AAPEX 2022: Tech, Tools, Innovation and WIAC
Nov. 3, 2022—Upon entering the 2022 Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo, it is immediatley apparent that many conversations about the current state of the aftermarket industry are happening simultaneously.
The annual event is being held this week from Nov. 1-3 at the Venetian Expo Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. On the second day of the event, a palpable energy could be felt in the air as attendees walked the trade show floor and scoped out the latest news from brands, associations, organizations and more.
An emphasis on tools and technology was seen throughout the expo, giving attendees an opportunity to learn more about the products and processes that they can implement to prepare for current and future shifts in the aftermarket.
For example, lithium-ion battery options were found on display throughout the trade show floor by multiple exhibitors. Lithium-ion has become a hot topic in recent news for the EV world, with some automakers jumping at the chance to form partnerships with battery suppliers and establish their own lithium-ion plants in the United States.
But the opportunities for lithium-ion power may be more than meets the eye. Yoshino Power showed off their solid-state portable lithium-ion battery at AAPEX, which could have multiple applications across the aftermarket industry and beyond. Some key components of this technology include being small and fast due to the solid-state component, which utilizes a solid electrolyte.
Solid-state innovation is just one component of the greater conversations that are being had at AAPEX. The message is clear that finding new opportunities and applications for technology are more prevalent now than ever before.
To exemplify this further, AAPEX featured a New Product Showcase that included various products relevant to new technology and EVs. Some of these relevant products were the Autel MaxiCHARGER Commercial Charger for Level 2 EV and plug-in hybrid vehicle charging, Electric Vehicle Charge Cables from WAIglobal, an EV Braking Kit from Brembo, the PulseQ charger and Augmented Reality Glasses from TOPDON and many more.
But staying current in the aftermarket goes beyond technology. A spotlight was also placed on the importance of women in this industry today. There was a strong presence felt from Women in Auto Care at AAPEX on November 2, which is the day that they hosted their annual awards ceremony.
Women in Auto Care is a community of the Auto Care Association, and has a mission of supporting and mentoring women across the auto care industry. The Women in Auto Care Awards Presentation at AAPEX served as an opportunity to further this mission and showcase the work being done by the group.
This year's ceremony attracted the largest audience it had ever seen, according to Jessica Toliuszis, who was the master of ceremonies. Toliuszis is with Highline Warren, and she is the chair of the Women in Auto Care executive committee. Attendees gathered for the ceremony at the AAPEX Stage located in second-story expo lobby.
Toliuszis encouraged audience members to resist being the pawn and to be the chess player instead, an analogy that lends itself well to the shifting automotive aftermarket landscape and relays the impact that each individual can have on the industry.
"I want everybody to feel engaged and empowered in our industry," Toliuszis said.
Toliuszis also shared that the WIAC conference will be held in Palm Springs, California, from February 27 to March 1, 2023. The excitement is building leading up to this event considering Women in Auto Care has celebrated some major achievements recently. This has included a $1 million milestone in overall award distribution, which was announced by the group in October and was recognized again during the ceremony.
The awards ceremony also provided stage time for many of the women who were recognized, including the following prestigious award winners:
- Woman of the Year: Kim Nolan, BBB Industries, LLC
- Female Shop Owner of the Year: Kristi Hudson, Troy Auto Care II
- Woman of Excellence: Kathleen Long, RepairPal
- Female Shop Team Member of the Year: Megan Dineff, Ervine's Auto Repair & Grand Rapids Hybrid and EV
Remarks made by the winners reflected themes of empowerment as well as the opportunity for impact by prioritizing diversity and representation throughout the industry.
"I want to have an impact on others, that's the reason I'm here," Long said.
Additionally, winners talked about elements of perseverance and the importance of dedication to the industry. They spoke about being grateful for the Women in Auto Care community, as it continues to support women in the aftermarket both now and into the future.
"Women in Auto Care has helped me turn a job that I like into a career that I love," Dineff said.