While the dust has settled on yet another AAPEX in Las Vegas
(my 40th to be exact), the buzz about the show and events
surrounding it has not diminished.
I continue to receive calls and emails from members and
other industry executives who participated in AAPEX as exhibitors, buyers or
observers. Without exception, the feedback has been positive, whether the topic
is about the quality and the amount of traffic at the booths or the crowds at special
events, networking receptions and education sessions.
Especially encouraging were the comments about the new
general session on Wednesday morning with Steve Forbes, which replaced our traditional
Town Hall breakfast. Indeed timing is everything, so Steve’s humorous and
insightful commentary on the mid-term elections the day before, along with his
candid outlook on the economy, were well received by the 1200 attendees.
Let me share some numbers to reinforce my bullish
perspective on this year’s AAPEX.
The number of domestic buyers was up more than 2,000 from
last year for a total of 46,267 for SEMA and AAPEX. We reported an increase in
international buyers as well with 15,243. Exhibitors and buyers attended from
141 foreign countries.
AAPEX exhibitors totaled 2,364 with 5,343 booths. This year
we saw 580 new exhibitors.
Education and professional development continued to expand
this year with 3,348 industry professionals attending 50 sessions offered through
Our association member center in the Sands provided a venue
for 110 individual meetings by our members.
AWDA facilitated nearly 2,000 one-on-one meetings between
250 vendor and buyer teams.
The number of repair shop owners increased by nearly 12
percent as a result of focused marketing.
I could go on and on about the hundreds of other meetings
and receptions and events that comprised the 2014 AAPEX experience, but I will
spare you. We rocked it!