Thursday, 22 January 2015 00:00

Collision Repair Industry Associations Make Their 2015 New Year’s Resolutions

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For most people, New Year’s Eve is a time to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the incoming year. Collision repair industry associations have also started preparing for next years by setting their sights on what they can do to improve the industry for their members. Several association leaders shared their New Year’s Resolutions for 2015 with Autobody News.

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In 2015, Howard Batchelor, Executive Director of the Georgia Collision Industry Association (GCIA), hopes to “have a better working relationship with insurance companies. Insurers are in the business to sell policies and settle claims. They should allow the collision center that has the training and OE recommended repairer processes to repair these vehicles in a proper manner since the repairer has their name on the repair and should not be interfered with in making repair decisions.”

For the Independent Damage Appraisers Association (IADA), “our New Year’s resolution is to try and increase membership, making sure we recruit and approve only the most experienced firms with advanced technical skills. We also plan to hold repair seminars to make sure our members are properly trained to identify and appraise damages to the ever-increasing high tech vehicles. We have selected Charlotte, NC as the site for our 2016 National Conference (June 2016), and it is our goal to make this our most successful and memorable conference,” Executive Vice President John Williams states.
The Auto Body Association of Connecticut (ABAC) intends to continue doing exactly what they did in 2014; President Tony Ferraiolo elaborates, “we will continue to educate members and consumers. We want anyone that needs education from our association to be helped. We will strive to bring the best speakers and content from around the country to our membership meetings.”

"Our resolution will be to continue our focus on member benefits and membership growth by aligning the goals of our organization with the true needs of the membership at large. Special attention will be needed with regards to our new Collision members,” predicts Jason Brennan, Vice President and Chairman-Elect of ASA-IL.

John Petrarca, President of the Auto Body Association of Rhode Island (ABARI), states that the association’s 2015 New Year’s resolution is “to successfully continue ABARI’s stated mission to protect consumers, preserve competition and professionalize our industry by promoting the highest standards for safety, quality and customer service. In doing so, ABARI will continue to work on many fronts. First, we will continue our decades-long fight to educate the Legislature and the public of the unfair practices that remain in the industry and to find fair, equitable solutions. Second, we are close to implementing a written ABARI Code of Ethics. The Code will require all ABARI shops to conform to the highest standards for safety, quality and environmental protection. We fully expect it to be in full force and effective in 2015. It is another step in the direction of our ultimate goal of a professionalized industry that is compensated fairly for its important role in protecting the motoring public.”

For many, if not all, associations, increasing membership is also a major priority for 2015. The Long Island Auto Body Repairmen’s Association (LIABRA) plans to “continue to expand our membership base and offer new and exciting training seminars for our shop owners and their employees. On the legislative and regulatory fronts, we expect to continue to address our members’ concerns and ensure the auto collision industry and the New York motorists have a voice on collision repair issues.”

Luz Rubio, Executive Director of ASA-AZ, also hopes to see an increase in membership next year; “I think this is an issue that is on top of every association’s list. I am very excited to include many more shop owners in our Automotive Roundtables. The few that were held in 2014 have been interactive and great. These are opportunities to discuss topics, challenges and share successes with other shop owners that will help elevate the professionalism of the industry here in Arizona.”

ASA-Colorado's Chairman, Steve Horvath of Jeno's Automotive in Littleton CO, says, "ASA-Colorado’s New Year's resolution for 2015 is to get the local auto body shops more involved with ASA." 

Executive Director Kari Foster elaborates, “in 2014, the ASA Colorado Board members met the new ASA National President with this idea in mind. Dan Risley, ASA President says, ‘ASA Colorado's board of directors’ commitment to grow their membership base in 2015 parallels the movement within ASA National to recruit and retain members. The strength and leadership on their board has clearly positioned them for success. We have high expectations for them and believe they will have a significant positive impact in the market.’”

ASA-Colorado also hopes to put together some collision educational meetings in 2015 on consolidation, estimating and the importance of networking, according to Collision President Dan Stander of Jerry Stander Collision Works in Littleton CO.

“Our resolutions for 2015 are, first, to increase the visibility of the collision/repair professionals in Texas and help our members increase their business base/profitability,” says Chuck Space, Executive Director of the Texas Independent Automotive Association (TIAA). “We also want to make the 2015 Texas Tire & Automotive EXPO larger and even more responsive to those who attend. As an association, we need to be relevant to our members and successfully achieving these resolutions will help our members and make TIAA stronger.”      

“ASA-Northwest’s wish list for 2015 is to get more qualified automotive technicians into the automotive industry,” the association’s Executive Director Jeff Lovell explains. “We are currently working on apprenticeship programs with our ASA members and the automotive technical colleges throughout the state of Washington. We are also working with Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM) to transition troops from military to civilian jobs in the automotive industry. We have a shortage of qualified technician in our industry and the average age of a technician is 45-47 years old.”

Nick Notte, President of the National Auto Body Council (NABC), believes their resolution for 2015 “would be to become more inclusive. That means finding ways to bring even more prospective members into the NABC to, unitedly, bring the good news about the Collision Repair Industry and our National Auto Body Council members to every community in this country.”

ASA-National “would resolve to add several new member benefits to our portfolio that provide significant value to the shop owner.”

Executive Director Dan Risley continues by asking “why? Most shops that belong to ASA support the association because of its leadership position in the industry and our efforts to drive positive change collaboratively. I believe it’s our responsibility to find ways to make it financially profitable to be a part of ASA through our member benefits. Our Sponsored benefit programs with companies such as AutoZone (parts purchasing rebates), Chryslers Tech Authority ($120 annual subscription), Federated Insurance (property & casualty), Keystone Insurance (vision & dental), Meadowbrook Insurance (workman’s compensation), and Cintas are great examples of the additional value our members receive.”

Aaron Schulenburg, Executive Director of the Society of Collision Rep Specialists (SCRS), told us “to be honest, it is more of an ongoing resolution than one specifically designated for the new year, but we are internally committed that next year will bring renewed commitment to strengthening how we deliver upon our mission. SCRS’ purpose is to educate, inform and represent the collision repair professional in all aspects of the industry. We’ve spent a number of years working on really strengthening our role representing our membership, creating resources that strengthen their positions and operations, and delivering a resolute voice of the collision repair industry in rooms and at microphones where the industry needed to be. We’ve spent years growing our Repairer Driven Education series at the SEMA Show, holding local events in conjunction with our 44+ Affiliate Associations, and collaborating with organizations like the Collision Repair Education Foundation and SkillsUSA to embolden our efforts to educate. In 2015, our resolution is to find more frequent and more thorough ways to deliver on our promise to inform our membership. It is a priority for us, and we believe the industry is best served through accessibility to not just the most information, but the right information. I know that our board is all very committed and excited to deliver on our resolution.”

If these industry experts have anything to do with it, 2015 will be an even better year than 2014 for the collision repair industry. And my resolution for 2015? I hope to be able to attend more industry events, learn more and get to meet more of you amazing ladies and gentlemen who make it such a pleasure to write for this industry. I also encourage your feedback and suggestions so that we can make 2015 the best year ever! Happy New Year’s everyone!

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