Filling the International Ballroom as the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, dealership team members from across the nation turned out to attend three days of seminars as well as multiple networking events at the inaugural Accelerate conference.
“We were doing some F&I training and there was an overlap, so we figured we would check it out. We knew it was the first year, so we figured we would give it a swing,” said Kyle Spencer, owner of Dell’s Powersports of Grain Valley, Missouri, who heard about the conference from a contact through Rider’s Advantage. “We’re just picking up nuggets wherever we can. It’s been great.”
Fred Baker, father Carson, who owns Baker American Cycles of North Carolina and is a top 40 under 40 award recipient was also in attendance. The elder Baker owned a Chevrolet dealership previously and said his son “has been expanding pretty fast for his age, and we’re trying to get ahead of the curve.”
Others attended for the scheduled speakers.
“We saw there was a lot of different topics that we were interested in so we decided to try it,” said Shawnda Hammons, vice president of Logan Motorcycle Sales in Wilkinson, West Virginia. “We hope to take a few things back to help improve what we’re doing now.”
Industry executives were available during networking portions to offer further information throughout the event as well.
“We value the dealer base greatly. At the end of the day dealers like the ones here are so important. Seeing it was an inaugural event we thought we would get in at the ground floor and show our support,” said Volcon Powersports CEO Jordan Davis, who attended the event and could be found throughout. “I’ve had extended conversations when usually you get to these things and they’re so huge you can’t spend time with anybody. The people who’ve come are passionate and devoted to the business, so we’re getting a lot of expertise from them. You don’t get that kind of attention at events 10 times as large when everybody comes just to come.”
Representatives from OEMs and other industry related companies could also be found at networking events and seminars as well.
“We heard about it through Powersports Business and thought it would be a good idea to come,” said Kel Jackson, CEO of software startup Revvable based out of San Francisco. “It’s a good learning experience and chance to meet industry dealers a little bit more. It’s been a great chance to network.”
“We have to go where the dealer heads are. We see it every day in our visits, but for us as a big group we’re curious to hear some of their thought processes,” said Brad Skelton, district sales manager with KTM.
Following a morning slate of seminars attendees were provided a 90-minute social networking lunch before another round of seminars in the afternoon.