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Tuesday, 01 June 2010 14:50

Massachusetts Auto Repair Associations Merge

The Massachusetts collision repair and automotive service industries united May 24 during an industry dinner meeting held in Marlborough, Mass. All three of the state's major automotive repair industry associations - the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Massachusetts (AASP/MA), the Massachusetts Auto Body Association (MABA) and the Central Massachusetts Auto Rebuilders Association (CMARA) - joined forces as one statewide industry association.

As per the new agreement, the association will carry on under the AASP/MA banner and be open to both collision and mechanical members. The new interim AASP MA Board of Directors, which will be in place until elections this November, will be led by former CMARA President Tom Ricci. Former AASP/MA President Rick Starbard and former MABA Chairman Paul Hendricks will jointly serve as vice presidents.

"This is truly a memorable event for our industry," Starbard said. "This [merger] wasn't thrown together off the cuff. This was about determination, fence-mending, friendship rekindling and a lot of hard work on behalf of all three associations’ officers. The Boards of MABA, AASP/MA and CMARA should all be congratulated for their foresight in making this happen here tonight."

The reconfigured association retains longtime AASP/MA Executive Director Peter Abdelmaseh and lobbyist Martin Corry and gains former MABA Administrator Nancy Russell, while the interim Board of Directors includes members from all three former groups. James Castleman, Esq. will provide legal counsel to the new group, while Thomas Greco Publishing, Inc. will continue to produce AASP/MA's monthly publication, New England Automotive Report.

The unification of the three Massachusetts groups comes after an extensive 18-month negotiation process that ended decades of division.

"From the Board of Directors’ perspective, there is a great deal of excitement in the air because we now have one unified voice," remarks Ricci. "Instead of having three associations, there now exists one united front and the excitement of opportunities to come."

"We're very fortunate that we can do it at this time in the industry’s history," Hendricks adds. "We have so many issues with insurance companies and regulations not being enforced that the only way to get anything done is with a large group. Right now, I feel that we have the best leaders in the industry all joined together. We can only move forward from here."

For Starbard, who also serves as president of AASP National, the restructured MA affiliate reflects a welcome spirit of unity and cooperation throughout the Commonwealth.

"This is the first time in 20 years that the collision industry in Massachusetts will be united," Starbard says. "It's time to be on one page, set one course and start winning on behalf of the industry."

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