderweide
of PPG. "The traffic from within Florida was down but that's to
In addition to the show and pricing seminars, attendees were treated
to sessions that covered a range of topics, from monitoring and cutting
overhead costs to the pros and cons of different marketing aspects.
Also offered were two windshield installation demonstrations with new
model cars: the 2004 Dodge Ram pick-up and the 2005 Chrysler Crossfire,
both of which, in addition to the seminars, were well attended.
The conference switches dates, days of the week and venue next year,
moving to Minneapolis, MN, May 23-25, 2005.
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