Auto Service World
Feature   February 1, 2004   by Auto Service World

AIA Update: Events to Have More of a Jobber Focus

The Automotive Industries Associ-ation of Canada is aggressively pursuing a new slate of events in the coming year, and has made the needs of the jobber membership the primary focus.

“Jobbers are the heart of AIA,” says AIA chairman of the board Ken Coulter. “Over the years, AIA saw less and less jobber participation at events, so we decided it was time for a change.” AIA’s new AIA Events Schedule now includes two Annual Regional Conferences that will address jobbers’ needs, as well as a number of Young Executive Society Events (YES).

AIA surveyed members extensively, and spoke with them one-on-one. The tremendously successful Red Deer Regional Conference in Alberta in June 2003 is the basis for the two regional conferences.

“Regional conferences are designed specifically with jobbers in mind,” says Ken Coulter. “A regional conference features business sessions, networking opportunities, and affordable pricing–that was a very important element.” The format for regional conferences will be a one-day business conference, featuring a variety of business speakers, as well as a one-day optional golf/networking and fun-night activity. Two regional conferences will be held each year, one in eastern Canada and one in western Canada. “Our hope is to bring the AIA to jobber members at the grassroots and local level.”

The regional conferences will be hosted in partnership with the AIA divisions, and will rotate locations. The first Regional Conference will be held June 2 and 3, 2004 in Clear Lake, Man., with the theme “Clear Roads to Success.”

“We are very excited to be able to host this event,” says Brent Karr, the chair of the Manitoba Regional Conference Working Group. “In addition to Manitoba jobbers, with the great location of Clear Lake we are anticipating strong jobber support from Saskatchewan at the conference as well.”

The second conference will be held in eastern Ontario. The eastern conference will be held in Gananoque, Ont., on September 30 and October 1st.

The traditional AIA Convention will be replaced with an Aftermarket Conference for Executives on May 5 and 6 in Mont Tremblant, Quebec. AIA has invited Quebec Premier Jean Charest to be a keynote speaker. AIA has confirmed the following speakers: US Ambassador to Canada Paul Celluci will speak on Managing the Canada / US Relationship; Ron Buist, inventor of the Tim Horton’s “Roll Up the Rim to Win” marketing campaign, will discuss Canadian culture; Michael Adams will look at demographics and the differences that we must be aware of between the Canadian and US consumer; and James McDonnell of Mathew Scott Marketing will present “Marketing in the Automotive Aftermarket for Today and Tomorrow.”

The Forum will continue to be held in November each year. “Over the years, more and more jobbers have participated at the forum and have found it to be a great resource for tracking industry trends,” says Coulter. The forum will be held on December 1, 2004, at the International Plaza Hotel. Again in 2004, AIA will encourage WDs and suppliers to invite jobbers to be their guests at the forum.

In 2003, a number of jobbers attended the AIA inaugural YES Canada Leadership Conference, which was rated by participants as a tremendous success. Even more jobbers are anticipated at the 2004 YES Leadership Conference on November 30, 2004. Jobbers are also expected to participate at the 2004 YES Roundtable on June 9, 2004, an opportunity to provide input to the association about issues impacting the industry. “It gives the young people in our industry a chance to have their voices heard,” says Coulter.

“Now, more than ever before, AIA has provided jobbers with excellent networking and learning opportunities. If you have never participated at an AIA event before, or even if you have, try us again. I am positive that if you attend an AIA event such as the regional conference in Clear Lake you will find it be very worthwhile, both in terms of your time and your money.”

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