On April 11 and 12, AASP-MN held its Annual Meeting & Convention at the Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West, Plymouth. During the two days, over two-hundred fifty area shop owners, vendors, presenters and industry supporters gathered to take part in informative seminars, networking opportunities, and unforgettable entertainment.
Despite the shaky weather conditions, the event got off to a fantastic start on April 11 with the “Peer-to-Peer Roundtable & Networking Extravaganza.” For two hours, attendees met with fellow AASP-MN members in a revolving “roundtable” setting to discuss a variety of topics including I-CAR’s new Professional Development Program, OSHA and EPA regulations, employee “perks” and incentives and reducing business operational costs. The topic-specific roundtables were followed by a round of “speed networking,” in which participants met one-on-one with another member for three-minute sessions, then rotated to the next. They introduced themselves with the idea of identifying common interests and opening the door for a future connection at the event or sometime thereafter. Not surprisingly, the concept was very well received.
Inspired by these in-depth talks, attendees moved on to enjoy a variety of other educational opportunities designed to strengthen their abilities in repair, marketing and employee care. Seminars “What Employers Need to Know About Health Care Reform,” “Marketing on a Shoestring Budget,” “GM GDS2,” “The Customer Connection,” “Ford IDS,” and “Making Change Stick,” were just a few that rated high with attendees.
Away from the seminar rooms, Convention attendees had several chances to simply relax and have a good time with their peers. The Happy Hour &Vendor Showcase allowed AASP-MN members to meet face to face with the Convention’s many sponsors. Whether they were checking out new products and equipment or catching up with their favorite sales reps, attendees quickly and enthusiastically filled the vendor display rooms. Later that evening, attendees gathered at the Plymouth Playhouse for a delicious buffet dinner followed by a performance of “Ring Of Fire,” an entertaining musical revue based on the life and music of Johnny Cash.
During the AASP-MN Annual Meeting and luncheon on April 12, attendees were introduced to the 2013 – ’14 Board of Directors, which included: president, Dan Sjolseth, Superior Service Center; secretary/treasurer Jerald Stiele, Hopkins Auto Body; immediate past president, John Ritter, Jr., Highland Autostar; mechanical division director, Tom Gleason, Pro-Tech Auto & Truck; collision division director, Mike Cox, Ed’s Collision & Glass; collision seat, Joyce Weinhandl, Northfield & Twin City Auto Body; and mechanical seats, Scott McClure, St. Paul Automotive and Greg Kasel, Downtown Tire & Auto.
The Association recognized a number of members during the luncheon who have gone above and beyond in supporting their industry this past year. Bill Sauer of IDENTIFIX, was presented with a special Lifetime Service Award for his many years of volunteerism and service to the automotive community. A true Minnesota industry legend, Sauer has enjoyed a lengthy career highlighted by active involvement in the AASP-MN Education & Training Committee, the Automotive Training Managers Council, ASE, the Automotive Management Institute and the Automotive Service Association.
“Bill Sauer is loved by virtually everyone in this industry, and especially by his friends at AASP-MN,” offered AASP-MN Executive Director Judell Anderson during a special commemorative ceremony. “Between the experts at IDENTIFIX and his connections with others in the industry, Bill has been an invaluable resource to AASP-MN when it comes to delivering quality training to our members.”
Joe Schmit, an Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and community leader best known for his work on KSTP TV and 1500 ESPN, also delivered a moving and inspirational Keynote Address that reminded attendees that “we make our biggest impressions, when we are not trying to be impressive.”
Sponsors of this year’s event included: 3M, aaa Auto Parts, AASP National, Advisorfix.com, AkzoNobel Automotive, AmeriPride Services, Associated Insurance Agents, Audatex, Auto Plus Auto Stores, Auto Value Parts Stores, Autodata Publications, Automotive Seminars, Axalta Coating Systems, BASF Automotive Refinish, Body Shop Supply of LaCrosse, CARQUEST Auto Parts, CCC Information Services, CHESS, Choice Auto Rental, Dent Impressions, Dentsmart PDR, Dorman Products, Dynotech Industries, Hunter Engineering, IDENTIFIX, Inver Grove Ford Lincoln, Key Kool/Keystone, Keystone Automotive, Lowell’s Performance Coatings/Carbench, Meadowbrook Insurance, Minnesota Collision Auto Repair Safety Study, Mitchell International, Mitchell1, Net Driven, One Eighty Business Solutions, O’Reilly Auto Parts, PAMS Auto, Inc., PPG Automotive Finishes, Pro Paint Metro, Pump & Meter Service, Raytheon, RLO Training, Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes, Suburban Chevrolet, Tousley Ford, and United Fire Group.
For additional information, contact the AASP-MN office at (612) 623-1110 or 800-852-9071 or online at www.aaspmn.org.