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By Ed Salamy, ABPA Executive Director

November means another annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas for the annual SEMA / AAPEX show. When I tell non-industry friends that I am heading out for this event, the first reaction that I get from many of them is, “Oh wow! That sounds like so much fun! I have always wanted to go to the SEMA show!”

Several APBA Board members enjoy a break for lunch during our annual Board of Directors meeting.

Truth be told, I rarely even make it out to SEMA, and focus primarily on the AAPEX show. As a car guy, I do enjoy the SEMA show and seeing the vendors for the products that I put on my personal vehicle, as well as catching a glimpse of the famous reality TV stars from the Velocity Network. However, this trip is all about business and my time is too limited to be able to walk the miles upon miles of tradeshow space at SEMA. Most of the action related ABPA’s business is held at AAPEX. This year was no different.

The ABPA Board of Directors had their biannual meeting on Wednesday, November 2, at the meeting space inside Harrah’s casino. Special thanks to all Board members who dedicate so much of their time and energy to attend these meetings, and who focus on going through a long, yet diverse agenda. These productive meetings typically last for close to 6-7 hours and this one was no different. Rest assured, your association is in good hands.

The annual Maxzone dinner was well-attended.

That evening, Maxzone kept a streak alive by having another wonderful dinner for their customers and industry friends at Harrah’s. This tradition started in 2003 and has been going strong ever since. A slideshow presented during the dinner highlighted the memories of all the Maxzone AAPEX dinners throughout the years. As many ABPA members purchase products from Maxzone, it is always an excellent opportunity for me to see ABPA members whom I may only see one other time of the year at our annual ABPA conference. Special thanks to Galen Chen and Maxzone management for hosting this great event.

CCC is also known for hosting high level social events at various industry conventions (including the ABPA conference), and this AAPEX/ SEMA show was no different. After the Maxzone dinner, many traveled over to Caesars Palace for the CCC event. Primarily attended by insurance executives and leaders in the body shop industry, the CCC party is always a well-attended gala that is held at high end restaurants or clubs. With a panoramic view of the Vegas strip from Caesars’ rooftop, it certainly was a great way to end the evening for all in attendance.

Of course, there is work to be done in Vegas. My second day gave me my first opportunity to walk the AAPEX show and meet with many of the ABPA members who participate and host show booths. This year, there was a strong showing from many of the manufacturer members of the Association.

CCC’s rooftop party provided a brightly lit vista of the famous Las Vegas strip.

One thing that struck me as odd was that the show seemed to be poorly attended. This was the case despite me being there shortly after opening. After talking to others who were manning their booths, the consensus was the same from all. There was a general feeling of disappointment in the lack of foot traffic. Some speculated that this was due to it being the final day of the tradeshow.

Regardless, my opinion of the AAPEX show has not changed: it is an excellent opportunity for an ABPA member to make new contacts, learn about new products, and potentially create new business relationships. Having fun in Vegas just makes it that more appealing. See you in the desert next year.

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