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R. L. Polk & Co.’s Ask the Industry Walks the AAPEX Show Floor

This year, more than 2,050 aftermarket companies made their way to Las Vegas to exhibit their wares and promote their businesses at AAPEX 2005. From booth visits and one-on-one meetings with vendors, to seminars, conferences and cocktail receptions, there were countless ways to spend one’s time at AAPEX. We asked a few of this year’s attendees what the highlight of AAPEX 2005 was for them.

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Posted: Nov. 7, 2005, 11 a.m., EST

This year, more than 2,050 aftermarket companies made their way to Las Vegas to exhibit their wares and promote their businesses at AAPEX 2005. From booth visits and one-on-one meetings with vendors, to seminars, conferences and cocktail receptions, there are countless ways to spend one’s time at AAPEX. We asked a few of this year’s attendees what the highlight of AAPEX 2005 was for them.

Tom Aliotti, Vice President and General Manager, Automotive Group, Activant Solutions, Inc., Livermore, CA:

For me, I’m here to get to know my customers and partners. I just joined the company in June so it is important for me to do that. I can’t absolutely see every one of them, but here I have an opportunity to meet a lot of people in a short amount of time and really be close to our customers.

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Roger McCollum, President, N.A. Williams Company, Atlanta, GA:

AAPEX coupled with SEMA and AWDA is always a positive experience for us at N.A. Williams. It’s a long week, but all of our major customers and manufacturers attend every year and it gives us a chance to understand their priorities and objectives for the upcoming year. That’s really crucial because it’s our job to help accomplish those objectives and that’s the reason we bring all our major account managers and key support people to the show. We also try to bring our new people to the show because it gives them a great overview of the aftermarket. AAPEX is extremely important to N.A. Williams because our business is all about relationships and there is no other way we could see as many of our customers and manufacturers at one time and in one place.

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John “Max” McGowan, President, Maximum Marketing Services, Inc., Chicago:

For me, the highlight of the AAPEX show is simple. On Tuesday, at the annual Women’s Board and Automotive Communications Awards reception, my partner Jennifer Tio was named Aftermarket Woman of the Year. Everyone at Maximum Marketing is extremely proud of Jennifer and her award. Our agency has specialized in the aftermarket since 1981 and this is definitely the highlight.

Eric Sills, Director of Headquarter Operations, Standard Motor Products, New York:

The show is very multi-faceted and it’s an opportunity to be with our customers, as well as an opportunity to gain an understanding what our competitors are doing and also look for possible suppliers. Everything is in one place, so you get a lot accomplished in a short period of time.

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We also participate in the AWDA meetings. We had many meetings Sunday and Monday at AWDA. That has a very different purpose than AAPEX, obviously. While a lot of our customers have banded together as a group, we meet with them frequently anyway. But this is still a good opportunity to hear what they have to say. Talking to them one after the other, you begin to pick up on themes and ideas that you don’t necessarily get in another type of setting.

Summary by Amy Antenora, managing editor:

For one week every November, Las Vegas is transformed into a veritable one-stop-shop for all things aftermarket. More than 2,050 aftermarket companies exhibited at AAPEX this year, continuing the show’s sold out status. Yet for all the glossy, well-lit displays and clever promotional materials it seems that this annual aftermarket gathering has one very substantial appeal that supersedes all that – the chance to make face-to-face contact with good clients and potential future customers. The show’s continued success and sold-out status are proof of that.

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