The blog entry below was written while our organization was operating as ASA-Midwest. Effective September 14, 2018, ASA-Midwest became the Midwest Auto Care Alliance.

VISION has come and gone, and thoughts have been swirling around in my head about how many people helped make it a success, what a great turnout we had, the many new people I met and the old friends I was able to see again, and so much more. Keep reading, and maybe you will see a personal back story you did not know.

First, no matter how much I try, I get emotional when I speak publicly about people or things that I am really passionate about. It has caused me untold embarrassment over the years. Way, way back when my good friend Doug Stoll and I started VISION, we found out that both of us had the same problem, and we had flip a coin to see which of us had to speak. I have been through the Dale Carnegie course and have even gone back for extra help, but if I get up in front of a close group and try to thank them, my voice will crack and my eyes might tear up, and I have to stop. We had a post-VISION dinner for the VISION committee and staff, and even with these people I love, I couldn’t complete a toast to the success of VISION 2018. Here is my chance to personally acknowledge those that made VISION the success that it was.

I want to thank all of the wonderful volunteers, without which VISION would never be as successful. They are the backbone of our group. This includes the VISION co-chairs Ron Haugen and Joe Sevart keeping track of everything happening for the entire weekend. This was Joe’s first year as co-chair, and he really jumped in and helped. There’s not a lot I need to say about Ron. He is the ultimate professional, whether planning, executing, instructing, or relaxing. If you were at the Celebration of Independents comedy night, you know “Chia” can even deal with his head being in a leg lock from a guy getting on a unicycle.

Thanks to the ASA Midwest board including Summer Guerrero, who, with husband Mark, manned the ASA booth for hours upon hours. Summer then went onstage early Sunday morning as one of the panelists in the discussion about “The Shop of the Future”.

James Copeland, who I think has held every ASA chapter officer position, every affiliate officer position, and chaired VISION for more years than I can remember, told me he was excited to be able to attend classes for the first time in 11 years. The next thing I know, James is helping Sheri with the exhibitor sign-up for next year. Even not feeling well, James was also there Sunday afternoon carrying box after box to the trailer as we tore down the registration area and office. Thank you James!

Our instructors are the best of the best. To help us ensure we always have the best, be sure to complete the survey that Sheri emailed a link to on Sunday night. Many of the instructors develop new material especially for VISION, so we can remain on the top. Mark Warren heads up the Worldpac Training Institute which sponsors many of our top management and technical instructors. Mark has been a friend of VISION and a friend of mine for years. One night over in the Sheraton bar, he let me know he had a heart attack in January. They put in a couple of stents and he was back at work on no time. Bless you my friend, and thank you for all you have done to make VISION successful over the years.

I assume that most of you heard that Jim Morton was unable to teach this year because of medical issues. Jim is one of VISION’s best fans and instructors, and when he knew he could not be here, he went ahead and arranged for Rick Escalambre and Eric Ziegler to take over his classes. What a class guy!

The exhibitors and sponsors make the event possible financially, and give us a chance to see all of the new tools, equipment, software, services, and anything else we need to keep up with technology. Thank you all for being here this year.

Our speakers give us motivation and information crucial to our success. Chris Chesney spoke several times, giving information that should help each of us plan for the future. Congratulations on the President’s Award, Chris. Jon Gordon did an outstanding job Saturday morning. And Carm Capriotto had multiple interviews through the show that will be on his podcasts at Carm also facilitated our panel discussion on Sunday morning, and he and the panelists knocked it out of the park. I was able to spend an hour shooting the breeze with Carm and he knows more about the aftermarket than most people who claim to know everything. Thanks, Carm, for all you did for VISION this year.

The attendees are a huge part of VISION’s success. With over 500 first-time attendees, we saw a big jump in registration. Technical or management, there were thousands of people taking a weekend off to improve their skills. You are the cream of the crop and should be proud of yourselves.

Finally, I want to thank the staff. Bob kept all of the electronic devices communicating all week long, and was there to solve any problems with the registration software. He also helped keep the volunteers on track. Raschell handled the Silent Auction while managing several other programs, and was still able to dress up like a bacon strip. Nice job, sweetie. Heather took on a lot more responsibility this year, becoming indispensable to Sheri. Keep up the fantastic work, Heather. You rock!

On Saturday morning, I spoke of how VISION was my baby, and how after the first few years Sheri had come in, nurtured it, grown it, and brought it to where it is today. Later that afternoon, we were discussing something unplanned that had occurred, (as happens every year) and Sheri said “VISION is my baby too, and I am not letting anything happen to it.” That pretty much says how she feels about VISION. I feel so fortunate to be able to work with Sheri throughout the year, both on VISION and on ASA-Midwest. When I need information, it’s always there. When she needs me to help her with a decision, she gives me some choices to help save me time. As I stated last year, “Sheri strives for perfection and will only accept excellence.” This is one of the reasons for her success. Another is her creativity. She constantly calls or emails me with a new idea to help this or to improve that. If you have ever seen her supervise the wait staff while getting ready to serve 1500+ breakfasts, you know she has fantastic people management skills. As you can see, Sheri has certainly made VISION her baby too. To her I say “Thank you so much my wonderful friend. You are a remarkable part of my life.”

President of MWACA
Owner of S&S Service Center