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TOWING & RECOVERY May 2012 Keeping industry pros on their tows FOOTNOTES 3 ® AD Partn tow ers Se VI e P S ag O e 1 R www.trfootnotes.com FOOTNOTES EXCLUSIVE! On With The Show! Going to one is fun and informative but planning and running one is difficult, time-consuming work BY ALLAN T. DUFFIN When Trucks Fly! The Terrible Texas Tornado • The Devastating Storm The Right Venue. The next chal-lenge to running a good tow show, said Walcker, is finding and keeping a good venue. TRAW hosts its show at the Silver Reef Casino, a 50,000-square-foot facility in Ferndale, Washington, that features a 150-room hotel, seven restaurants, an events facility, and a spa. “We are fortunate that we have found and kept a good quality, well-balanced, and affordable site that caters to our show year after year,” said Walcker. Sometimes even a successful show, however, can trigger new problems for the host organization. For ex-ample, the Northwest Tow Expo has It is estimated that Photos these trailers • The Dramatic Of Airborne Trailers flew almost 300 feet in the air. Texas finally Towers found Respond! They • were over a See page 23 mile away and were recovered by Walnut Hill Wrecker out of 3 homes. All three residences In The Towing had people at home when the storm hit but, thankfully, no one SPOTLIGHT was hurt. One of the homes was In This Issue: completely demolished.s Associations Pages 1 & 8 Asset Protection Advertise Now! Call David Abraham 877-219-7734, Ext 1 Volume 23, Number 1 x $3.95 © 2012 Causey Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved. For June: Towers know that towing associations traditionally offer a variety of programs and activities designed to help them network and improve their business. What towers may not know — or at least not appreciate — is just how truly challenging managing a towing asso-ciation can be. But perhaps the hardest thing of all to manage is the state or regional association tow show. Here’s a snapshot of what it takes, and this isn’t even the half of it! Five Key Issues. Jess Horton, presi-dent of the Southwest Tow Operators (www.swtowop.org), listed five key issues that tow show planners face: 1. Money, which must be fronted for extended periods of time to get the show up and running. “Where does it come from, and who is keeping track?” said Horton. 2. Volunteers who can give up their time to work the show rather than simply get to enjoy it. 3. Selling the show to vendors. “You literally have to travel to other shows and recruit [in order to] gain enough vendors to support the show,” ex-plained Horton. “Then, after you sell the booth, you have to ask for sponsorship dollars as well.” 4. Getting permits. You need to deal with city or county employees (or other government officials) to obtain the required permits. State officials, for PRST STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID PEORIA, IL PERMIT NO. 315 Lovely ladies liven up the big STO show example, may want permits for trucks, special equip-ment, training areas, and other items. 5. Creating enough bang for towers’ bucks. It’s criti-cal, said Horton, to make sure that “the attend-ees will get the most out of the experience, without breaking their banks at the same time.” And there’s more, lots more: Dan Johnson, president, TRAW; Rob McKenna, Takes Time. The logistics Washington State Attorney General and Gubernatorial involved in creating and candidate; Mike Walcker, director, TRAW; Joanne running a towing and re-Walcker, administrative assistant, TRAW covery show are enormous. “The number-one challenge is the time it takes to do a good show,” gradually outgrown this traditional said Mike Walcker, director of the location. “We are approaching maxi-Towing and Recovery Association of mum capacity for our venue site,” Washington (www.towingandrecov-explained Walcker. “Last year we had 205 seated dinner guests at the ery.net). Requires Leadership. Solid leader-banquet in a room with a maximum ship can save the day. The Washing-capacity of 200.” The Silver Reef Casi-ton association, for example, has two no is constructing additional facilities, co-chairs — TRAW President Dan added Walcker, “but we seem to be Johnson and Treasurer Jackie Currie — keeping up with all they can give us.” for its Northwest Tow Expo. Johnson Interest Value. Another challenge in and Currie have organized the show See ON WITH THE SHOW, page 3 for the past three years. Towing & Recovery Footnotes P .O. Box 64397 Virginia Beach, VA 23467 ® B&B Wrecker Employees Andy Chesney – Supervisor

On With The Show!

Allan T. Duffin

<br /> Going to one is fun and informative but planning and running one is difficult, time-consuming work<br /> <br /> Towers know that towing associations traditionally offer a variety of programs and activities designed to help them network and improve their business. What towers may not know — or at least not appreciate — is just how truly challenging managing a towing association can be. But perhaps the hardest thing of all to manage is the state or regional association tow show.<br /> <br /> Here’s a snapshot of what it takes, and this isn’t even the half of it!<br /> <br /> Five Key Issues. Jess Horton, president of the Southwest Tow Operators (www.swtowop.org), listed five key issues that tow show planners face:<br /> <br /> 1. Money, which must be fronted for extended periods of time to get the show up and running. “Where does it come from, and who is keeping track?” said Horton.<br /> 2. Volunteers who can give up their time to work the show rather than simply get to enjoy it.<br /> 3. Selling the show to vendors. “You literally have to travel to other shows and recruit [in order to] gain enough vendors to support the show,” explained Horton. “Then, after you sell the booth, you have to ask for sponsorship dollars as well.”<br /> 4. Getting permits. You need to deal with city or county employees (or other government officials) to obtain the required permits. State officials, for example, may want permits for trucks, special equipment, training areas, and other items.<br /> 5. Creating enough bang for towers’ bucks. It’s critical, said Horton, to make sure that “the attendees will get the most out of the experience, without breaking their banks at the same time.”<br /> <br /> And there’s more, lots more: Takes Time. The logistics involved in creating and running a towing and recovery show are enormous. “The number-one challenge is the time it takes to do a good show,” said Mike Walcker, director of the Towing and Recovery Association of Washington (www.towingandrecovery. net).<br /> <br /> Requires Leadership. Solid leadership can save the day. The Washington association, for example, has two co-chairs — TRAW President Dan Johnson and Treasurer Jackie Currie — for its Northwest Tow Expo. Johnson and Currie have organized the show for the past three years.<br /> <br /> The Right Venue. The next challenge to running a good tow show, said Walcker, is finding and keeping a good venue. TRAW hosts its show at the Silver Reef Casino, a 50,000-squarefoot facility in Ferndale, Washington, that features a 150-room hotel, seven restaurants, an events facility, and a spa. “We are fortunate that we have found and kept a good quality, well-balanced, and affordable site that caters to our show year after year,” said Walcker.<br /> <br /> Sometimes even a successful show, however, can trigger new problems for the host organization. For example, the Northwest Tow Expo has gradually outgrown this traditional location. “We are approaching maximum capacity for our venue site,” explained Walcker. “Last year we had 205 seated dinner guests at the banquet in a room with a maximum capacity of 200.” The Silver Reef Casino is constructing additional facilities, added Walcker, “but we seem to be keeping up with all they can give us.”<br /> <br /> Interest Value. Another challenge in hosting a tow show is keeping it interesting for the attendees. An example: Rene Fortin, president of the New Hampshire Towing Association (www. nhtowingassociation.org), points to his organization’s upcoming event, the 40th Annual Family Tow & and Trade Show, which will feature the Richard Petty Driving Experience. For $79 attendees can drive or ride along in a NASCAR race car on the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.<br /> <br /> Any Return? The financial investment in a tow show can be tricky because it comes “without a guarantee of return,” noted Tom Brennan, president of the Empire State Towing and Recovery Association (www.estranys. com).<br /> <br /> The Weather. In addition, Mother Nature can crumple your best efforts:<br /> <br /> “The success and attendance of the show can be dependent on the weather,” said Brennan.<br /> <br /> Lots Of Help. Towing associations often require a small army of volunteers to do everything from running the office to helping with the shows. Brennan noted that Empire State Association members “travel at their own expense to meetings, seminars, training and other tow shows. Our tow show depends on volunteers for setup, staffing, and organizing events for the show.”<br /> <br /> Although the Southwest Tow Operators is fortunate to have a full-time paid staff, Horton noted that volunteers drive the organization. “We hold many meetings all over the state of Texas, and it is the volunteer that brings everything together and cleans up afterwards.” Horton added that the volunteers bring legislators, sheriffs, police chiefs, mayors, judges, and other towing industry people to meetings and other association events.<br /> <br /> At the Towing and Recovery Association of Ohio, the board, membership, and volunteers are the key to its success. An average of 75 volunteers help with the annual Midwest Regional Tow Show and with community service activities. In addition, the 2011 “Towers Support Our Troops” program collected 10 moving-size boxes of items to ship to American troops deployed overseas. TRAO’s volunteers also gathered and transported toys for children of families devastated by the tornado in Joplin, MO, last May.<br /> <br /> Partnering. Southwest Tow Operators takes a completely different approach to its tow show: it doesn’t directly host it. “We’ve taken the stance from the very beginning of our organization that associations should not be operating tow shows,” said Horton. “STO has always believed that the association’s attentions and energy should be focused on the members and the needs of those members.”<br /> <br /> Although STO doesn’t independently host tow shows, Horton stressed that the association is nevertheless a huge proponent of these events. “We do believe in the tow show,” he said, “just not in us running it.” To that end, STO partnered with American Towman magazine, which “coordinates successful tow shows already,” said Horton, including the Baltimore Tow Expo. This partnership, Horton said, has allowed STO to hold training classes, seminars, certification, meetings and special events “with ease and very little cost” to the association.<br /> <br /> Regional Or State? Tom Brennan, head of the Empire State Towing and Recovery Association, believes that “state shows are the way to go.” The state show, he said, “benefits your local association. In our case, the funds realized help run the association for the year and target education for state and local laws.”<br /> <br /> By contrast, Donna Mesaros, administrator for the Towing and Recovery Association of Ohio (www.trao.org) felt that regional events were more beneficial. “Manufacturers and exhibitors want regional shows,” said Mesaros. “To secure the exhibitors you need towers attending, and to secure the attendance you need the exhibitors.”<br /> <br /> Horton agreed, noting that regional shows are the best platforms for towers and vendors. “It brings more towers together and allows for a better atmosphere for all involved,” he explained. However, Horton added that Southwest Tow Operators also hosts smaller local events for its members — small picnics held throughout the state of Texas. “One of the largest we have is called the Southwest Pachanga, held down in South Texas every year.” Several hundred attendees and their families typically attend this event.<br /> <br /> Because no tow shows occur in Oregon or Idaho, the Towing and Recovery Association of Washington feels that its annual get-together is “truly a regional show,” said Walcker. The 2011 show even hosted guests from China, Canada, and Australia. “We considered our show more of an international show than even a regional show,” added Walcker. “Our proximity to Canada is a great benefit as we always have a good showing from our friends from the North.”<br /> <br /> View Southwest Tow Operators towing video collection at http://swtowop. org/index.php/training/training-v2 and their YouTube entry on GoJaks at http://www.youtube.com/user/SWTOWOP<br /> <br /> For a list of upcoming towing, trucking, and repo shows and training events, see Footnotes’ Shows and Demos section in each issue, or visit our website at www.trfootnotes.com/ events.

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