Start Your Engines!

Revving Up for the 2006 NMEDA Conference

More than a mere meeting, more than an excellent exhibit hall, the 15th annual conference for the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) will once again give all parties involved in automotive access and adaptive equipment the opportunity to get together to brainstorm, teach and learn, see new technologies and plan for the coming year.

On the expansive agenda this year are Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED) pre-conference educational sessions, workshops by automakers and business/sales experts, an exhibit hall and even a Friday night banquet with a concert by the show band Switch (NMEDA's Tom Lorentz is a member).

To help you plan your travels to sunny Southern California, here are some NMEDA conference highlights you won't want to miss.

Schedule at a Glance

ADED Workshops

ADED will host two pre-conference workshops on Wednesday, Feb. 8, entitled "Disabilities and Their Implication for Driving" and "The Van Evaluation Process, A Protocol-Based Approach." The first course will focus on visual systems and driving; the second will discuss the process of conducting a comprehensive driving evaluation with significant equipment options.

Come See Us! Booth 704

ADED will also hold two Professional Member workshops on Friday, Feb. 9. The first — "Wheelchair Prescriptions for Modified Vehicle Users" — will examine the correlation between wheelchair prescriptions and modified vehicles. The second — "Driver Training for the Client Using Adaptive Equipment" — will discuss training techniques for drivers who use adaptive equipment. Go to for more information on registering.

Featured Speakers

The conference keynote will be delivered by Bill Brooks, speaking on "The New Science of Business: How Smart Companies Grow." Brooks officially opens the conference on Thursday, Feb. 9, at 8:30 a.m.

Friday's featured speaker is Don Buttrey, discussing the topic "Becoming a Selling Organization." Buttrey will speak Feb. 10 at 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. about how all staff members can provide excellent and ultimately profitable customer service directly or indirectly.

Bob Wendover will be the featured speaker on Saturday, when he will address "society's changing generational demographics and their impact on business" at 8:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Wendover will talk about how different generations communicate and relate to each other in the workplace, and how businesses can smoothly transition from one generation to the next.

Where Is Long Beach?

Exhibit Hall: 2006's Latest & Greatest Adaptive Automotive Products

Whether you're in the market for vehicle ramps and lifts to transport wheelchairs and scooters, vehicle conversions, or alternate driving controls, NMEDA's exhibit hall is sure to have an answer. The exhibit hall opens at 7 p.m. Wednesday with a reception for conference attendees and exhibitors, then is open intermittently between educational meetings and sessions until 2 p.m. on Friday.

Schedule at a Glance

Tuesday, Feb. 7

8 a.m.-5 p.m. Business Round-Table Meeting
6-7 p.m. Board Reception

Wednesday, Feb. 8

8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. ADED Pre-Conference Workshops
9 a.m.-5 p.m. ADED board of directors meeting
9-10 a.m. NMEDA board of directors meeting
1-2 p.m. QAP dealer meeting
2:15-3 p.m. QAP informational meeting (non-QAP dealers)
6:30-7 p.m. Newcomers VIP reception
7-9 p.m. Opening reception in exhibit hall

Thursday, Feb. 9

7-8 a.m. Buffet breakfast
8-8:30 a.m. General session
8:30-9:30 a.m. Keynote: Bill Brooks
9:40-10:40 a.m. Workshop: NHTSA Transport Canada
10:40 a.m. Break in exhibit hall
10:40 a.m.-2:45 p.m. Exhibit hall open
12 noon Lunch in exhibit hall
2:45 p.m. Break
3-4:30 p.m. Workshop: DaimlerChrysler, Ford, General Motors, Toyota

Friday, Feb. 10

7:30-8:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:30-9 a.m. Awards
9-10 a.m. Workshop: Becoming a Selling Organization
10 a.m.-2 p.m. Exhibit hall open
10:30 a.m. Break in exhibit hall
10:45-11:45 a.m. Professional Member Workshop
12 noon Lunch in exhibit hall
12:30 p.m. Silent auction winners announced
1-2 p.m. Professional member workshop
2-3 p.m. Insurance loss prevention workshop
3 p.m. Break
3:15-4:15 p.m. Professional member workshop
3:15-4:15 p.m. Regional, associate meetings
4:30-5:30 p.m. Professional member meeting
4:30-5:30 p.m. Workshop: Becoming a Selling Organization
4:30-5:30 p.m. Workshop: Managing the Sales Professional
7-11 p.m. Banquet

Saturday, Feb. 11

7:30-8:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:30-9:30 a.m. Closing: Bob Wendover, Generational Studies
9:40-10:30 a.m. Workshop: VA/guidelines/testing/weight analysis
10:30 a.m. Break
10:45-11:45 a.m. Workshop: Hey, Dude!
11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. Lunch on your own
1-2 p.m. Workshop: NMEDA University/Strategic plan
2:15-3:15 p.m. Workshop: Dealers-only open forum
3:15-4:15 p.m. Joint 2005-2006 board meeting & pictures

Where Is Long Beach?

Long Beach, Calif., site of the 2006 NMEDA conference, is about a 30-minute freeway ride from downtown Los Angeles — traffic notwithstanding. The city, the fifth largest in the state, is home to nearly half a million people and is about 100 square miles in size. Its location, along the Pacific Ocean, creates balmy weather all year long. For February, the average high temperature is 68 degrees F, while the average low is 48.

Two noteworthy attractions are visible from the Convention Center. The Aquarium of the Pacific is home to some 12,500 sea creatures from various parts of the world's largest ocean, from tropical climates to the Bering Sea between Alaska and Siberia. Pet sharks, feed lorikeets and watch otters at play. For information:

Longer than the infamous Titanic (by about 136 feet), the RMS Queen Mary is a floating hotel and museum, complete with shops, restaurants and guest tours (including one about the ghosts that allegedly haunt the ship). For information:

For more information on Long Beach, go to

This article originally appeared in the January 2006 issue of Mobility Management.

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