VISION Hi-Tech 2017 is in the books and it’s back to work Monday. I had the good fortune of attending this year’s event and, wow, what a time it was. This is a premier training event in the Midwest. Even with over 2,000 technicians in attendance, I must wonder why more don’t participate. I guess maybe the vehicles in their area just don’t break — oh wait a minute they must break for them to have a job. So that’s not it. I say this in jest as I know there are several things that can affect someone traveling to Kansas City for this awesome event.
How Was It?
If someone were to ask me how the training was and if it was worth my time. I really don’t know how I would respond. This might make you think it was maybe overpriced or the training quality was subpar, but it was exactly the opposite. There really is not a word to explain it completely. It is something that is a great resource for the industry, and you must experience it to be able to understand. ASA Midwest with Sheri and her team provided a very well-oiled machine that brought some of the greatest trainers in the industry at reasonable cost.
I attended five different courses during my time at VISION. The two courses I attended on Friday were designed for the education community. The first one was directed by Don Sykora from Morton College. He brought a combination of experience and knowledge on how to involve more industry into your automotive program. During lunch, I participated in the educator’s exchange panel themed “Making It Happen”. I was very humbled to be a part of this very distinguished group of panelists. I believe everyone on that panel shared a common goal to revitalize this industry in a way that creates a more skilled workforce. After lunch, Dave Hobbs from Delphi highlighted some of the upcoming telematics technology to a large group of educators.
Not only does VISION bring some of the best trainers in the industry to Kansas City, but also some of the biggest supporters of training bring their products to the VISION EXPO. The EXPO is held in conjunction with the training event and continues to grow every year. While walking through the EXPO and looking at all the new products, I was amazed at the many organizations that are offering scholarships for tomorrow’s technicians and are working their way through the educational institutes. I believe this is a very positive sign of how the industry is investing in the future technician. I always like to see how the tool manufacturers bring new versions of old tools to the industry. You might think a 3/8 impact gun will always be the same, but I am here to tell you they continue to change. It’s that way with most any tool you can think of. Diagnostic equipment was at table after table, wow! Some of the vendor booths were so popular they were inaccessible without waiting in line. AESwave was one of those booths that the crowd never seemed to disappear from during both days of the EXPO.
Saturday morning opened with endless bacon as part of a great breakfast. The morning’s general session highlighted some of the plans of the future of ASA Midwest. A very deserved gift of appreciation was given to Sheri Hamilton for her tireless work in making the VISION event better and better every year. Keynote speaker Scott McKain discussed how to provide the “The Ultimate Customer Experience”. He brought up some key points that I hope those in attendance take back and use in their organization. I was fortunate to be able to attend a course presented by Jim Morton. His classroom was packed with technicians waiting to hear his wisdom. After lunch, I joined in on a course lead by Mohammad Samii (Sammy) that provided some great insight on advanced starting and charging systems. Saturday left me with so much new information that thankfully I had the course materials to refresh my memory.
Sunday Wrap Up
Again, those in attendance were served a great breakfast along with a very timely keynote presentation from Chris Chesney of CTI. Chris touched on key points that the industry needs to move forward with. His main topic focused on the shortage of trained technicians and why young people don’t stay in the industry. Then for me, it was onto a course about fuel trim and how to analyze what it’s telling you. Jean-Luc Sauriol from ALLDATA presented this information in a very precise way that was extremely informative.
Headed Home and Reflect
With the truck loaded as I made my way back across I70 towards Illinois, I had plenty of time to think about all that VISION Hi-Tech is to the industry and the role it plays in the future. First let’s look at the numbers. With over 3,500 service professionals in attendance, not including vendors and instructors, can create a better industry of professionals. Obviously, I have only talked about the courses I took while in Kansas City, however there were so many more offerings from hands on with live vehicles to management training and educator courses. The quality and amount of courses they offered was amazing. How do you put a price on the ability to personally talk with some of the leading trainers in the industry? This was the 25th year for Vision Hi-Tech. Sheri and her staff did an outstanding job. I have to ask, could it be better? The answer is yes but not when it comes to the offering of training. The only way it could be better is if more technicians, counter people, educators and manufacturer/vendors were able to take part in this great opportunity to better themselves and the industry. Well, maybe two days of endless bacon instead of just one wouldn’t hurt either.
Written By: Richard Young