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Monday, 24 March 2014 18:03

Louisiana Collision Industry Association Meets to Talk Progress and Future Plans

The newly-formed Louisiana Collision Industry Association (LaCIA) has been busy setting up their organization and is working toward their goals. They held a meeting on January 21, 2014, to discuss their progress thus far and their future plans. Over 180 people attended this meeting, which Derek Stubbs, vice chairman of LaCIA, attributes to the fact that “we are all here because we care about this business, and we care about what happens to it.”

Chairman Lynn Lejeune called the meeting to order, welcomed attendees, and led a prayer before the LaCIA general counsel Lance Kinchen of Breazeale, Sachse, and Wilson LLP, read the anti-trust statement. Next, executive director Alysia Hanks touched base on a few things like the upcoming Southern Automotive Repair Conference in Biloxi, MS, and told the group what she hopes to accomplish with the association.

Each member of the LaCIA Board of Directors then provided some background on their experiences and spoke about their plans for LaCIA. Lejeune stressed that it is about “coming together and agreeing to make a difference.”

Stubbs emphasized the importance of focusing on the present and the future instead of the past. “Last year is over, and we still have battles to fight everyday this year, but we need to face these problems together to make a difference. We have national issues that we have to handle first on a state level.”

Chris Medine from Medine’s Collision said that he believes LaCIA has potential to be and do many good things through having so many industry professionals working together. His son is the third generation of his family to enter this industry, and Medine wants to effect change so that his son can have the same long and successful career.

Randy Mclachan of Performance Finish & Collision feels that LaCIA is taking the correct professional approach to their development, and he believes the association can be useful in providing training and education to its member. He said he hopes that they will be “an association of education.” He is confident that by working together, LaCIA members can make meaningful change that will benefit the Louisiana collision repair industry.

Reid Heiser of Mitchell International spoke about three things that associations such as LaCIA can do, including providing a sense of community, offering training, and changing perspectives. Regarding these benefits, Hanks said, “it’s a great thing to walk into a room of neighbors and not a room of competitors. Mitchell has a lot of training they can send in to help our group. They benefit when our industry benefits. 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. [In regards to perspective], unless you get out and see what others are doing, nothing will ever change—‘you can’t work on your business if you’re working in your business.’”

The day after the meeting, Hanks emailed notes to participants, along with some additional information about the LaCIA progress. The LaCIA website is now finally operational, though it is still being improved.

In response to questions at the meeting about social networking, Hanks provided the LaCIA Facebook page, agreeing that social networking is “an avenue we will explore.” Since the meeting, Hanks also established a Twitter account (@LouisianaCIA).

Hanks has drafted a formal request to the Louisiana commissioner’s office requesting that they look into the legality of PartsTrader in Louisiana, similar to what Automotive Service Association (ASA) has initiated, and she is currently awaiting comment from the LaCIA attorneys. Additionally, the email provided a link to the Southern Automotive Repair Conference website and a link to Mike Watson’s article on partial refinish.

Also attached were the LaCIA general membership application and an application to a GM training course that was held on February 25, 2014, at the Holiday Inn in Baton Rouge, LA. Many members for LaCIA attended the event, where topics included aluminum in new vehicles and price matching as it pertains to CollisionLink and GM’s Bump the Competition Program, which allows price matching on select parts when an insurer estimate calls for aftermarket parts to be used. GM’s course also discussed 2013/2014 cores on fascias and headlights, how to recognize counterfeit airbags, and warranty information. Find more information on technology and their service bulletins.

LaCIA supports and will be attending the Southern Automotive Repair Conference in Biloxi, MS, April 11–12, 2014, where they have reserved a booth. The next LaCIA meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 20, 2014, in Monroe, LA. As LaCIA continues to develop and becomes increasingly involved with industry issues, stay tuned for updates.

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