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Friday, 07 February 2014 01:01

AASP-Massachusetts Prepares for 2014 with a Strategic Plan

As 2013 draws to a close, AASP-MA prepares for what it sees as an exciting new year. Though the Board of Directors’ last meeting of 2013 was canceled due to inclement weather, they have used the time to make plans for 2014. Executive Director Jillian Zywien notes “2013 was a year of change for AASP-MA, and I am encouraged by the feedback received from our leadership and members. We had a successful year, and I look forward to 2014.”


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The association will hold their first quarter Statewide Informational and Educational meeting on January 14th at the Doubletree Hotel in Westboro, MA, where all statewide and board meetings are scheduled to convene. According to Zywien, “our upcoming State Meeting will focus on a number of recent AASP-MA projects, including: our strategic planning session, our new member benefit offerings, and updates to our website and social media presence. We will also be presenting on legislative activities and the decision by Auto Damage Apraiser Licensing Board (ADALB, see Autobody News, Jan issue)  to open the regulations (CMR 211, 212) for updates and changes. This meeting is a great opportunity for members and non-members, too.” Additional statewide meetings are scheduled for March 11, May 13 and September 9, 2014.

AASP-MA’s Board of Directors met on January 9th to discuss the ADALB’s recent decision to open current regulations for review by both the ADALB and the Division “in an effort to update antiquated language, align the regulations with current business practices, and make sure the ADALB is doing its job.”

The Board of Directors has selected five sections of regulations they would like to see reviewed: conflict of interest, contact with claimant and selection of repair facilities, revocation and suspension, conduct of appraisals, and requirements of personal inspection and photographs. Both CMR 211 and CMR 212 are to be reviewed by the Division’s general counsel and staff, with those recommendations being reviewed at the ADALB’s next meeting on February 25th. After this review, a notice of hearing will be distributed for public comment, and the formal hearing will be scheduled.

Regarding AASP-MA’s role in this review, Zywien explains, “AASP-MA’s legislative committee has set up a meeting to review the regulations and formulate and submit our response to the Division and the ADALB. On January 7, we will be formulating our strategy for the upcoming ADALB. This is an important opportunity for our member shops to play an active role in the rewrite of these regulations. Please pay close attention to all future association publications as this initiative develops.”

AASP-MA’s Board of Directors plans to meet monthly in 2014 with subsequent meetings scheduled for February 25, March 25, April 22, May 27, June 24, July 22, August 26, September 23, October 28, November 25, and December 16.

AASP-MA has determined that they will hold their Annual Golf Outing at the Charter Oak Country Club in Hudson, MA on either June 10th or 12th, while Casino Night 2014 will be held on either November 8th or 15th. Though individual chapters of the association have yet to establish dates for their planned events, they intend to host the same events as in past years, such as the Midstate Chapter’s Annual BBQ and the Western’s Chapter’s yearly Clambake.

At their recent strategic planning meeting, AASP-MA’s Board of Director’s primary goals were to “clearly define AASP-MA’s mission statement, vision, and strategies and to provide members with a clear understanding of the association’s direction on behalf of the entire industry... This is the first time the Board of Directors has participated in this kind of exercise, and I believe they did a fantastic job in aligning the new plan to members’ needs,” Zywien boasts.

The association has also revamped their mission statement to “Building the Success of the Auto Repair Industry”, which has been incorporated into their new logo.

When the Board of Directors was asked what 2016 if they face no hurdles, they established a long list of like-to-haves. In addition to having a functioning ADALB and increasing membership to 500 individuals, they would like to have an auto labor rate change and a vehicle for sustained increases, as well as to strengthen participant appointees from the industry to the government. They also strive to be a subject matter expert to legislators, Departments of Insurance, media and consumers, plus they’d like to improve the image of collision repair owners and facilities to include setting the standards for the industry. Other goals include: “have our member shops be proud to be members and have clout with insurers, to be the education provider to the industry and provide continuing education programs for shops and employees, have an increase in sponsor and vendor involvement, and have fair negotiations achieved through regulatory restructuring to include parts procurement.”

While AASP-MA is a known advocate within the industry and among their peers, they have asked themselves how they will achieve their plan. Zywien and the Board of Directors respond, “we have the intestinal fortitude, resources, and determination to win. We focus on advancing the collision industry. We make you a more successful business owner. We work to solve industry wide problems. We are the experts for our industry, and we have ‘right’ on our side.”

AASP-MA has their work cut out for them as they aspire to reach their visions, but Zywien is optimistic; “I am really looking forward to delving deeper into our strategic plan and tackling some of our goals.”

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