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KABA seeks to ‘raise everybody’s game’ at second annual trade show

Kansas Auto Body Association kicks off event, April 24-25, in Topeka, with speakers and exhibitors

Lawrence, Kan.—Now in its second year, the 2020 Kansas Auto Body Association (KABA) Trade Show is on track for April 24-25, at the Cyrus Hotel in Topeka, and it’s expecting up to 200 attendees, an increase of 60 from 2019.

“Our goal is to serve our membership and the state by bettering our industry for the safety and education of consumers, repairers and insurance companies,” said KABA President Jeff Oldenettel, who is also collision services team leader of Eddy’s Body Shop in Wichita.

“We want to raise everybody’s game.”

The show will kick off with a private attendee event at the Evel Knievel Museum on Friday night, April 24, from 6-8 p.m. with appetizers and a cash bar, followed by speaker Dave Dunn, from 8:30-10 p.m. The trade show will open from 10-11 p.m.

“We had positive feedback last year regarding time we scheduled for attendees to visit with exhibitors,” Oldenettel says. “They were able to have fruitful conversations, not just meet-and-greets.”

WHAT: 2020 KABA Trade Show

WHEN: Friday, April 24, 5 p.m.-11 p.m; Saturday, April 25, 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

WHERE: Cyrus Hotel, 920 S. Kansas Ave., Topeka, KS 66612

MORE INFO: To register for the KABA Trade Show, click here, and for more information, visit

“We had positive feedback last year regarding time we scheduled for attendees to visit with exhibitors,” Oldenettel said. “They were able to have fruitful conversations, not just meet-and-greets.”

On Saturday, the exhibitor space will open at 7 a.m., followed by breakfast at 7:30 a.m. The first education session will begin at 8 a.m. and there will be half-hour intermissions for attendees to visit with vendors in the morning and afternoon.

“We’ve diversified our speakers for this year’s event by finding the right mix of presentations,” he said, “and we’ve changed the location to Topeka — we’re a statewide association and we want to avoid having our events ‘localized.’ Last year’s trade show was in Wichita and plans for next year are to change the venue to central Kansas, for example. We want to unify everyone throughout the state and keep all of us involved.”

Speaker Dave Dunn, managing director and co-founder of Masters School of Autobody Management and owner of Dave’s Auto Body in Galesburg, Ill., will discuss “Management Marketing in 2020.”

“Dave will bring a lot of advice for shop owners to market their businesses in their specific areas,” Oldenettel said. “I know what he’s accomplished, as a shop owner, in his market, which is similar in size to many of ours. It’s small, but he owns it.”

Dunn will also present “Compensation and Scorekeeping for Experimental Work Groups,” during which he will examine different methods of paying employees and incentive-driven systems and processes.

“Dave’s process is a little different than many of ours. Just because we’re a flag industry doesn’t mean everyone has to use flag rates.”

Erica Eversman, chief counsel for Vehicle Information Services, Inc., and the founder of the Automotive Education and Policy Institute, will deliver a presentation on shop liability.

“As repairers, we’re realizing and recognizing the growing issues of liability,” Oldenettel said. “Erica will discuss liability concerns from a legal perspective and what we should know.”

Attendees will also hear from National AutoBody Research about its variable rate system and its “BillableGenie,” an online, searchable database of actual repair data based on paid insurer final estimates and customer invoices.

“I’ve been in partnership with them for about a year and it’s been beneficial,” he added. “As business grows and I realize what’s working for the shop, I want to share that knowledge with others. If it works for me, I want everyone else to know about it, too.”

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Vicki Schmidt will discuss what her office does and its mission during “Helping Consumers Through the Collision Repair Process.”

“Our goal in having Vicki speak is to better understand the role she plays and what it means for us — the repair community — our customers and insurers. She’s an advocate for all of us and the state’s constituents.”

On the trade show floor many of paint manufacturers will be exhibiting, including PPG, Axalta, Sherwin-Williams, among others.

“Colorvision will also be coming from Kansas City and have a big booth, as well as Mitchell International and CCC,” Oldenettel said. “We’ll fill up pretty quickly — we sold out of booth space last year three weeks ahead of time and we’re on track for that this year.”

Vendors interested in exhibiting can email or

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