Tradeshow season normally occurs early in the year, but Axalta hosted their annual Axalta Joint Symposium this year in July at the beautiful Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, CA. Partnering with Mike Anderson of Collision Advice, the convention consisted of a three-day symposium that brought together the leading independent body shops with the OEM factories and the largest insurers.

Our first day featured presentations from Nissan, GM, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Volvo, Toyota, Subaru, and BMW to close out the day. Mike Anderson began the day by hosting a lively session opener, welcoming all the shops, and introducing the keynote speaker Joie Chitwood, President of the International Speedway Group. Chitwood shared stories from his days as a live show stunt man, and how it applies to his position as President of the Indianapolis Speedways.

The second day introduced industry insurance companies to the independent shops. All State opened by asking shops what they would like to see from the insurance companies. A panel then followed All State that consisted of State Farm, Farmers, USAA, Liberty Mutual, and Progressive. The panel specifically focused on then spoke about the cyber threats facing the shops today. In the audience, ten body shop owners shared their hacking experiences and how they paid the ransom fees in Bitcoin in order to get back to work. It was an eye-opening discussion, much needed in our technologically advancing repair industry.

Finally, day three served as a time for vendors to network with attendees. As a representative of Garmat USA, we at Rely On Technologies made a pitch to larger audiences about the importance of proper install practices and “re-powering” of existing equipment to meet the OEM factory requirements of becoming an “approved” shop.

Rely On Technologies always pushed the importance of growing your business by becoming an OEM Approved shop as well as an I-Car Gold Shop. We thank Axalta Coatings and Mike Anderson for inviting us as an approved partner for all the good they are continually doing for the industry. Cheers to another successful tradeshow!