SAN ANTONIO – Amid a three-day forum packed with classes, workshops, speakers, and more, the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, Inc. invited a senator to address the 125 shareholder attendees at its annual Sales & Marketing Forum in San Antonio.
Sen. Donna Campbell of Texas’s 125th district invigorated Alliance members to fight for their industry’s rights in a rousing speech Friday morning. Campbell reassured the crowd that their goals – ensuring technicians have a right to repair and vehicle owners have access to their vehicle data – are critically important, and she offered tips on getting other politicians on board.
“If it is to be, it is up to us,” she said, motivating Alliance membership to make their voices heard.
Her address was part of the Alliance’s ongoing effort to take a stand on the political challenges facing the industry. In April 2021, the program group will take 1,500 people to Washington, D.C. to meet with congressmen and to make a statement at its Alliance Takes the Hill Convention.
“We can’t wait 10 or 20 years for the next generation to start fighting these issues,” said JC Washbish, vice president of sales and marketing for the Alliance. “We have to take action today, so that 10 or 20 years down the road we’ll still be able to do our jobs.”
The senator’s address closed out the Alliance’s meeting, which officially ended Sept. 13 at 11 a.m. The two days of meetings preceding her speech included outside speakers, interactive activities, and other initiatives aimed at giving salesmen and marketers within the Alliance membership the tools they need to function as effectively as possible. Nearly 150 shareholder and channel partner attendees from across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Colombia were in attendance.
The meeting kicked off Wednesday afternoon with a 9/11 remembrance, an introduction from JC Washbish, and a State of the Alliance address from John R. Washbish, president and CEO of the Alliance.
Attendees also met with 26 marketing channel partners representing 18 different businesses, heard from Nathan Shipley, executive director of the NPD Group, on the state of the industry, and learned from their peers during Five for Five presentations, during which leading salesmen and marketers discussed some of their successful ideas and answered questions.
“What I appreciate about this event is the fact that people from all areas of the country and all areas of the world can get together and hash out what works for one of us versus what works for another,” said Melissa Howard, a member of the Sales & Marketing committee and marketing manager for Carparts Distribution Center. “It’s a great way for us all to come together and work toward the same goal of selling parts.”
Thursday morning was packed with nearly 20 different class offerings, including reputation management, constant curation, MyPlace4Parts, hosting an event, a deep dive into the Certified Service Center program, and many more.
Thursday afternoon, John R. Washbish inspired attendees to become leaders within their organizations, the Alliance Parts Warehouse (APW) taught attendees about their operations using an immersive Kahoot game, and the Alliance headquarters presented a rundown on their latest marketing initiatives. The group also enjoyed some additional one-on-one time with the channel partners during a table display show. They finished the evening with fajitas and margaritas at San Antonio’s renowned Mi Tierra & Panaderia.
Friday morning, attendees split into four different workshop groups to share ideas, challenges, and success stories. They then returned to the general session for the senator’s speech, an update on the Alliance Takes the Hill Convention, and closing remarks from JC Washbish.