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Exhibitor, attendee turnout high for first FATA convention

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The Florida Automotive Trades Association (FATA) held its first convention on July 12-13 at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Fla. (FATA was created by the merger of the Florida Independent Tire Dealers and Retreaders Association and the Automotive Service Association of Florida.)

This combined convention was a tremendous success, says FATA, with 42 trade show exhibitors and over 500 attendees.

"We offered a program to meet our members' needs," said FATA President David Zwalina. "The trade show proved to be the highlight, the seminars focused on government updates, improving members' business needs and the future of our industry, and the networking among the attendees was invaluable."

Seminar speakers included Becky MacDicken of the Tire Industry Association and Bob Redding of the Automotive Service Association on "Government Updates."

The keynote speaker was Steve Ford, The Car Guy, speaking on "Servicing the Machine of 2015." George Zabrecky of NWZ WORX also spoke on "Drive Them In The Door Marketing: The Do's and Don'ts of Marketing."

Vic Knoblock of Post Office Tire in Ocala, Fla., was inducted into the association's Hall of Fame and the Paragon Award went to Tom Prescott of The Body Werks in Holly Hill, Fla.

New officers also were elected during the convention. They are: President David Zwalina, Automotive One, Longwood; President-elect John Deegan, Monroe Shocks, Oviedo; and Vice Presidents Shawn Long, Long Tire & Auto Centers, Valrico, and Tom Prescott, The Body Werks, Holly Hill; Secretary Charlie Elder, Ray Gordon Brake Service, Tallahassee; and Treasurer Helen Hofmann, The Car Spa, Orlando. John Tidwell, Mike Gatto Inc., Melbourne, is immediate past president.

The newly elected FATA board of directors include: Maurice Batista, Pasco Motors, Dade City; Karl Davis, Karl's Advanced Automotive Repair, Ormand Beach; Dick Erickson, Sun Tire Inc., Jacksonville; Vic Knoblock, Post Office Tire, Ocala; Joe Kovac, Kovac Automotive, Weston; Bob Lanpher, McGee Tire Stores, Lakeland; David Morgan, A-1 Auto Care, Hobe Sound; Rudy Napier, Archer Road Auto Repair, Gainesville; Larry Nystedt, Federated Insurance, Brandon; Rick Smith, Smitty's Garage, Seminole; Mark Stalder, Central Auto Parts, Longwood; and Don Stone, AAA Quality Transmissions, Stuart.

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