Planning is well underway for Industry Summit 2014, which will be held in September at Paris Las Vegas. On behalf of myself and the staff, speakers and sponsors who make the event possible, I invite you to join us, and I want to give you a glimpse behind the scenes of this important show.

Many of you have been with us since Industry Summit’s earliest incarnation, the F&I Conference and Expo, which is fast approaching its 15th year. Much like the launch of F&I and Showroom magazine several years prior, the F&I Conference filled a gap in our industry. Dealer development, while not unheard of, was not the hot topic it is today. The same could be said of subprime sales and finance. While we were building the F&I Conference, Greg Goebel and his team were working just as hard to establish the Special Finance Conference as a must-attend event. Four years ago, we joined forces, and Industry Summit was born.

Today, the industry continues to evolve, and Industry Summit along with it. In addition to educational tracks for F&I and Special Finance, this year’s event will include Used Vehicle Retailing, Dealership Sales & Technology and P&A Leadership Summit.

Dealership Sales & Technology is an excellent example of our ceaseless efforts to meet the needs of our attendees. Yes, we realize there are other conferences you can attend to learn the latest strategies for digital marketing and Internet sales. But they don’t take place alongside sessions that tackle nearly every other aspect of your operation, and they don’t attract the luminaries we will host in September.

You will hear from former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) official Rick Hackett, who has graciously agreed to face a potentially hostile crowd and explain the agency’s position on automotive retail and finance. Capital One Auto Finance’s Steve Braskamp will lend insight on the strategies and goals of one of the industry’s largest and most active lending partners. Our own Jim Ziegler will be on hand to rally the gathered throng and meet with dealers and managers one-on-one.

For those dealers who have been with us from the outset, the new tracks, sessions and speakers are an added bonus. Many have remarked upon our ever-growing curriculum and exhibit hall. But they are not overwhelmed, I assure you, and neither are the agents and industry executives who attend Industry Summit to meet with their dealer partners. 

For all these reasons and more, I hope you will join us for this year’s event. If history is any guide, there will never be another one like it.