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AASA Vision Conference to Address Member Needs in the New Economy, ‘Weathering the Storm: Trends, Insights and Opportunities’

The 2009 conference will address today’s challenging market, according to Steve Handschuh, president and COO of AASA.

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – The upcoming Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) Vision Conference 2009 will assist members in meeting the challenges of the current economic climate and the opportunities it creates. The event is slated for 11 a.m. until 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18, at the InterContinental O’Hare in Rosemont, Ill., a suburb of Chicago.

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The 2009 conference theme — “Weathering the Storm: Trends, Insights and Opportunities” – and the event speaker line-up will address today’s challenging market, according to Steve Handschuh, president and COO of AASA.

“We have focused our 2009 Vision Conference agenda on the keynote presentations and valuable reports which will help our members, the North American automotive aftermarket suppliers, to ‘weather the storm’ and to be in position to take advantage of opportunities in the global marketplace,” Handschuh explained. “We also have adjusted the conference start and end times to allow members to fly in for the day to attend, saving both travel expenses and time out of the office,” he noted.

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AASA Vision Conference attendees can earn 0.6 University of the Aftermarket CEUs. The agenda and registration information is available at the AASA Vision Conference website, www.aasavision.org.

AASA Vision Conference 2009 presentations will include:
• Aftermarket Outlook: Vision Conference attendees will be the first to hear results from the ground-breaking study recently completed by McKinsey & Co.: “The Future of the U.S. Automotive Aftermarket,” presented by Jon Vander Ark, principal

• Economic Outlook: Dr. Martin Regalia, the chief economist of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will review the international economic outlook and will examine a wide range of economic drivers affecting the automotive aftermarket industry in the coming years. Mike Hanley of Ernst & Young, the Vision Conference Premier Sponsor, will address, “Thriving in an Economic Downturn.”

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• Energy Outlook: Christopher Guith, a senior leader from the Institute for 21st Century Energy, will address the Institute’s energy policies and initiatives in the new environment in Washington, D.C., and the state governments.

• Customer Outlook: Todd Hack of CARQUEST and Greg Henslee of O’Reilly will look at the aftermarket’s future from their unique perspectives at two of the largest and most successful aftermarket distributors.

The 2009 Vision Conference will open at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 18, with the annual AASA Membership Meeting reports. In addition to the Chairman’s Report by Peter Morse, AASA chairman and president of Morse Calipers Inc., the membership presentations will include:

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• Affecting Change in Washington: Ann Wilson, senior vice president of government affairs for AASA will help attendees understand the unprecedented number of issues now under discussion in Washington that directly impact the aftermarket and tell attendees how they can get involved to make the aftermarket’s voice heard.

• NA Supplier Image: Regaining Balance in the Aftermarket: Jack Cameron, group executive of the AASA Marketing Executives Council (MEC), will discuss a new report from the MEC’s series of focus groups with professional technicians to determine their opinions about aftermarket suppliers’ and manufacturers’ support.

• Exporting in the New Global Economy: Richard Mezadurian, chairman of the AASA Overseas Automotive Council (OAC) and president of Falcon Steering, will give an overview of the global aftermarket and exporting opportunities.

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The conference will conclude with a networking reception at 5:15 p.m. on March 18.

Members planning to arrive on Tuesday, March 17, for the AASA Vision Conference 2009 are reminded that the association special room rate and reserved room block expires on Friday, Feb. 27. After that date, room availability at the InterContinental O’Hare may be limited.

Ernst & Young is the AASA Vision Conference 2009 premier sponsor. ABeam Consulting (USA) is the conference elite sponsor.

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