by Alana Quartuccio
Progress doesn’t come from coasting by day to day. It’s what you put into it. Committing to learning new things, making changes for the better and coming together as one entity can only help make the collision repair industry stronger.
Last month, ABAT once again hit it out of the park with the 2023 Texas Auto Body Trade Show bringing in the best educators, top-of-the-line vendors and more collision repair related fun than ever could possibly be had all under one roof.
From start to finish, the Irving Convention Center was alive and kicking with activity from car shows, in-booth demonstrations, lively and interactive educational seminars, Happy Hours, Big Shots and more!
For the third year in a row, the Big Shots Competition was a highlight of the show, literally taking center stage as the contest took place in the middle of the show floor. Some came back to try to reclaim their title, while others came in for the first time and went all the way to the top.
Competitors took part in one of the four categories – estimating, PDR, auto body tech and painting. A continuous flow of on-lookers crowded around the Big Shots ring all weekend as they watched competitors show off their glue pulling techniques, write estimates, apply seam sealer and demonstrate welding and take part in the virtual painting competition; hands-on paint finals took place off-site at a nearby Sherwin-Williams facility.
First place winners (featured on the front cover of this month’s issue) took home a trophy, $1,000 in cash and many other prizes all courtesy of Big Shots Sponsors: 3M, AkzoNobel, Anson PDR, LLC, Car-O-Liner SW, CCC Information Systems, Keco Body Repair Products, Norton/Saint Gobain, Polyvance, Solidus and Sherwin-Williams.
First Place: Tony Rios
Second Place: Luis Ruiz
Third Place: Levon Homer
First Place: Davis Richards
Second Place: TC Traweek
Third Place: Garrett Beard
First Place: Henry Vasquez
Second Place: Antonio Oviedo
Third Place: Cesar Jiminez
Auto Body Tech
First Place: Joshua Turnipseed
Second Place: Robert Axley
Third Place: Joshua Valle
Exhibitors lined every aisle with equipment to showcase and/or demonstrate, while other vendors had vital resources and valuable services to canvas to the repairers who walked the floor.
For Diamond/Car Show Sponsor English Color & Supply, the show provided the paint and equipment distributor the opportunity to showcase their mobile training unit right on the show floor. Attendees were able to tour the unit and learn about the benefits of having a training center come to the shop.
“It has everything you need,” shared James Tucker of English Color & Supply. “We show up, and we are ready to go. The mobile training unit gives us the ability to certify painters in their shop, which we have the right to do through BASF. The painters leave with the certifications they need. It’s been really working out well for us.
Sam Egan of Platinum sponsor VSSTA sang the praises of this year’s show, calling special attention to how well organized and put together the event is for exhibitors wanting to reach a large amount of potential customers. “We want to talk to as many people as we can and then let them know about our product, explain how it benefits them, how it can make them money and protect their liability,” he explained.
“It’s been a great experience as it always has been,” commented Jason Wall, District Sales Leader for AkzoNobel. “The show continues to drive more and more members throughout the state. Our attendance has been up, and we enjoy being a sponsor for the Big Shots Competition. Our activity in the booth and our customer engagement continues to grow. All the resources that this show brings provide tremendous value to our customers’ training needs, from a profitability standpoint. We are happy to support that because we have a lot of common interests. At the end of the day, it’s making better, more profitable repairs for our customers and making the industry better as a whole.”
“It’s a good show to attend as it allows us to meet up with our local customers; I say ‘local’ because we ship everywhere,” said Ruston Blanchard of FindPigtails.com, another returning exhibitor. “It’s always good to put a face to the name, and that’s a huge part of it.”
Tommy Ames of Gold Sponsor 1 Source ADAS and Auto E Solutions is a member of and a big supporter of ABAT and their show. Ames, who grew up in the industry, stressed how he appreciates ABAT’s goals and what they are trying to do to support body shops in the Lone Star state. “I think the best thing about the show is the networking that you get with all the different people from all over who have different ideas and different ways of doing things. We are all trying to accomplish the same goal. It’s a collision industry based organization catering to the collision industry, and it’s a good avenue for us.”
A regular exhibitor for years, USI North America returned to showcase their innovative spray booth solutions.
“The show grows every year,” observed National Sales Manager Stefano Moretto. “We’ve been one of the companies who have been coming to support the show since the very beginning. We see more people each year and always encounter customers who are interested in our products.”
PPG’s Tim Pearce sees the show as a great opportunity “to give back to the industry and be here for the new technicians coming up to show them the latest technology.”
He noted the great turnout and activity on the trade show floor. “We’ve had a lot of interest and questions about technology. That’s one of the things we have to focus on now. Technology changes pretty fast and you have to stay on top of it.”
“It’s a great opportunity to see our existing customers who we don’t get to see a lot of in between the shows, as well as having the chance to meet new prospects who are looking to purchase paint booths and to see how the industry is growing,” relayed Chris Curran of Eco-Tech Systems, distributor of Accudraft paint booths. “It’s been a great show. I’d say traffic on Friday was double than it was in the past, and Saturday was great too. I am already looking forward to next year.”
“Today was a really good day,” reported Chad Neal of Happy Hour Sponsor Innovative Collision Equipment on the second day of the event. “I’ve been introducing new products, and the show is a good way to get your name out there.”
“It’s been a good turnout for vendors and shops,” said Jeff Frye of Diamond Sponsor BASF, which has been participating with the Texas Auto Body Trade Show since it first began. They come back year after year as the show provides them a chance to “visit with a lot of our existing customers and to meet shop owners who we don’t currently sell to. We get to interact with a lot of people in the industry.”
“We enjoy seeing our friends and customers at this event,” expressed Kayla Hughs of Car-o-Liner SW. “ We met shop owners with their families and/or work team. We got to hear insight and experiences from shops all over the Southwest. Jill and the ABAT team have done an excellent job, as always, pulling everyone together to learn, converse and unite. We had a great experience and look forward to seeing what’s next! “
Want more? Check out the September 2023 issue of Texas Automotive!