Article By Sarah Brown, UASA Executive Director
Originally Published in The Retail Observer
United Appliance Servicers Association held its inaugural ASTILite event at The Marriott River Center in San Antonio, Texas on July 15-17. The training event was a smaller, more intimate version of UASA’s Annual Service Training Institute (ASTI) – a mini-ASTI, if you will. A typical ASTI is five full days with over 200 class options, a large trade show, dinner and awards banquet, and upwards of over 700 people from the appliance service industry. ASTILite is different but compares well to the Little Engine That Could.
While the event was being planned many vendors were still on travel restrictions, and business owners were leery of committing to attend, not knowing what the future would hold. As time passed, the event steadily picked up steam, until the actual ASTILite was busting at the seams. While the initial goal was 100 attendees, the event maxed out the available space (due to local guidelines) with almost 300 people and a long wait list. Vendors were trying to sign up to attend and train right up to a week before it began. To say that people were excited to see each other and network is a gross understatement; people were ready to get out and be among their peers again and start moving their businesses full steam ahead.
Industry leader and BlueBook author Dean Landers welcomed the attendees and kicked off three days of more than 60 classes and networking events. ASTILite offered the traditional hands-on technical training and business management classes for which UASA is known, as well as numerous networking opportunities. The goal was to give attendees a chance to mingle, discuss hot topics and solve problems with their peers, but also to provide vendors and servicers a chance to network and develop
relationships in a comfortable, relaxed environment. Instead of the traditional trade show, there were structured networking events, including a River Boat Cruise co-sponsored by Encompass Parts and National Service Alliance, and a “Meet Your Vendors” cocktail reception co-sponsored by Reliable Parts and Just Press One, in addition to daily Early Morning Brainstorming sessions.
Technical training was provided by Electrolux, American Vulkan, Whirlpool, GE, Bertazzoni, and vendors new to ASTI-events such as Whirlpool Commercial Laundry and HiSense. Three technical schools provided training as well: Dyer Appliance Academy, Same Day Appliance, and SSG Appliance Academy.
Business topics were all-encompassing and included both structured classes such as Knowing Your Cost of Doing Business, Inventory Management, Making the Most of Your Service Calls, Professionalizing Your Business, Running a Service Business, Growing Your Business, Leveraging Technology to Compete in an On-Demand Market by Servicers Web, Hiring Best Practices, CSR Training, Planning for the Unexpected, and Preparing to Sell Your Business and Protecting Your Assets – to very popular less structured discussion sessions including Chatting With Adam Butcher and Alex Hallmark of Fluid Services and Fred’s Academy, the ServiceDesk User Workshop, and ServicePower’s Hub Pro.
In addition to the vendors mentioned above who facilitated classes and networking events, other vendors in attendance were Marcone, Appliance Parts Company, Brutivi, Career Plug, CDA Software, Centricity, Guardsman, Miele, Mr. Appliance, Nana, PlusOne Solutions, Rossware, ServiceLive and Asurion. We want to thank all our vendors, attendees, committee members, board members and UASA staff who helped make this event successful and pushed the little engine over the big hill of 2020-2021!
Were you unable to make it to ASTILite? In January UASA will host a full traditional ASTI in St. Pete Beach, FL. If you missed the fun and learning in San Antonio, you’ll not want to miss ASTI. We invite you to join us and roughly 700 other industry professionals for networking, classes, and in-person encounters that will not only help you grow as a person, but will give you tools you can take back home to make your business more successful and profitable.
UASA members will save $100 off of the registration fee. Not a member? Join today at www.UnitedServicers. com. Your Membership Has Benefits.