14th Annual International Mobile
Tech Auto Recon Expo 2015
Is One For The History Books
     The Caribe Royale Convention Center was abuzz for three full days January 15-17 as representatives from all corners of the mobile automotive technology industry gathered at the 14th Annual International Mobile Tech Auto Recon Expo 2015 & Smart Repair (MTE) show in Orlando, Florida. Close to 100 exhibitors and thousands of guests and industry professionals came through the show this year in one of the most well attended MTEs in 14 years.
     If the exceptionally cold winter up north seems to be the reason, it is worth noting that Orlando was experiencing unseasonably breezy and at times down right cold weather itself! Families found nighttime rides on Splash Mountain a bit frosty!

     Over the years, the mobile technology industry has expanded into various but highly specialized areas. The rise of scratch and chip repair (SCR); small area Smart Repair; paintless dent repair (PDR); interior leather, fabric, carpet and upholstery repair; and windshield, headlight, and bumper repair stand side-by-side with automotive detailers; paint correction specialists; and the trainers, suppliers, distributors, and inventors who support and rely on them all.
     Education Day opened on Thursday, January 15 with dozens of seminars overlapping throughout the day. PDR techs were made eligible for the National Alliance of Paintless Dent Repair Technicians (NAPDRT) certification by attending the Advanced R&I Techniques seminar conducted by veteran PDR technicians Joe and Len Cicchiello. Techs could also compete for their Vale PDR certifications; and become certified in the NESHAP 6 H Rule by attending the 2-hour regulation seminar.
     There were live auto reconditioning demos and How-To workshops and training classes on how to use buffers and sanders; carpet and stain removal; paint blending; the application of wax, paint sealants, and permanent and semi-permanent coatings; and estimating hail damage. Popular AutoGeek TV personality Mike Phillips and leader of the Official Air Force One Detailing Team, Renny Doyle gave sessions on time, efficiency, success, and profitability. A variety of marketing seminars covered topics like Social Media Dos & Don’ts; Creative Messaging and websites; and advertising with online brokers.
     Many professional associations sponsored events and held both open and closed social, networking, and Board of Directors meetings. PDR Nation sponsored the Charity Duck Tank followed by their Town Hall Meeting. The International Detailing Association (IDA) held a Business Development Roundtable, and NAPDRT held their members meeting. The Mobile Tech News and Detailers Digest sponsored a Charity Silent Auction for cardiac charities through the Pepin Heart Hospital.
     One of the most anticipated and exciting events at MTE are the competitions. Seventy technicians participated in this year’s Dent Olympics and Glue Pull. Mike Broughton took 1st Place in the Glue Pull competition. Second place went to Terry Siegle; 3rd Place went to Takahiro Takahashi; and Joel Mathis took 4th.
In the Dent Olympics, Sal Contreras won 1st Place; Jared Gobrecht took 2nd Place; and Adam Williams came in third. Michael Hill, Chris Dillard, Joel Valois, Simon Noel, Alexandre Cyr, Ivan Sklaruk, Marco Garrido, Woody Koss, Toru Okano, Ray Cruz, Joel Mathis, Sean Mahoney, Kazuhito Hamada, Noah Winkelman, Travis Winger, Junidhi Ishihara, and James Bledsoe all took home rewards for finishing in the top 20, respectively. 
      In the Work Vehicle Contest, Mike Heaton of Dent Tricks won 1st Place; Kent D. Row took 2nd; and Jeremy Smith took 3rd.
     In the Leather Restoration contest, Derek Laflin, Josh Weeks, and Greg Shaw, all three of New Image, took home 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place awards respectively.
     On Thursday night at the Tech Get Together, industry professionals nominated by their peers for their outstanding work were presented with 2015 awards. John Willis of National DentWorks won the Tom Nations Memorial Trophy for the PDR Person of the Year; and Tom Price of the Dent Network won the Rufus Lowery Memorial Trophy for PDR Mentor of the Year. Bill Hulett of Pro PDR Solutions won the Sid Emmert Memorial Trophy for Tool Person of the Year; and Ricky Bayne, founder of DoorDing won Accessories Person of the Year.
      Other winners included Tom Piontek of Viper Products who took the Interior Restoration Person of the Year, Josh McCooey of Glass Mechanix for Glass/Windshield Person of the Year, and Jeff Smith of Kwicksilver Systems for Wheel Restoration Person of the Year.
     The Nat Danas Memorial Lifetime Achievement trophy went to Natalio Balderrama of Miami Dents, said to be the man who introduced the PDR industry to the US. Other Lifetime Achievement Awards in the mobile tech and PDR industry went to Myke Toledo of DentTrainer and Tommy Clayton of Tommy’s Dent Service.
     The MTE has a lot of moving parts of which technology drives the engine. Several software companies were available to demonstrate their web-based work order and management solutions. Among them were AutoMobile Technologies; Zenware; and Dent Squad’s DenTraxx. Other companies with cutting-edge estimating and invoicing software included Dingstinger; Mobile Tech Books; Dent Matrix; PDR-Software by Web-Est; and Sullivan’s PDR Estimator. The UK’s Luminisi made the trip across the pond to demo their integrated business systems, which tie together accounting, administration, marketing, and much more.
     The Dent Zone Companies and PDR Linx, who utilize partnerships with insurance companies, auto dealers, and motor clubs to provide a nationwide marketing and claims management company exhibited alongside Prudential Financial who was there to offer financial advice and services to new start-ups.
In the marketing arena, Dragon’s Lair Designs focused their attentions on marketing via website and logo designs and Stephanie Tevlin demonstrated her Pluk A Card business card holders for mobile vehicles.
MTE is also the best opportunity for companies in the mobile tech industries to show off new products and equipment. Auto Mats & Accessories displayed their proprietary “Griplock” nib-backed carpet mats; Classic Design Concepts showed off their line of muscle car styling components; and DaSign Broads sold vinyl car and truck decals for the PDR and detailing industries.

     Delta Kits, Inc. exhibited their quality windshield repair and headlight restoration products alongside Vinyl Pro with their mixed bag of products for vinyl, leather, carpet, velour, and hard plastic. They also brought several headlight restoration and windshield repair lines, and their popular Nanoskin detailing products. Viper Products/Odor Wipeout also specializes in restoration products for vinyl, leather, plastic, and cloth, while R.M. Andress & Associates is a major distributor for multiple products lines including Evercoat, Buff & Shine, and many more.

     Superior Restoration Products, who specializes in the manufacturing and distribution of automotive restoration products, featured in their booth, their new Swatch Color Matching System. Precision Coachworks showcased their auto interior and alloy wheel restoration products. Kwiksilver Wheel Repair, a company that offers franchise opportunities to people interested in starting their own wheel repair business, also brought along some of their proprietary Kwick6 Car Care Products. Custom Uplifts was also on hand with their custom-built mobile units for tire shops, auto body paint shops, and alloy wheel repair shops.

      The PDR tool industry is a competitive one, but each has their own unique tool designs that set them apart. Druz Tools, Dentcraft Tools, ExelTools, Dent-Gear Tools, Pro PDR Solutions, Denttech, Inc., and PDR Finesse Tools all clamored for attention in a market rife with obsessive tool-lovers. PDR Outlet, Dent Dial, Ultra Dent Tools, PDR Gear, Custom Gear, Rupes S.p.A and Steck Manufacturing all took advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate their newest instrumentation.
     Stuckey Lighting & Tools demonstrated their patented cordless, rechargeable LED light and Elim A Dent promoted their own version of a cordless PDR light, a staple to successful dent repair.

      With paint and coatings the hottest commodities on the automotive market today, companies like Dr. Colorchip reached out with their commercial paint chip repair systems popular with both mobile technicians and professional detail experts. SEM Products demonstrated their popular interior ColorCoat and ClassicCoat products for leather, vinyl, and plastic, as well as their FAA approved aerospace line known as SureCoat.
     ColorBond displayed nearly 150 of their OEM aerosol paints and their line of interior and exterior automotive coatings. SpeedoKote Mobile Refinish Products introduced their 2K coatings, clear coats, and primers. H&S Auto Shot put their show focus on their Stud Welders, Uni-Spotter, and Cur-Tek infrared and ultraviolet paint curing equipment.

     Solution Finish had their trim restoration products on display and Apollo Sprayers International demonstrated their HVLP turbine systems and spray gun technology while Spray Max by Peter Kwasney introduced his newly patented spray paint technology.

     The glass and windshield industry was well represented by glass repair and restoration specialists at Delta Kits, Glass Mechanix; and by 30-year veteran of the glass repair industry, GlasWeld.

     There were several unique exhibitors like Button Toppers who  provide OEM-style replacement button covers for worn out audio, AC, navigation, and steering wheel buttons. Mobile Tech Shade displayed their popular mobile suction cup shades. Blackplague PDR Tabs, Trusty Tape, and Keco all showcased their best-selling performance-based PDR products; and Dent Glue demo’d their popular Premium Gold and Agent Orange solvent-free glues.

     In the hail dent arena, KhS Global had on show their hail repair operations, as did Catastrophe Solutions International, who provides a network of the most skilled PDR technicians available.
Eco Repair Systems out of Newport Beach, CA addressed environmental issues in the industry. They are known for finding cost effective, environmentally friendly methods of vehicle repair; and they import the 3650A T-Hotbox, which removes soft dents on steel panels with almost no contact of tools to the surface. Robiana Direct, an importer of specialty PDR products, also sells the 3650 T-Hotbox and the flatliner system. Both Fast Shelter and Mobile Environmental Solutions, LLC makes EPA and NPFA 701-approved air-inflated portable paint booths and workstations with positive filtration systems.

     Excellence in PDR training lays the foundation for the hail and dent industry. Dent Wizard provides powerhouse training and support systems while Dent Trainer, LLC, though smaller, provides an e-learning subscription website that adds an online component to PDR training. The Gateway Dent Training Center offers PDR training using cutting-edge techniques in four areas: basic dent repair; basic hail repair; advanced large dent repair, and an advanced ride-along program. In addition, the Recon Master School of Dents reaches deeper than just PDR repair to include interior and exterior repair, and graphics/window tint installation. Last but certainly not least is Vale Training Solutions located in Arlington, TX. They offer a timed evaluation of a technician’s skill level to provide three levels of certification: Journeyman, Craftsmen, and Master Craftsmen.

     Both PDR Nation and NAPDRT are nonprofit professional organizations that attempt to unite and standardize the PDR industry by helping solve problems; lobbying for higher industry standards; and by creating and distributing important business, educational, and technical information among its memberships.

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