Meredith Bradshaw, Marketing and Social Media Manager for NCACAR, noted, "It was the largest meeting yet - the attendance was close to 80 which is very impressive. I'm very excited about the vision and goals our association has, as well as the support we've received from shops and vendors! The possibilities are limitless as to what we can accomplish together!"
Beginning at 5PM, NCACAR's third meeting attracted participants from every segment of the collision repair industry, including shop owners, technicians and vendors. NCACAR President Brian Davies welcomed attendees and spoke about the importance of belonging to an association and leaving the NC industry in a better condition for future collision repair professionals.
Davies stated, "Some or most of us have a legacy that we are following from a family story of how we got started in the collision industry, and your story may be similar to mine... I grew up in the industry, gaining a passion and a love for repairing cars in the correct way. I went off to engineering school and worked in the corporate world for a while, only to find myself pulled back into something I truly love. Putting this association together is about the legacy for me and leaving this industry better than it was when it was handed to us. I've made lots of friends along the way that believe in its sustainability and want to see it grow into a stronger, more professional industry in NC. I'm standing here because of the help received from so many before me and who are with me now - Pack Brothers, K & M Collision's Michael and Meredith, Mike Anderson and countless others across the country have taken the road less traveled, knowing it would be harder but still doing it because it's the right road which allows us to always see the value of the precious cargo contained within the cars we repair!"
Billy Walkowiak of Collision Safety Consultants, then introduced NC's Commissioner of Insurance Wayne Goodwin. According to Davies, "Insurance Commissioner Goodwin was very informative as he spoke about the importance of belonging to a trade association. He discussed the rules of insurance in NC and how they impacted the consumers and the repair industry, and he also explained how the NC Insurance Commissioner is an elected position which comes with the responsibility of being the state's Fire Marshall. Finally, Insurance Commissioner Goodwin expressed his office's willingness to work with our association for the improvement of the automotive collision industry and the NC consumers and took several questions from the audience."
Next, Bradshaw spoke briefly on the association's educational initiatives before introducing Ed Kizenberger, Executive Director of LIABRA and the New York State Auto Collision Technicians Association. Recounting the history of the NY associations, Kizenberger spoke passionately about the strength in numbers and the importance of standing together for a better future. He discussed the differences in NY regulations and how implementing some of the positive aspects of the DMV and the Department of Financial Services (NY's Insurance Department) could benefit the NC group.
Kizenberger emphasized NCACAR's responsibility to provide educational opportunities to all members, regardless of shop size, stressing his belief that "knowledge is power." Kizenberger fielded questions from attendees and offered his assistance in helping the new association move forward.
As the meeting concluded, several donated prizes were raffled off. NCACAR's October meeting was sponsored by Ronnie Pack at Pack Brothers Collision Center, Collision Safety Consultants and Carolina Colors, who also treated attendees to a delicious dinner prepared by Kyle Fletcher's BBQ.
NCACAR's next meeting will be held in January 2017 with details yet to be determined.