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Monday, 24 March 2014 23:24

California Autobody Association Glendale/Foothill Chapter Meeting, February 18, 2014

The California Autobody Association (CAA) Glendale-Foothill Chapter met Tuesday, February 18, 2014, at the Brookside Country Club in Pasadena, CA, to hear Patrick Durais, the new chief of the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR). The February issue of Autobody News did an in-depth interview with Patrick, but at the meeting he spoke at length about his evolution from a foreign affairs student to his involvement with the Washington Clean Air Act, and to a position in Sacramento, CA, as a BAR deputy chief. He also discussed in-depth what he considers the three guiding principles of his administration: communication, collaboration, and consistency. He says that he hopes to improve all three during his term in office, starting with communication.

Durais noted that what makes broad communications difficult are financial constraints imposed by the state budget. Where they once had funds to publicize BAR activities like inspections, they have no funds at all for that purpose in 2014. To compensate, they’re even putting their message on the bottom of invoices. The main avenues of information continue to be the CAA website, CAA Facebook page, Twitter account, and YouTube account. Collaboration also gives them a way to get the word out. He mentioned a number of different ways CAA was collaborating, but he specifically mentioned Gene Lopez at Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR). He said Lopez was a major help in providing understanding of shop issues, and he has invited Lopez to participate in the CAA Business Advisory Group.

Consistency is one of Patrick’s biggest priorities. He noted that there are differences in how north and south field offices handle issues. In fact, he said two offices in the same city right across town might handle an issue differently. He aims to strive for consistency within CAA. He wants CAA to get back to basics. By this he says he means to get the focus back on consumer concerns. Dan Povey seconded this focus when he was asked if the agency had enforcement targets or quotas. Dan said that they are strictly rated on speed of handling complaints and consumer satisfaction with the way complaints are handled, not the number of complaints handled.

Mention was also made about the new On-Board Diagnostic Smog Check program that can replace the old tail pipe inspection method that cost inspections stations about $30,000. They can obtain the new program for about $3,000.

Patrick was also asked if there was a way for a shop to report an unlicensed or fraudulent shop anonymously. Cindy explained that the report could be filed with the CAA, and would then be passed on the BAR. The question was also raised about licensing collision repair shops, but both Patrick and Dan said this would not be addressed soon. Dan noted an attempt about ten years ago to use a red light, green light designation, but it went nowhere, so nothing is likely to be tried any time soon.

The meeting was sponsored by Jordan Lewis at Estify, an on-line software program that can convert any type of estimate or supplement to the estimate system a shop uses. People from Marcos Auto Body spoke highly of the way the system has performed for their shop. A presentation was also made by Robert Spitz from Management Success. Access a free business analysis. And Roman Castaneda from Enterprise Rent-a-Car did a presentation of the ARMS Automotive Exchange.

A highlight of the meeting was the election of a new slate of CAA officers. The incoming president of the chapter is Daniel Panduro, from J & L Body Shop in Sun Valley, CA. Daniel joined his father, John, in the business after graduating from U.C. Irvine with a degree in economics and business administration. The new vice president is Dan Moran of Classic Collision Centers. The treasurer Chuck Bistagne of Bistagne Brothers Body Shop will serve again. Immediate past president Linda Holcomb of J.R. Sandoval Enterprises & Consulting will serve as secretary. Board members will include Sandy Panduro, Mark D’Angelo, and Peter Mikeloff. The state board representative will also be Sandy Panduro from J & L Body Shop. From the audience response to president Danny Panduro’s acceptance speech, it would seem he can count on enthusiastic support from the CAA members in 2014.


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