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AASA Vision Conference to Hold OptiCat Panel, Roundtable Discussion to Provide Opportunity for Feedback

The AASA Vision Conference panel discussion, “OptiCat: A Supplier-Driven Catalog Model,” is scheduled for Wednesday, March 17, at the InterContinental O’Hare, Rosemont, Ill.


RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Participants in the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) Vision Conference 2010 – set for Wednesday, March 17, at the InterContinental O’Hare, Rosemont, Ill. – will have unique opportunities to learn more about OptiCat, the automotive aftermarket’s first supplier-owned electronic parts catalog data aggregator, and to help shape the future of this supplier-driven e-catalog model.
“Aftermarket suppliers are the majority stockholders in OptiCat since the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) is now a major shareholder,” said Steve Handschuh, president and COO of AASA. “As the aftermarket suppliers’ association and as part of its duties managing MEMA’s share, AASA clearly has an important role to help drive a more efficient data collection and delivery model, one which also protects members’ data intellectual property. AASA will gather member feedback at the upcoming Vision Conference to help drive this important technology initiative,” he said.
The AASA Vision Conference panel discussion, “OptiCat: A Supplier-Driven Catalog Model,” is scheduled for Wednesday, March 17, at the InterContinental O’Hare, Rosemont, Ill.
Chris Gardner, AASA vice president, will moderate the panel, which will include:
• Jay Burkhart, senior vice president, global aftermarket, Federal-Mogul
• Brad Duncan, general manager, OptiCat
• Dennis Welvaert, president, N A Aftermarket Division Mark IV Automotive, Dayco Products LLC
• Keith Wilson, president, Affinia Global Filtration, Affinia Group
• Uli Zehnpfenning, CEO, TecDoc
Following the AASA Vision Conference, the AASA Marketing Executives Council (MEC) and the MEMA Technology Council (MTC) will hold an OptiCat demonstration and roundtable discussion from 10 – 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 18, at the InterContinental O’Hare.
This session is open to all AASA Vision Conference attendees that are manufacturers (suppliers). Seating is limited and RSVP is required to attend: contact Jack Cameron ([email protected]) or Chris Gardner ([email protected]).
The OptiCat demonstration will begin at 10 a.m. An open discussion will follow, allowing participants to provide input and direction to OptiCat’s leaders.
Other AASA Vision Conference 2010 presentations will include:
• Mark Saxonberg, manager – environment, health, safety and service support, industry and government relations at Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc.
• Sales Force panel discussion, “What Channel Partners Expect:” Moderator – Jack Cameron, AASA vice president; panelists – David Barbeau, Delphi Product & Service Solutions; Jeff Brekke, The Gates Corp.; Tim Lee, Lang Distributing; Bill Maggs; National Pronto Association; Roger McCollum, N.A. Williams Co.;
• Customer presentation: Larry Magee, chairman, CEO and president of Bridgestone Retail Operations LLC and executive vice president of Bridgestone Americas Inc. (BSAM), the largest network of company-owned automotive service providers in the world — more than 2,100 tire and vehicle service centers across the United States — including Firestone Complete Auto Care, Tires Plus, ExpertTire and Wheel Works store locations;
• Keynote Presentation, Economic Outlook: Eric Hurst, Ph.D., professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business;
• “Driving Business Success in these Dynamic Times:” Mike Hanley, global automotive leader, Ernst & Young;
• Government affairs discussion led by Ann Wilson, senior vice president of government affairs, Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA);
• “Your Association at Work:” AASA council update presented by Jeremy Denton, director, AASA; and
• “Member Spotlights,” featuring "Taking Advantage of Megatrends," George Dunham, CARDONE Industries Inc.; and "Creative Training Programs," Barry Harris, The Timken Co.
AASA Vision Conference 2010, exclusive to AASA member companies, will kick-off with a welcome reception on the evening of Tuesday, March 16, following meetings of the AASA Board of Governors and AASA councils. The Vision program will begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning, March 17 and will conclude at approximately 5 p.m. with a networking reception. Additional AASA council meetings are scheduled for Thursday, March 18, at the InterContinental following the conference.
Attendees can earn 0.6 University of the Aftermarket CEUs at the AASA Vision Conference 2010. More details are available by clicking here.
Ernst & Young is the AASA Vision Conference 2010 premier sponsor. Elite sponsors to date include Babcox Publications, GCommerce and R.L. Polk.

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The agenda, registration and hotel information are available at the AASA Vision Conference Web site,