The annual Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA) Conference is set to resume as an in-person event Dec. 7, a move the organization’s head says is an important step towards a return to normal.
APMA President Flavio Volpe says the event will be live only, although material from the conference will be posted online at some point.
“We think it’s important we start the next stage of reopening … so we have that personal connection back,” Volpe said. “We all found the efficiencies of meeting online, but what’s lost is the human connection and we’re all facing a series of common causes right now, from semiconductor shortages to inflationary pressures to EV tax credit threats in the U.S.
“If you’re at the stage where you’re getting together at work, or you’re getting together socially, or on the production line, then this is also a natural next step.”
Volpe said the conference is subject to all the rules of Ontario when it comes to hosting indoor events. That includes guests being fully vaccinated and screened for COVID-19.
Organizers doubled physical space the association normally uses for the event, which will be held at the Paramount EventSpace in Vaughn, Ont., just outside Toronto, and aims to host 250 people. People will be congregating less, too. Only one meal — just lunch — will be offered to the attendees. Normally, they get three meals.
Volpe said the APMA is “very sensitive to” COVID-19 and the newly discovered Omicron variant, but moving forward in person is best for the industry.
“The balance between our leadership role on managing the pandemic and getting a safe reopening manifests itself in this event,” he said.
The annual event used to focus heavily on production volume, scaling up and the competitiveness of the parts business.
“Electrification is the show now,” Volpe said. “I think everybody in Canada needs to hear what’s happening around the world in this space. We need to have a competitive mindset.”
The list of speakers is comprised of:
- Silvio Angori, CEO, Pininfarina
- Leila Aridi Afas, International Public Policy Director, Toyota NA
- Jack Cheng, CEO, Foxconn - MIH Consortium
- Joe McCabe, CEO, AutoForecast Solutions
After the quartet of speakers, Project Arrow Chief Engineer Fraser Dunn will give an update on the association’s plan to build an all-Canadian zero-emission vehicle. Aside from a small number of media interviews, it will be the first time Dunn addresses the project publicly.
“It will give attendees the same type of excitement we get around that project,” Volpe said.
The project remains on time, scheduled to be unveiled at the end of 2022, Volpe added.