Saturday, 02 August 2008 09:35

I-CAR CEO: “A year of change and progress”

I-CAR’s International Annual Meeting was held in Scottsdale, Arizona, July 24-26 with approximately 300 members and guests in attendance. In addition to a fully loaded technical program, the event began and ended with some fun and relaxation featuring a spectacular golf tournament for the Education Foundation and a hot-rod “Cruisin’ Night” courtesy of the Arizona Street Rod Association.

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This year’s event had both a serious and celebratory tone, with clear goals and mandates for the future as well as a congratulations for annual achievements in training, marketing, and curriculum development.

CEO John Edelen cited the significant financial gains in the past fiscal year in part by increasing student attendance 15% over fiscal 2007. He credited volunteers, program instructors, and management with major improvements in meeting the needs of the marketplace. One goal emphasized by Edelen was to make I-CAR a “more effective listener.”
Edelen pointed to the major fiscal year accomplishments of the abbreviated 2008 fiscal year:
Engagement with the marketplace. I-CAR must recognize our committees, volunteers, and program in- structors—supported by Field Operations and Marketing—in achieving the levels of training activity in the local marketplace that are in keeping with the training needs of the industry and the obligation of I-CAR to meet them.
·    Improving the infrastructure for quality and efficiency. Changes in business processes and technology within the I-CAR organization provide improved capacity to identify and respond to the needs of the inter-industry.
Listening to the voice of the customer. By utilizing the Industry Segment Advisory Councils, the Market Segment Teams, industry surveys, and other means, I-CAR is gaining direct input from the industry on how the training organization can better serve the industry and provide the training needed to repair today’s vehicles.
Edelen commented at length about the contributions of what he termed “I-CAR’s Frontlines.”
“For me, the local market network of committees, volunteers and program instructors is at the heart of I-CAR. It is where the heritage and traditions of this organization are kept alive. It has been the eyes and ears of the organization, as well as providing insights and feedback on the needs of our customer, the auto collision inter-industry. Since last November, we have begun to supplement the feedback we get from the frontlines with other mechanisms: Industry Segment Advisory Councils, Market Segment Teams, industry relations activities, and others.”

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Said Edelen, “At the end of the day, it is our volunteers and program instructors who see first-hand how we create a valuable training experience, or how we miss the mark. My commitment to this group is to continue to explore the most efficient and effective ways to capture the observations and the thoughts that you have, and to use them constructively. We must continue to enhance the I-CAR training and service experience at a market level. And, of course, we will continue to work with the International Advisory Committee as a channel for your feedback as well.”
Tom McGee, Director of Industry Relations and Product Operations, stressed the relationship-building fostered by I-CAR between the service organizations: ASA, ASE, SCRS; and the OEMs. He welcomed new members such as Mercedes-Benz.
Jeff Peevy, I-CAR Director of Field Operations North America, complimented the 300 active committees across North America, stressing the importance of training and citing improvements such as a resource CD for marketing in vocational schools and the “I-CAR Insider” newsletter.
Ron Ray, I-CAR Director of Education Market Development, noted that over 635 schools are now utilizing I-CAR CD curriculum in the U.S. and 82 are newly welding certified.
Joyce Kasmer, Director of Marketing, noted the energetic input at this meeting which featured a special feedback session involving approximately 175 participants.
Hosted by Lou DiLisio, Automotive Industry Consulting, Inc.; Michael Condon, Condon Consulting LLC; and Rick Sherwood, OEM Collision Repair Resources, LLC and were geared toward those in the collision repair, insurance, and vehicle manufacturing industry segments.
Topics aired at the feedback sessions included the I-CAR curriculum and changes that could and should be considered. Sustained discussion occurred on eliminating redundant content between classes, expanding the syllabus to include the management environment, better descriptions of classes so that content is more transparent. Additional subjects covered were online versus live pricing structures, and training paths to include career development. Questions from the audience identified concerns about older technicians not being motivated to take classes online and how to test online and verify the identity of those students taking online classes.
Technical presentations by GM, Chrysler, Porsche (a first time presenter), Toyota, and Mercedes-Benz were well attended, as were the volunteer and program instructor sessions.
The meeting concluded with a waterborne panel discussion involving numerous and diverse representatives of the refinish industry and a “Cruisin’ Night” featuring wel-known designer, builder, and Autobody News columnist Rich Evans, who brought his “bad attitude” Hardcore Knight (a beautifully customized Mustang GT 350).

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Waterborne Gets National Stage

The waterborne panel discussion included Nick Bartoszek, International Product Director, Sherwin Williams; Dave Brez, Regional Manager, BASF Corporation; Jeremy Hagen, Sales and Marketing Manager, AFC Finishing Systems; Steve Treutal, Director of Industry Relations & Training, SATA and Dan-Am; Tom Gardner, Business Unit Director of Paints and Coatings, Pro-Spray Automotive Finishes; Linda Langford, National Sales Manager, DeVilbiss Automotive Refinishing; Alan Craighead, Senior Technical Manager, Akzo Nobel Coatings Inc.; Johan Huwaert, General Manager, Garmat USA; and Scott Diaz, Instructor, DuPont Refinish Training Center. A future article in Autobody News will address the content.

Next International Meeting
I-CAR will celebrate its 30th anniversary at the 2009 I-CAR International Annual Meeting being held February 5-7, 2009, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. This event will combine the annual meeting of the I-CAR membership, company board meetings, and a national conference for I-CAR volunteers and program instructors. Additional information will be posted at www.i-car.com about this event as it becomes available.


New Fiscal Calendar
For improved strategic purposes and better financial planning, the I-CAR International Board of Directors approved a change in the I-CAR fiscal year from July 1–June 30 to January 1–December 31. Implementation of this change required a shortened, interim fiscal year of July 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008 (termed F'08.5), with the first new calendar-based fiscal year beginning January 2009.
New Board
The board of directors sets the overall strategic direction for the organization and assists in obtaining resources in support of the I-CAR Mission. The board of directors is comprised of representatives from each of the following six industry segments: collision repair; insurance; equipment, tools, and supplies; education, training, and research; vehicle manufacturers; and related industry services.
At its July 16 meeting, the International Board of Directors elected the following Officers and Executive Committee for F'08.5: Chairman Robby Robbs, NuCon Services Inc.; Vice Chairman Tom Moreland, Akzo Nobel Coatings, Inc.; Secretary Chad Sulkala, Allstate Insurance Co.; Treasurer Mike Schoonover, Schoonover Bodyworks Inc. for Automotive Service Association; Member-at-Large Elise Quadrozzi, Assurance America; and Member-at-Large Terry Angell, Warren Tech.
The remaining directors include: Bruce Bares, Hi-Tech Collision & Glass Centers; William Brower, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company; Bruce Cooley, DuPont Performance Coatings; James F. Doherty, General Motors Corporation; Chris Evans, State Farm Insurance–Education Foundation Representative; Rick Jazwin, Universal Technical Institute, Inc.; Robert Keith, CARSTAR; Sam Pezzullo, State Farm Insurance–Canadian Representative; Greg Potter for Equipment & Tool Institute; Monica Rivers, BMW of North America, LLC; Eugene Scambray, Copart Auto Auctions; and Bill Stage, Akzo Nobel Coatings, Inc.
Board members whose terms have expired or are up for re-election will be chosen at the February 2009 annual member- ship meeting, with the I-CAR International Board of Directors subsequently electing the officers for 2009 at its February Board Meeting. A Call for Candidates will be sent to the I-CAR Membership in advance of the February 2009 meeting.

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