by Bob Beranek
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My wife and I just returned home from the 2013 Auto Glass Week™ in Tampa, Fla., and I must say that the experience was well worth the trip. I am so busy there that it can be difficult to find the time to see and share experiences with everyone I would like to visit. However, I did meet some new friends and touched base with many of my old ones.

This year again, I attended Auto Glass Safety Council™ meetings, gave seminars on Quality, Safety and Technician Training, judged the Auto Glass Technician Olympics and attended the trade show and events before, during and after the official start and end dates of the show. This work was made worthwhile by good times and renewed friendships.

Those of you that miss the national show are really doing yourself a disservice. Auto Glass Week is an event that should not be missed. If you want to be a successful business, if you want to be on the cutting edge of your industry, if you want to be informed of the newest and best products, services and tools, and if you want to be inspired and rejuvenated then this is the event you must insert into your calendar and budget.

Where else can you see, feel, smell and touch a tool or product before buying? Where else can you rub elbows with successful business owners world wide and get their ideas and stories of success?  Where else can you see the best of the best technicians perform in auto glass repair, tinting and replacement? Where else can you get professional help and information for the price of admission? And lastly, where else can you voice your concerns and ideas to the industry leaders that can get things done?

I hear and read complaints, concerns and topical issues every day in forums, articles and phone calls to my office. Many times unfortunately, not much can be done quickly and efficiently to solve these problems. Auto Glass Week gives us a “soapbox” on which to stand and voice our issues loudly and for all to hear. Why wouldn’t all of you come to be heard?

Auto Glass Week is scheduled in September for a reason. It can’t be held in the summer, it’s too busy. It can’t be held in early winter, too many holidays. It can’t be late winter; taxes are due and it’s too late to plan the year. It can’t be spring because we have to get ready for the summer rush. So, the dates are set after the Northern states’ busy season and before the next year’s budget planning. They are set at the end of the vacation season and the beginning of the school year to give you a reward for a year of hard work. It is set in early fall to take advantage of beautiful weather and affordable prices, just at the beginning of the resort’s off-season. The dates are set to coincide with the traditional automotive new-model introductions to spur discussion of what is to come. It is set during the week so those that wish to be home for the weekend can be but those that wish to make it part of a vacation can do that as well.

Yes, it can be expensive to attend some of these shows if you stay at the headquarters’ hotel and eat and drink on premises. If cost is an issue for you there are things you can do. Stay at less expensive nearby hotels. Eat at Joe’s Diner, McDonalds and the wings at the nearby sports bar. No one says you have to partake in the expensive environments unless you want to. Drive instead of fly and make it a road trip. Stop at the local supermarket instead of the expensive restaurants. The national trade show can be an experience that can be had on a budget if necessary but it should not be missed because of cost.

Auto Glass Week is the venue where professionals come to be successful. I urge you all to consider and budget for next year’s event. You will not be sorry.