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Ferraiolo began the meeting by welcoming attendees and thanking the evening’s sponsors:
- Bald Hill Dodge
- Albert Kemperle Inc.
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car
- Midstate Insurance and Financial Services
Ferraiolo also expressed gratitude for the support of the ABAC News Supporting Advertisers and Corporate Sponsors before announcing ABAC’s new members:
- Premiere Subaru
- Volvo in Watertown
- BMW of Watertown
- Woodbury Chevrolet
- United Auto Parts in Colchester
- Rte 25 Auto Collision in Monroe
- Gillette Auto Body of New Haven
- Wallingford’s Barberino’s Nissan
The meeting’s first guest speaker was Jay Forgione, Financial Professor for Midstate Insurance and Financial Services, who was joined by Director of Sales, Toni Litrenta. The pair explained that their primary objective is to help independent business owners, such as the shop owners in attendance, achieve financial freedom in a complex and constantly changing world by designing strategies to help them achieve what is most important to them. Forgione can be reached at 860-678-2933 or via email JForgione@financialguide.com
Next, Gerard Carbonaro of Security First Insurance discussed the new rules for 2015 which concern automotive service businesses, including how those new rules will impact the designation of technicians in both the collision repair and mechanical industries.
Chuck Sulkala of the National Auto Body Council (NABC) was also present at ABAC’s meeting to present NABC’s Award of Distinction to one of Albert Kemperle’s employees in recognition of his successful efforts to save an accident victim. Mike Startz was honored for his selfless and heroic action of rescuing a young woman and her two small children from a burning car earlier in 2014. Sulkala also discussed NABC’s recently introduced program, “Texting and Driving: It Can Wait,” and distributed window clings to attendees in support of this initiative.
Next, Ferraiolo introduced the featured speaker of the evening, Ron Perretta. With over 29 years of experience in the collision repair industry, Perretta has been a certified MVP Business Development Instructor since 1997, and he also holds an MVP Green Belt Certification for Throughput Performance Solutions. As the owner of two collision repair facilities in Central PA, Perretta is active in local trade associations and holds many trade certifications and accreditations.
At the beginning of his presentation, Perretta stated, “I’ve been in business for 35 years. My locations were built around ‘lean’ processes. Here’s what’s interesting about lean processes in our businesses today; it’s not working. People still aren’t lean. The touch times and cycle times in our industry have actually gotten worse. There’s a lot of people out there that talk lean but aren’t lean. And some of the reasons that I think that it’s like that is that it’s too complicated. So I want to take you through my process. Use what you can, or don’t use any anything at all. The only thing that I know is the body shop business. I started when I was 19 years old. All we’ve ever done is body shop stuff so I’ve honed these processes very well.”
Continuing his presentation, Perretta provided details about his processes as well as facts to support their effectiveness. Anyone with questions is invited to contact him via email at RonPerretta@aol.com.
Although attendance was slightly down from the association’s last two meetings, a factor Ferraiolo attributes to the Thanksgiving holiday, he states “mostly everyone in attendance stayed until the end and hung around to ask questions of the speakers… the content was good, and Ron Perretta gave a great presentation.”
The evening concluded with a raffle for gift certificates, donated by the event’s sponsors. Bald Hill Dodge – Chrysler – Jeep & Kia also donated a Mopar winter coat which was won by TJ’s Auto Body in Wallingford who was also recognized as ABAC’s Shop of the Month.
As with all of ABAC’s meetings, “the purpose was to educate members on industry trends, better their office and shop efficiency, provide updates on proper documentation, and network them with businesses that they can profit from,” Ferraiolo explains.
Ferraiolo believes that association meetings and other events are important because they “keep our members up to date on what is happening in their industry, such as new equipment and training as well as OEM statements and procedures that are important to them in making informed repair decisions.”