When All the News is New
By Travis Rains
Believe it or not, my first trip to San Antonio was overshadowed by my first trip to Auto Glass Week™ (AGW). Even with all the historic city had to offer, I found myself drawn to the Henry B. González Convention Center over all else. Perhaps that’s because I have only been in the industry some seven months and was excited to learn more about auto glass repair and replacement, and the men and women with boots on the ground.
For me, the three days comprising Auto Glass Week™ were compacted into only two days, as I had to jump on a plane in the early hours of Friday to attend a wedding back home.
When I arrived in Ohio after AGW, all of my friends wanted to know about my new job at Key Media & Research, and Auto Glass Repair and Replacement (AGRR™) magazine. Of course, I led with the fact that I just finished my first trip to AGW in San Antonio. Their responses included sarcastic remarks such as “Oh, sounds exciting,” and “I bet you miss writing about the courts,” referring to my previous employment at a local newspaper in Arizona.
I have to say, after only one AGW, I was incredibly insulted that my friends weren’t as excited about AGW as I was. “No, you don’t understand,” I told them before describing what the experience was like for me, a newcomer to the industry.
While the first thing I noticed about AGW was the sheer number of participants, I was quickly blown away by something else. From the exhibitors to attendees and competitors, the show floor was packed with information. Everyone with whom I spoke offered not only detailed information on their own companies but the industry as a whole.
And, if I required additional information, the representatives were not only willing but excited to tell me more. Coming from an industry where follow-up questions are often dreaded by the interviewee, this was incredibly refreshing. In my mind, it speaks to the direction of the AGRR industry as a whole. AGRR professionals, like those at AGW, are not in this industry because they are out of options; they are genuinely excited about the services they offer and the associated advancements in their field.
My friends seemingly had the impression that this was an event executives forced their people to attend. Nothing seemed farther from the truth. People were there because they wanted to be there. That sentiment also extended beyond the show floor.
In the mornings and early afternoons, attendees did everything they could to get to as many seminars as possible. They wanted to attend not only because they paid to attend, but because they knew they’d walk away with information to improve their businesses and services.
I also had the chance to meet with some of the contacts with whom I’ve worked over the last several months. It was nice putting faces to names and I look forward to building on those relationships.
AGW was a true eye-opener for someone new to the industry. I’m excited to learn more next year and then again the year after that. I have been told that education is constant in this industry, and after just one AGW experience, I know it to be true.
Travis Rains is the assistant editor of AGRR™ magazine/glassBYTES.com.
To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.