On Tuesday, October 20, the Long Island Auto Body Repairmen's Association (LIABRA) held their October General Meeting at Levittown Ford's Service Department in Hicksville, hosted by Jack Christales, Parts Manager at Levittown Ford. At 7PM, attendees enjoyed a buffet-style dinner, courtesy of their host, before the meeting officially began.
At 8PM, Ed Kizenberger, Executive Director of LIABRA, opened the meeting with a discussion on current events and industry news. He informed attendees that the New York State Sales Tax Department and Labor Department are targeting the collision repair industry by increasing inspections on Long Island, and some of these investigations have resulted in criminal charges, large fines and penalties. Additionally, the New York State Conservation Department will be reregistering air permits for collision repair facilities. Kizenberger encouraged members to call him at 631-941-9647 if they hear from any of these departments.
After reminding attendees that General Motors will be rolling out its new parts pricing program in early December, Kizenberger introduced Scott Noel, Ford Wholesale Zone Manager, who connected online with Gerry Bonnani, Ford's Senior Engineer of the Paint and Body Repair Division. Bonnani delivered a one-hour presentation on the new Ford aluminum F-150 pickup, beginning with a product overview and also diving into the repairability of the vehicle.
Because the F-150 frame is constructed completely from a high-strength, low-alloy steel, convenient frame repair sections are available. The vehicle's exterior panels, as well as most of the cab, are aluminum, and with body sections and repair panels being welded or bonded and riveted together, it's clear that Ford has designed the new F-150 with repairability in mind.
Outlining the type of adhesives and repair tools needed, Bonnani emphasized that aluminum repair is quite easy with the proper tools, careful hygiene and proper training. Ford will release all aluminum replacement parts with service sheets that detail how to properly install the part as well as a list of the materials and rivets necessary for installation. Aluminum repair training is available through motorcraftservice.com and I-CAR, and Bonnani highly recommends I-CAR's aluminum welding course. The presentation concluded with a 30-minute question and answer session, and attendees were very receptive to the information Bonnani shared.
Next, Kizenberger introduced Kelly Stalcup of Assured Performance who shared a 45-minute powerpoint presentation on the requirements and benefits of becoming an Assured Performance shop. In addition to being OEM-certified, Assured Performance shops must meet all the requirements of a Class A facility. Anyone interested in becoming an Assured Performance shop can contact Stalcup at www.assuredperformancecare.com.
The meeting adjourned at 10PM after the 50/50 prize was drawn, and Juan of Portside Collision in Port Jefferson won the $250 cash prize. LIABRA expresses their gratitude to Levittown Ford for the use of their facility, the buffet dinner and their gracious hospitality.
LIABRA will hold their next meeting on November 17 at the Long Island Marriott. Dinner will begin at 7PM with the meeting commencing at 7:30PM. The association's November General Meeting will include a free GM training seminar, "2015 GM Restraint Systems - Repair It Safely After Collision," presented by GM trainer Jim Mickle, and participants will receive a certificate of completion. The November meeting is being sponsored by Eagle Parts Center.