PRO members get down to serious brainstorming during the annual PRO Long-Range Planning Meeting.
If you didn’t mark your calendar, you can still make plans to attend this year’s PRO Long-Range Planning Meeting. As the title implies, this is the meeting where members brainstorm ideas on how best to utilize PRO and SEMA resources to benefit PRO members in the coming year. The challenges facing the restyling industry are greater than ever but, as one PRO member so astutely remarked at last year’s meeting: “Every challenge presents an opportunity.” Most members are looking for ways to find new sources of revenue, cut costs and make their businesses more efficient. Invest two days in this meeting and share your ideas with other PRO members.
The project planning portion of the meeting starts at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 18, and ends at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, June 19. By structuring the schedule this way, many attendees can usually fly in early Thursday morning and fly out on Friday afternoon, necessitating only one night’s hotel stay.
“We’ve organized the planning meeting this way for a few years now,” said PRO Chairman Chuck Blum. “The time of year and the meeting schedule seem to be convenient for people. Last year, we had our largest turnout in recent memory, and I’m hoping for the same this year, in spite of the economy. All of the resources available to PRO members, such as the Sales Training Manual, the PRO Business Development Guidebook, glove-box warranty information card and dealer brochures originated at a PRO planning meeting. It goes without saying that now, more than ever, PRO members need to get together, share ideas and help drive our industry forward.”
This year’s meeting will be held once again at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Detroit, Michigan. The hotel is adjacent to Detroit Metro Airport, with free shuttle service to and from the airport. A special $115-per-night room rate is being offered to PRO Long-Range Planning Meeting attendees.
PRO Chair-Elect Karl Stearns presented the PRO Restyler of the Year award to Diana Braschler of Dealer Source at last year’s joint LTAA/PRO awards reception held during the SEMA Spring Expo.
PRO Awards Reception Moved to SEMA Show
The PRO council has typically presented its industry awards during the annual SEMA Spring Expo. That tradition was to be kept alive in 2009 with a reception at the brand-new Technical Skills & Training Conference, scheduled for late March in Orlando, Florida. However, the postponement of that inaugural event presented the opportunity for PRO to host its industry awards reception on Tuesday evening, November 3, 2009, during the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The reception will run from 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel.
“We looked at a number of options,” said PRO Chair-Elect Karl Stearns. “And while the SEMA Show seemed the obvious choice, there were a number of logistical factors to work through. Since PRO has never had a reception at the Show, we didn’t want to barge in and conflict with any other activities that might make it difficult for people to attend. After some research, though, it appears that Tuesday evening will work out fine. I’m looking forward to it, especially the chance to network with existing and potential PRO council members that we might not otherwise get a chance to see. It also presents our PRO industry award winners in front of a new audience.”
PRO Industry Awards Get a Facelift
It is perhaps fitting that the PRO council has an all-new awards reception for 2009 to go along with its newly updated industry awards.
“The idea of evaluating the awards originated at last year’s PRO Long-Range Planning Meeting,” said PRO Select Committee member and Chairman of the PRO Awards Task Force Scott Wolin. “One of the breakout discussion groups was charged with looking at ways to update the look and feel of the council. Along with other ideas, they asked if our council industry awards might need an update. Following several months of research and discussion, we decided to retain two of the long-standing awards, but replace the other two with brand-new ones. I think we have an updated array of awards that allows us to recognize individual accomplishments alongside all categories of PRO membership. It is vitally important, especially in these challenging times, that PRO continues to recognize accomplishments among the membership to show that the council and the restyling industry are still alive and moving forward.”
PRO members will receive more information about the awards and the awards reception in the mail. PRO industry awards categories for 2009 are: