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First Day of the AASA Vision Conference Brings the Industry Together through Resilience, Recovery and Innovation

The annual conference provided aftermarket executives with valuable insights in a post-pandemic world including data access, electrification, the economy, and more.

Date: March 17, 2021
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – The 2021 AASA Vision Conference concluded its first day with high engagement in a now-familiar virtual format. The premier executive event in the automotive aftermarket provided valuable insights and perspectives from a range of thought leaders in an agenda packed with compelling speakers and presentations. 
Paul McCarthy, AASA President & COO, opened the conference with a session highlighting this year’s theme of Resilience, Recovery and Innovation in the Aftermarket in a post-pandemic world. 
Sheryl Connelly, Chief Futurist, Ford Motor Company, revealed recent research on major global trends that executives need to understand to best position companies for these changes. 
Session leader Jeff Jorge, Baker Tilly, explored differing perspectives as the aftermarket looks to the future for significant recovery in the return of this always popular and highly-rated session, “A Reprisal: The 3 Dragons Debate the Aftermarket’s Outlook.” Debating 'dragons' Seth Basham, Wedbush; Nathan Shipley, The NPD Group; and Elizabeth Clark, U.S. Department of Commerce shared their views and expertise on what aftermarket executives can expect given the coronavirus pandemic, stimulus payments and other macroeconomic factors. 
Jason McDonell, Chief Marketing Officer, Advance Auto Parts, hosted one of this year’s “Bonus Laps” which is designed to bring a sense of connection to the aftermarket industry and all the inspiration and innovation it has to offer. Jason told the story of how Advance brought back the Diehard battery brand effectively in the midst of a pandemic. 
Ann Wilson, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, MEMA, discussed the crucial importance of securing Access to Data. This session highlighted the aftermarket’s progress, provided essential updates and dug into next steps and what needs to be done to succeed moving forward. 
Ben Brucato, Senior Director of Engagement, AASA, hosted a first-time Vision exclusive session, “The Supplier Elephant in the Room.” This session highlighted aftermarket supplier pain points – warranty returns, extended terms, fill penalties, e-tailing growth and increasing ‘distributor’ roles for suppliers, and how they have taken on new life following the pandemic. The panelists included John Carney, FDP Virginia; Alex Ashmore, BorgWarner; and Jay Burkhart, First Brands.  
The second Bonus Lap of the day, which is designed to create a sense of community in a digital world, was covered by AASA’s Modern Industry eXpertise (MiX) Council. MiX covered flexible work environments of the future and shared survey results and evaluations to keep employees engaged and happy in the “next normal.” 
Barry Neal, Partner, Roland Berger concluded the day with his session around aftermarket business opportunities for vehicle data. This landmark study conducted between AASA and Roland Berger covered how vehicles will be diagnosed and prognosed in the future and how opportunities will emerge when access to vehicle telematics data is achieved.  
On its second day, the AASA Vision Conference will explore more critical issues, including electrification and automated technology, connectivity and diagnostics, ADAS, eCommerce and e-tailing as well as highlight the 2021 Customer Keynote: Greg Johnson, CEO of O’Reilly Auto Parts. 
Epicor Software Corporation is the premier sponsor of the 2021 AASA Vision Conference, and other sponsors include: Baker Tilly, Classy Llama, Corcentric, eShipping, Experian, MontAd Media, Opticat, PDM Automotive, PROS Inc., Schaeffler Group USA Inc., AAPEX, Snap36, SURYS, and Tasco Sales Reps. 

Additional information about the virtual AASA Vision Conference can be accessed by visiting aasavision.com.
About AASA 
AASA (www.aftermarketsuppliers.org) exclusively serves manufacturers of aftermarket components, tools and equipment, and related products, an important part of the automotive parts manufacturing industry which supports 907,000 American jobs. AASA is a recognized industry change agent – promoting a collaborative industry environment, providing a forum to address issues and serving as a valued resource for members. AASA is the light vehicle aftermarket division of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA). “AASA, The Voice for the Automotive Aftermarket Supplier Industry” 
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