The North American Council of Automotive Teachers (NACAT) conference will be held at Tyler Ju­nior College in 2012.

     According to NACAT’S website, The North American Council of Auto­motive Teachers is the only international organization devoted to teachers and trainers of automotive technology and its related fields. NACAT’s mission is to promote, update and improve automo­tive service education.

     After the Tyler Junior College au­tomotive staff went to their first NACAT conference in Long Beach, CA in 2007, Associate Dean Jeff Parks proposed the idea to host the annual confer­ence in Tyler. The staff was open to the idea and in 2008, Parks proposed the idea to NACAT.

     “Six months later, May 2009, it became official,” said Parks.

     The annual NACAT conference would be held at Tyler Junior College’s West Campus.

     “We have begun preparation[s] and have a great planning committee to help move along the progress of the conference,” said Parks.

     The conference entails various seminars, a banquet, a tradeshow and valve cover racing that attendees may participate in. Value cover racing is where attendees build model cars to race on a metal track. Events will be held in the Skills Training Center at the West Campus. There will be hands-on workshops taught by elite professionals and employees from different automotive vendors.

     TJC automotive staff member David Briscoe, who was also the recipient of the first Jack Erjavec New Au­tomotive Instructor Scholarship, will be coordinating vendors at the conference.

     “It’s a really big deal,” said Briscoe, “We are hop­ing to have 40-60 vendors at the trade show.”

     TJC’s automotive de­partment is very excited to be hosting this event next year. Although it is a conference ded­icated to teachers, they plan on getting some of their automo­tive students involved by allow­ing them to assist in ways such as announcing speakers and helping people locate the different classrooms where the workshops and seminars will be held.

     Shari Rickman, Vice President and general man­ager of the Tyler Convention and Visitors Bureau, plans to help with the conference.

     “We provide complimentary services to increase the experience that the attendees will have in Tyler,” said Rickman.

     The Tyler Convention and Visitors Bureau has helped find host hotels, meeting spaces and possible venues for the banquet. Rickman will be traveling with Parks to this year’s conference in Canada to promote the 2012 NACAT conference held in Tyler.

     They are expecting anywhere from 400-500 people to attend the conference. There are automotive teachers that are members of NACAT from all over the world.

     “There are members in Germany, Australia, Sweden and England,” said Parks. “We hope to have some at­tend.”

     There are several things that the attendees will gain from the conference.

     “There is a chance to network and they [get] a look at the latest training equipment and aids,” said Briscoe.

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