The 2015 ABPA annual meeting held in Chicago on April 21-24 was a rousing success. Attendance was up significantly, the number of exhibitors at the concurrent trade show was at an all time high, and the information presented was timely, broadminded and held the attention of attendees throughout the event. Discussion was vigorous, as old acquaintances renewed, and new connections were formed.
One thing everyone agreed on was the suitability of the venue. The historic Drake Hotel in downtown Chicago offered a comfortable, convenient location with well-appointed meeting rooms, excellent food and exceptional service. The great view of Lake Shore Drive and Lake Michigan beyond did not hurt, either.
Some of the highlights of week included:
- The world’s coldest golf tournament. Kudos to those hardy souls who braved the conditions. All golfers will be allowed to deduct strokes from their score in direct proportion to the wind chill factor.
- A lively and well-attended opening night dinner on Wednesday evening, held in conjunction with the opening of the tabletop trade show. Some 35 exhibitors – the most ever at an ABPA meeting – had a great opportunity to expose and explain their products and services.
- A full day of business on Thursday, with keynote speakers in the morning and four popular breakout sessions in the afternoon. Welcoming speeches were delivered by ABPA Executive Director Ed Salamy, ABPA Chairman Dan Morrissey, ABPA President Jim Smith.
- Kim Hicks introduced candidates for the open spots on the ABPA Board of Directors as voting got underway. When the votes were tallied Kim Hicks and Dolores Richardson had retained their seats, and the Board welcomed new member Galen Chen of Maxzone.
- Bob Passmore of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) gave a detailed legislative overview.
- Ken Weiss provided an update on Parts Trader, which is now being used by over 8,000 collision repairs shops in 48 states and the District of Columbia.
- ABPA Chairman Dan Morrissey updated the audience about the ABPA’s lawsuit against Ford, which is pending a court’s decision on whether or not to move the case from Texas to Michigan, as petitioned by Ford.
- Allstate Insurance’s Randy Hansen delivered a broad overview of the relationship between the insurance industry and aftermarket parts industry.
- The ABPA’s annual awards were presented during Thursday’s luncheon in the Drake Hotels’ Gold Coast Room.
- A sensational gala dinner at the Drake Hotel’s Club International. Browse through our photo album to see who was there!
- An after dinner party at the rooftop drumBAR, with a fantastic view of Chicago at night, hosted by CCC Information Services.
- A fast paced wrap up at Friday morning’s breakfast meeting, featuring presentations by Jack Gillis of CAPA, the ASA’s Dan Risley, Brandon Eckenrode of the Collision Repair Education Foundation, Bob Frayer of NSF, and a design patent lawsuit update from Will Nordwind of the Quality Parts Coalition.
Heard at the ABPA Annual Meeting
- “We are facing many headwinds, including OEMs keeping pricing to themselves, self-driving cars, and young people driving less,” Jim Smith, President of ABPA
- “The ABPA has welcomed 23 new members since the beginning of this year,” Ed Salamy, ABPA Executive Director.
- “CAPA has reduced the risk of using aftermarket parts. We’ve provided a legitimacy for the aftermarket parts industry,” Jack Gillis, CAPA.
- “Certification [of parts] will allow us to compete for the 80% of the market now controlled by OEMs,” Bob Frayer, NSF International.
- “The PARTS Act would create a ’30-month shot clock’ for OEM patent protection,” Will Nordwind, QPC.
- “Our association is stronger than its ever been,” Dan Morrissey, ABPA Chairman.
Scenes from Chicago