Meredith Bradshaw, marketing and social media manager for NCACAR, noted, "The meeting was a great success... We enjoyed the largest turnout ever in NC for a body shop association meeting!"
Over 60 collision repair industry professionals attended NCACAR's July meeting, with representatives from shops and industry vendors present, and the event's coordinators noticed many new faces at the meeting. In addition to Bradshaw, the event was planned by Brian Davies, owner of Bodyworks Plus in Charlotte, and Josh Kent, NC Territory Manager for Elite Sales & Marketing Group.
L to R: Michael Bradshaw & Mike Causey
Following the reading of the Anti-Trust laws, Davies spoke about the association's past and present goals, as well as what has been accomplished thus far. The association's coordinators have nearly finalized all information required to complete the 501C.
Membership forms were distributed for shops to complete, and NCACAR also conducted an anonymous survey to ascertain what participants would like to see the association accomplish. Survey responses indicated a desire for NCACAR to serve as a collective voice for the industry, to provide education on various collision issues, to assist with negotiating tools, and to help educate consumers. Additionally, attendees look forward to what the associate will offer in terms of group purchasing power, discounts on benefits such as insurance, training and networking opportunities.
NCACAR's meeting also featured several guest speakers. John Plyler from General Motors discussed the differences between OEM and CAPA-certified aftermarket parts, and Michael Bradshaw of K & M Collision provided insights on several industry-related topics. "Michael spoke a little about getting paid for the work we as shops perform, what challenges we're going through currently, and things we've done in the past, both legally and administratively, to help make ourselves and the shop side of our industry more profitable," Meredith Bradshaw recounted.
Attendees also had the chance to hear from long-time collision repair industry advocate Mike Causey, who is running for the office of NC Insurance Commissioner on the Republican ticket. Causey discussed the roles and responsibilities of the Insurance Commissioner's office, and Kent noted, "He spoke about himself, what he stands for, and why he is running for office. Having him speak was very good and gave him an opportunity to let people know that he is pro-body shops."
"All-in-all, it was a very productive meeting, and the newcomers said they will be attending again," Kent noted. "The right people are getting involved, and soon, we will have members and be able to elect association leadership and a board."
Next, NCACAR plans to hold a meeting in Winston Salem in mid-September, followed by an October meeting in Fayettville.
"Everyone now sees the importance of an association and how serious we are about getting this set up for shops in NC," Kent stated. "This state is living in the dark ages when it comes to rules and regulations, and it's time to catch up to other states and the progress they are making in the collision industry. We must make these vehicles safer for our friends and family by educating everyone on the importance of these issues. Everyone can learn something new, and these shops don't have to be in competition, as there is plenty of work for everyone. It's time to work together!"