By Ed Salamy, ABPA Executive Director
San Diego, CA – After an amazing week in sunny San Diego, the 38th Annual ABPA Convention is complete! With the highest attendance and participation in recent memory, this was the best ABPA event in years. Here are some of the highlights:
Early bird attendees flew into San Diego to enjoy the city prior to the evening’s welcoming reception. Many attendees took advantage of the beautiful Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa and came in early the prior weekend. The official convention start was the evening’s Welcoming Reception which was held outdoors poolside at Fresco’s Lounge. After enjoying some cocktails and food, many attendees huddled by the firepit and heat lamps as the evening temps dropped. Regardless, everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time in a fun social environment. Some attendees even took advantage of the fosse ball table in Fresco’s!
Wednesday is typically an open day for ABPA attendees to enjoy themselves with personal time and this year was no different. Those who did opt for the ABPA golf tournament were well rewarded with panoramic views and a challenging course at Steele Canyon in nearby Jamul, CA. After meeting in the lobby at 7:30AM, the golfers were treated to a spacious party bus which transported them to the course in comfort. The weather was perfect for golf that day and the only complaint received was that too many golf balls were lost!
While many were enjoying themselves, the ABPA exhibitors had access to the ballroom starting at noon and all got busy with setting up their tabletops. As the cocktail hour started at 6PM, everyone was setup and ready for the crowd. As the first major dinner of the convention, the Tradeshow Dinner is always a packed event. Attendees had an exciting time socializing, meeting with the vendors, and of course eating.
Thursday was the “big” day for the attendees. Starting with breakfast at 7:30AM, the events lasted all day straight into the night!
The speaker schedule was kicked off with updates of the ABPA from Kim Hicks (ABPA Chairman) and Ed Salamy (Executive Director). The speakers for the first business session were:
- Ray Colas – LKQ
- Bob Frayer – NSF
- Steve Fodor – Customs Services & Solutions Inc
- Kerry Tapio – Intertek/CAPA
During the lunch hour, the annual ABPA “Awards Lunch” was held with the winners announced. Congratulations to the award winners!
- Industry Award – Matt Immerfall, Allstar Auto Lights
- Industry Award – Debbie Klouser, CAPA
- President’s Award – CCC
- Chairman’s Award – Chris Northup
- Founder’s Award – Jack Gillis
Immediately following the Awards Lunch, Intertek/CAPA hosted a lighting VTF in the main ballroom. Most ABPA attendees participated and watched as the Intertek team worked with specialized equipment on a quarter vehicle “sled” which was able to be brought into the ballroom. Next up were the remaining afternoon educational breakout sessions which were presented by car-part.com, NSF, JSC Group, Shippabo, and PartsTrader.
At 5PM, a very special event was held outside with the National Auto Body Council (NABC) Recycled Rides Giveaway. This year, a lucky Marine veteran got the surprise of his life when he was given a 2016 Nissan Sentra! Some parts for the build were contributed by ABPA Members Quality Plus Automotive Parts in San Diego and LKQ Corp. Those who attended our 2017 Atlanta convention will probably remember the event which was our first Recycled Rides giveaway and this year was no different. Special thanks to NABC, Allstate and Caliber Collision for giving the ABPA the opportunity to share in hosting this special event. As a bonus, the local media were in attendance and gave this organization the exposure it deserves.
Finally, it was time for the evening’s cocktail and dinner event. Originally scheduled to be held outside, the ABPA Convention Committee made the executive decision to bring the event inside the ballroom due to the cold temps experienced in the Welcoming Reception earlier in the week. Despite the change in venue, the Thursday evening dinner was a popular event and many attendees stayed until the bars were closed in the ballroom.
The last day of the ABPA convention was only a half day, but we packed in some tremendous speakers so that we would go out on a high note! For the second business session, the speakers were:
- Peter Bishop – CCC Information Services
- Patrick Burnett – Nationwide Insurance
- Jim Smith – JSC Group (Legal Update)
- Senator Mark Pryor – Venable (QPC Update)
- George Avery – Avery Knows
Those who left early on Friday morning truly missed out! Next year, please try to adjust your schedules to stay for the seconds business session.
After the last speaker, ABPA Chairman Kim Hicks called an end to the meeting which closed out the most successful ABPA convention in years. We would like to thank all our sponsors, the attendees and the ABPA Board members who work so hard on behalf of the membership. During my presentation in San Diego, we announced that the 2019 ABPA Convention will be held in Ft Lauderdale, FL at the Westin on the Beach from 4/30/19 – 5/3/19. Mark your calendars and I hope to see you all there!
Executive Director, ABPA