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Monday, July 09, 2007 

Vol. 3 No. 12

The 2007 National Vehicle Leasing Association Annual Conference, Exposition & Auto Show, Las Vegas, June 6-9

From the Looks of this Conference both the NVLA and its Members are on a Serious Upswing…

Although my trip this year to Vegas for the Natinal Vehicle Leasing Assocation Convention was unexpectedly cut a bit short (remember, my Vegas trip this time started at the Car Rental Show, which began three days before the NVLA convention), it also turned out to be one of the best annual conventions I remember NVLA ever having conducted. Now I’m not just saying that because this annual NVLA event was the first one ever held in Las Vegas, my favorite convention city, as the four day program was jam packed with the best collection of seminars, presentations and networking/social events I can remember. My hat goes off to my old friend, Tarry Shebesta of LeaseCompare.com, and Mike Wood, the conference Co-Chairman for producing a truly outstanding and memorable convention at the fabulous Venetian on the Las Vegas strip, in this, NVLA’s 29th anniversary. It should be noted also that Tarry, at the commencement of this convention, was inaugurated President of NVLA, and everyone that has known Tarry for even a short time knows that this honor is both well deserved and, as I see it, a great benefit to NVLA. He is a gifted visionary and spokesman for the leasing industry.

As to the networking/social events, given the venue (the conference was held at the fabulous Venetian), they were absolutely first rate. The first day kicked off with golf at the Bali Hai Gold Course adjacent to the Las Vegas Strip, sponsored by Network. It was followed on day three with a dinner event sponsored by Daimler Chrysler, that featured the unique Bob Arno, a professional comedian and pickpocket (someone might say this might be more appropriate for a group of car dealers…but I certainly wouldn’t say it). This was followed the next day by a dinner sponsored by GM, and then Cirque du Soleil’s Mystere show. Throw in a few lunches on the exhibit floor, and this ensured lots of catching up with old friends in the business.

The seminars were also first rate, kicking off on the first day with Tarry’s own presentation, “Maximizing Your Presence on the Web” and a three hour time management presentation by the Franklin Covey/Franklin Planner folks. On a personal note, I think the Franklin Covey workshop (scaled down from their full day event), is still one of the best time organizing seminars out there, and a must for anyone who needs to organize their day. Believe it or not, we devoted half a day (of a two and half day program) to the Franklin folks way back, over ten years ago in the original Ford Mainstreet program, the small fleet sales dealer training seminar I used to conduct…we even gave out “Mainstreet” versions of Franklin Planners we thought it was such valuable program.

Throughout the four days there were seminars entitled, “Selling Cars Online: Easy as 1,2,3,” “Deciphering Credit Reports and FICO Scores,” and “Vehicle Reconditioning and Remarketing” (my favorite topic), to name just a few. There were also presentations specifically geared for consumer lessors (“Consumer Lessor Roundtable”), and small commercial lessors (“Commercial/Fleet Lessors Roundtable,” “Medium Duty Trucks: Spec’ing Bailment Pools, Body Installation and Upfitting”).

To sum it up, without taking anything away from the other annual NVLA conventions I’ve attended in the past (note: I don’t go quite as far back as 1968 when the organization was created, but, I didn’t just start yesterday either), I think this was the best, most information packed, most well planned NVLA Convention I have ever attended. As (bad) luck would have it though, I was called away far too early and missed a good deal of the program. These are busy times for us here at Driveitaway.com and Carliquidators.com. And leaving Vegas early in general is usually difficult for me, but leaving a fantastic convention and some great car folks in Vegas early, well, let’s just say it’s not something I want to make a habit of…

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