President's Message - VISION '19 Recap
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Good afternoon! This month I am going to do a brief VISION recap, tell a little story you will love, then ask a favor. As I write this, VISION has been over for one week, and there is still continuous chatter on social media about it. It appears that again, we have had a successful conference. On the Tuesday after VISION, Sheri and I had a one hour phone conversation debriefing what was successful, what could have been improved, and what may need to be added or deleted next year. That’s the truth: Sheri took ONE day off and jumped right back in to start planning for VISION next year. If you have ever wondered why VISION is so successful year after year, that is your first clue. I got feedback from instructors, sponsors, vendors, and both technical and management class attendees, all who had positive comments for the whole weekend. Since the very first VISION, I have enjoyed spending as much time as possible working at the registration desk and having the opportunity to actually meet as many attendees as I can. It seems to open the door to building relationships (although seeing someone one time a year doesn’t really allow me to become close friends, especially with a large number of acquaintances). If, during the event, I hear someone shout “Hey, Jerry”, It usually means they want to ask a question or make a comment, both which may lead to improving one little facet of the show. Thanks to all who were there. I’m truly sorry I can’t remember everyone’s name so I can holler back at you. 😄
You’ll love this story. If you were in Aaron Stokes’ Saturday morning class (over 300 people were), you probably experienced it firsthand. I was not there but have heard many similar versions of what happened, seen a cellphone video, and most are close to what I’ll tell you now. First, it was an extremely large class, one of the largest ever at VISION. The air walls had to be opened up to allow enough room for all of the seats needed in a class that large. At some point during the class, all of the lights in the class went out, leaving the room completely dark. With hardly any delay, one by one, people towards the front turned on their cellphone lights, then more and more turned theirs on, and just seconds after a complete blackout, Aaron continued the presentation like nothing had happened. The lights went back on shortly after, as someone in the next room had shut off a bank of lights that also included those in Aaron’s classroom. When I heard this story, my first thought was “Oh no! Not another electrical glitch in that same room”. However, after just a minute to reconsider, my new thoughts were:
- What quick thinking from those in the class that lit the room up with their cellphones! Typical automotive entrepreneurs that see a problem and find a solution
- What dedication from Aaron Stokes to have the lights go out and to just keep teaching the class as if nothing had happened!
More than anything, what I saw and heard was a fine group of professionals turning a possible negative into a positive. You all make me proud to be even a small part of that group.
Last on my list is a request. During VISION many people and organizations donated items for our silent auction to help fund our Technicians of Tomorrow Educational Foundation, or TTEF. We raised enough to fund several scholarships for students, working techs and advisors, and even owners. If you were at the Celebration of Independents Awards Banquet, you saw the emotions of those presenting the first Harvey Chan Memorial Scholarship, and also the Ed Schaeffer and the Dave DeCourcey Memorial Scholarships. Our goal is to make as many scholarships as possible be self-supporting. It can happen if a large enough group of people each make an extra contribution to the fund. Here is my request: If you gained one idea at VISION this year that will help your business make an extra $100 (or even if you weren’t there, but care), make out a check to TTEF for $100.00 and mail it to:
8025 Troost Ave.
Kansas City, MO 64131
That’s right, send them to me! I’ll make sure they go into the fund, but I want to see every check that comes in so I can make a personal phone call to the donor to thank them for helping support the fund that I have adopted as one of my personal goals. If you prefer to use a credit card, let me know that you made a donation with a card. I know $100 is a lot, but imagine if just half of the nearly 2000 VISION attendees write $100 checks. We will be able to offer scholarships for years. Remember that you can specify to which scholarship your donation will be applied. At this time, we offer four $1000 student scholarships, the MWACA Educator Scholarship, the Ed Schaeffer Memorial Scholarship, the Dave Decourcey NEXT Generation Scholarship, and the Harvey Chan Memorial Scholarship. Others may be added or deleted. If it sounds like a lot will be needed, it will. That is why I’m pleading with you to send me one little $100 check. As a group of the country’s the world’s top automotive professionals, we should band together to help bring and keep people in our industry.
Don’t forget, coming up in May, the first issue of MWACA Magazine.