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Tuesday, January 03, 2006 

Vol. 2 No. 1

Fleet Events 2006: Preview Part 1

Just as the last entry was a review, I thought I’d make this first entry of the new year a preview of what's “on the plate” for attendance over the next few months. Not to say there won’t be some surprises, as I always seem to forget some events until they sneak right up on me, but here's what the fleet-minded have in sight for the next six months:

January – As it turns out, since I’m so far behind in traveling to see specific clients and prospects, and there are no major events specifically related to our business, I’m going to miss two of my favorite new car shows. Usually, while I don’t attend both in the same year, each year I usually begin with either the North American International Car Show, Detroit, MI, this year January 14-15, or, alternately, the Los Angeles Auto Show, Los Angeles, CA, this year January 6-15. The Detroit show is quite an event, and, I think, still the largest new car show in North American with the most manufacturer “premiers..” The LA show has the advantage of being in southern California in January and the Asian imports usually show their new models or “concept cars”… Wish I could go to at least one, but schedules already conflict…I’m afraid this year I’ll have to make due with Chicago’s show, or New York’s in the Spring…as well, of course, with good old Philadelphia’s Auto Show coming up next month…

February – This year presents a schedule challenge as the Fleet News Europe Conference held in Brussels, Belgium, begins the night of the 7th and goes all day through the 8th of February, while the next JD Power International Roundtable Conference, the one that happens just before the gigantic National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention, starts the night of February 9th, in Orlando, Florida. While it's possible to make both, I can tell you from experience it’s a mad dash…

So I’ll definitely make the JD Power International Roundtable, the “State of the Industry,” February 9-10th this year, and, of course, the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention and Exposition right afterward, February 11-14th, both in Orlando, FL. But I can’t guarantee I’ll make the Fleet News Europe Brussels event this year (the appeal of sleeping in airports wore off a while ago…).

Once again, I have no good immediate business related reason to attend the Limousine & Chauffeured Transportation Show, February 26-28th put on by Bobit Business Media, except, of course, it's in Las Vegas again this year so I could easily do it as a stopover between an east coast/west cost trip, and this time it's at the Venetian and there are no conflicts on my calendar, and, and, and…(I do like Vegas, did I happen to mention that before?).

March - This month brings three events all folded into a few days at the same place, in this case, a kind of "remarketing convergence." Leading off is the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance (IARA) Roundtable meeting, March 8th, in conjunction with Bobit Media’s Conference of Automotive Remarketing (CAR), March 8th – 10th, in Las Vegas, at Caesar's Palace. Also, the newly formed Internet Remarketing Business Roundtable, a group of Internet focused car remarketing folks (yours truly is a founding member), is scheduled to have its first-ever introductory roundtable conference also during this time in coordination with CAR.

Towards the end of the month, it looks like Auto Remarketing is conducting for the first time a Used Car Manager Conference & Workshop, March 22-23, in Dearborn, MI. Now Dearborn’s weather is nowhere near as pleasant as the weather in Las Vegas is in March, but it looks like an interesting program so I’ll probably attend.

April – So far nothing scheduled for April, but it's usually one of those months that fills up quickly on its own…we shall see.

May – The National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA) Annual Conference and Exposition comes later this year, May 6-9, in Orlando, a short hop from the “happiest place on earth.” This is the largest annual forum focused solely on our core clients, thousands of commercial and municipal fleet administrators and the fleet management vendors who service them all in one place, so although in Mickey (and Marvel superhero) land, it promises to be three full days (and nights) of “day job” work, in conjunction with the festivities.

Also in May is AutoRemarketing’s annual I-Remarketing Conference, May 17-18th, in San Antonio, TX…haven’t missed one of these in a very long time, so I’ll be there again this year.

June – This is one of those months when I wish I could kind of split myself in two so that I could attend two things simultaneously. Typically, independent local commercial lessors wouldn’t care whether or not their annual National Vehicle Leasing Association (NVLA) Convention, May 7-10, this year in Grapevine (Dallas), TX, conflicted with the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA) Convention, May 6-10, in Las Vegas, NV. It affects us “dual discipline” types though – I have to decide where to put myself when. I’ll probably begin for a day or so at the dealer conference, as it starts one day before NVLA, and then spend the bulk of my time at the NVLA event (it’s the way it works out, and just so happens to give me the weekend in Vegas…).

A point of trivia to wrap up this six-month sojourn. It turns out that this year’s NVLA Convention is exactly the same place, same city, even the same hotel complex, as last year’s annual NAFA Convention, and, indeed, this year’s annual NAFA Conference is in Orlando, where NVLA held its annual event last year...In any case, if anyone reading this missive is in attendance at any of the events above (or if you want more information, just send me an e-mail), make sure to find me and say “hello” - to run into old friends and brand new ones as well, that’s why I write this, after all.

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