Lynn Lejeune of Lejeune's Body Works Inc. and chairman of LaCIA called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone. He also led the group in a prayer.
“Tonight has to be about us coming together and agreeing to make a difference,” said Lejeune.
Derek Stubbs of Expressway Paint and Body and vice chairman of LaCIA noted the large turnout and made a statement on what it indicated to him.
“We’re all here because we care about this business and we care about what happens to it,” he said.
Stubbs also mentioned that they need to put last year behind them and focus on what they need to work on this year.
“Last year is over, and we’ll still have battles to fight every day this year, but we need to face these problems together to make a difference. We have national issues that we together have to handle on a state level.”
Chris Medine of Medine’s Collision said his son is the third generation of his family in the business, and that’s one of the reasons he wants changes to be made – so his son can have a long career in the industry.
“I believe this organization can be a lot of things, and I know good things can happen when we can get together like this,” Medine said.
Randy McLachan of Performance Finish & Collision stated his belief that LaCIA is doing a good job in following the footsteps of the Louisiana Auto Dealers Association and taking a professional approach to running the group. He believes training and education are the two top things LaCIA can deliver to its members, and said he wants LaCIA to be “an association of education.”
Reid Heiser of Mitchell International also added his thoughts on what an association can accomplish: a sense of community, training and perspective.
“It’s a great thing to walk into a room of neighbors and not a room of competitors,” said Heiser. “The industry is rapidly changing, and if you don’t keep up with it, you will not succeed. We need to embrace those changes and plan for what is coming down the line. And unless you get out and see what others are doing and not doing, nothing will ever change.”
LaCIA Executive Director Alysia Hanks is currently drafting a formal request to send to the Louisiana insurance commissioner asking him to look into the legality of PartsTrader in the state.
The Louisiana Collision Industry Association announced that the website for the Southern Automotive Repair Conference has officially gone live.
The conference will take place April 11–12, 2014 at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, MS. Speakers will include Aaron Schulenburg of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists, John Eaves Jr. of the Eaves Law Firm, Ray Gunder of Gunder’s Auto Center and John Mosley of Clinton Body Shop.
Associations supporting the event include:
- Alabama Automotive Repair Industry Society of Excellence
- Georgia Collision Industry Association
- Florida Autobody Collision Alliance
- Louisiana Collision Industry Association
- Mississippi Collision Repair Association
- Tennessee Collision Repairers Association
LaCIA is accessible on Twitter at @LouisianaCIA and on the web at http://www.la-cia.com.