Article in The Retail Observer
Written By: Dave Smith, MPS Contest Committee Chair
To say that 2020 has been a very difficult year to plan an event as huge as the Annual Service Training Institute (ASTI) would be a great understatement. The uncertainty that this pandemic has brought to all of our lives continues to create havoc with event planning and travel. I would like to start this article with an update regarding our convention.
The United Appliance Servicers Association and the ASTI committee have been working very hard to anticipate what this situation will look like when the time comes around for our convention February 7-11, 2021 in San Antonio, TX. Will there be an ASTI? Will it be scaled down and what will attendance be? Will vendors and manufacturers be able to commit to training? How about a virtual event or a hybrid of both? It takes many months and hard work to plan these events and classes and conditions keep changing. The ASTI Committee has a huge undertaking under the best of circumstances so this year will be unusually difficult due to the uncertain times we live in. I can say that there are dedicated and determined people that ARE going to make something happen and news will be forthcoming soon.
Planning for this year’s Most Professional Servicer Contest has been very difficult as well. Not knowing what the convention will look like or if it will even happen at all changes everything. Since the ASTI attendees have had the final vote for the winners, this is of course problematic. The MPS Contest Committee had to determine how to best go forward with a great deal of uncertainty. Do we cancel the contest this year? If we have a contest how can that happen and what would that look like?
With much thought and deliberation, we decided that the United Appliance Servicers Association Most Professional Servicer Contest IS going to happen, regardless and despite COVID-19! It has always been the goal of UASA to educate and keep engaged with our membership and our industry and we strongly feel this is as important now than ever. The contest has gathered huge momentum over the last few years, and we want to keep it going!
So… this is how it is going to work.
We will still have leaders from our industry grading the entries to narrow them down to the finalists. The UASA Board and the MPS Contest Committee do not judge the entries. We will still have several categories for size of company based on number of technicians. The deadline will be extended to the end of the year. The final deadline to enter and for any profile updates is December 31, 2020. On a good note, most of us have had an increased amount of work since the pandemic started. As we are very busy it is a good strategy to enter right away to get your entry in, as you may update your photos right up until the deadline.
What will be different this year is that UASA membership will be voting for the final winners by electronic vote instead of in person. Details on how that will work will be released shortly and posted on our website and will be in a future newsletter. We are also planning a virtual presentation of winners in the event we cannot do that in person.
A huge thank you to Craig Reilly from Plus One Solutions and CheckmyBadge.com for his continued sponsorship of UASA and the contest this year, and for your encouragement. Prizes will include free ASTI’s and memberships, a marketing package, and perhaps a surprise or two? We are always looking for additional sponsors and for additional prizes and more are added up until the end. And of course, the best prize of all is the bragging rights and great PR for your company.
Please check back soon for more information and to enter the contest.