Guest Post: Jeff Cook
The first day of this year’s conference wrapped up with a reception hosted by association President Ben Carfrae of Ruan Leasing. The dual Independent Leasing Company and Lease Here Pay Here tracks were well attended everyone had great things to say about the venue and the largely unknown vitality of downtown Fort Worth.
To kick off the day, we were treated to a presentation by Richard Shing – a retired Texas Ranger (Law Enforcement Officer not a ballplayer!). Dressed in cowboy boots and a Silver Belly Stetson, Sergeant Shing used his dry Texas wit to describe the role he and fellow Rangers have played in the state’s storied history. He also shared some insight into then Governor Bush during the months he was assigned to the future president’s security detail in 1999 and 2000.
Attendees were also presented with economic insight from Manheim’s Tom Webb and Black Book’s Ricky Beggs. Both had largely positive forecasts for automotive dealers and lessors. Beggs remains particularly bullish on trucks and SUV‘s even in the face of this summer’s forecasts of $4 per gallon gasoline.
The biggest bombshell of the day was presented by Phil Clements of Cathedral Consulting. And Clements is no lightweight. He’s one of the founding partners of Price Waterhouse and is an expert in tax law. Clements compared and contrasted President Obama’s tax plans with those presumptive republican nominee Mitt Romney and how each would impact vehicle lessors. The bottom line: if you hold title on a large fleet of vehicles and have previously taken Bonus Depreciation, get ready to cut a big check to the IRS in 2012 and 2013 – no matter who wins the presidency.
The afternoon saw a marketing workshop presented by David Blassingame of AutoFlex leasing. Blassingame shared insight on how he turned a massive North Texas hailstorm into a successful marketing event and how he used customer feedback to redesign AutoFlex’s website.
Lastly, there was an eye-opening workshop conducted by Jim Satterfield of the crises management firm Firestorm. Most attendees, including the author, had no idea just how vulnerable and unprepared our businesses are to social media risk and negligent liability. He conducted an interactive exercise demonstrating just how real the risk is. It included business continuity, communications and disaster preparedness plans too.
This has been a great event so far and it wraps up today.