As a first-time attendee of the yearly NACAT conference, I wasn't sure what to expect. After being a NACAT member for a number of years and hearing about the conference from peers, I decided it was time to check it out. Williamsport, PA was within a reasonable drive and a weeklong conference with a group of other automotive teachers from North America sounded like fun. Fun was only one part of it……..
From the opening ceremonies to the closing ceremonies, the conference was very well run, organized, informative, and a great way to meet new people. The facilities provided by the Pennsylvania College of Technology were second to none, and everyone went out of their way to make sure the event went well for everyone. I was impressed by the dedication and amount of work the organizers put in, and I can see why it takes years of planning to host a NACAT conference. Once you host one, it seems like you are almost sure to host another down the road. That says a lot about how much people enjoy being part of NACAT and helping out.
The seminars were all so good I had a hard time picking out which ones to attend each day! I wanted to go to each and every one, but there are only so many hours in the day. Good thing because my car was pretty full by the end of the week. The trade show was excellent, had great vendors, and was a very good place to make contacts.
Besides the seminars and the college, there was something else I noticed while there. It was the fact that people had traveled very long distances with their families to attend, using the conference as their summer vacation. Proud parents were helping their kids get ready for the valve cover races, spouses were having fun. I noticed friendships that had begun at previous events and stayed strong throughout the years. A sense of camaraderie and being part of a great organization is what struck me the strongest. The board of directors and NACAT staff are all volunteers who put their time into make NACAT what it is, and I could see why. During the banquet when service awards were being handed out, I found myself wondering how many NACAT events I could make it to in the coming years. People had been part of the organization for 35 years! Overall, it was a welcoming environment with a family feel that provided excellent training and many opportunities to network with fellow teachers. Hard to beat that. I was trying to figure how to get to the 2009 NACAT conference by the end of the first day! Hmmm, let's see, how far of a drive is Charlotte…… Hope to see all you NACAT members there next summer, and if you have never been, I highly recommend it!
Cold Hollow Career Center