President's Message - VISION 2019 Updates
Thursday, February 21, 2019
First, I would like to thank everyone that lets me know when they enjoyed reading one of my President’s Messages. I got more calls and emails from the most recent one then I have ever received. Thank you for taking the time to read it, and especially for taking the extra time to contact me about it. If you ever have a topic on your mind you would like discussed, feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email.
Now to this month’s message. The topic is VISION. This topic is one of my favorites because I have been a part of VISION and VISION has been a part of me since the beginning. I have seen it grow into the premier training, trade show, and networking event in the country. I can also assure you that it didn’t happen by itself. A combination of regional shop owners getting involved from the beginning, industry exhibitor support, attendee support, and instructor involvement was important to VISION’s growth. Volunteers have given their time and energy to be a part of the show’s success. There has been fantastic media support from the get-go. We have a list of people that have served as VISION chairman or co-chairman that would make a good beginning of a “Who’s Who in the Automotive Industry?”
This year’s VISION looks to supersede all previous VISIONs. Registration is up over 18%, with over 500 first time attendees, multiple live-car classes will be held at several locations, and the Heavy Duty training continues this year. The spouse program is back, and there are 310 booths filling up the expo hall. Also, don’t forget the HiTech tool expo Thursday afternoon, and take a walk through the Sheraton lobby any evening and you will be hanging with the crème de la crème of automotive gurus.
So, knowing that, you probably think you have a sense of what it takes to put on the “big show”, right? Wrong! It takes so much more than you can imagine. The ideas, the planning, the creativity, and the implementation that gives us a better VISION each year comes from the staff at MWACA headquarters. Sheri Hamilton leads a crew including Bob Hamilton as the resident IT specialist, Heather Sebben as Sheri’s assistant, and Julie Gilmor, the newest staff member, who is taking on more responsibility every day. There is also a group of temporary staff members that repeatedly come in to help at the actual event. I’ve given kudos to Sheri in the past, but it’s hard to even put into words how much she gives to VISION. You have probably heard or read one of my stories, however it bears repeating. Having been one of the founders of VISION, I have seen it grow for over 25 years, but when I got on stage during the Saturday morning general session last year, I saw that because of the huge number of attendees, we had been forced to open up the air wall into the third ballroom to be able to seat everyone. I became very emotional and jabbered about how “My baby, VISION, has grown up”. Later that day in Sheri’s office, something had occurred that was not expected, when she quite forcefully said “VISION is my baby too and I’m not letting this happen”. Without a doubt, Sheri has claimed co-ownership of this event, and deservedly so.
There are plenty of reasons we have registrants from 45 states, 6 Canadian provinces, Brazil, Zimbabwe, and Australia. Do whatever it takes to experience them at the unparalleled automotive management and technical training event in the country – VISION. I’ll see you there!