David M. Brown (6)
David M. Brown is a native of Philadelphia who has lived in Arizona for 30 years. He writes about subjects he is passionate about, including the car industry. A father of two, he is mentored by his border collie/pointer, Haylie, who is much more concerned with thrown tennis balls than with a beautifully repainted Aston Martin.
Auto Body World, the largest collision-repair company in Arizona, opened its eighth store in May at 6815 W. Chandler Blvd., near Interstate 10. “We’re conveniently located close to Ahwatukee, Sun Lakes and Tempe to better serve our customers in the East Valley,” says Mark Turner, the company’s president.
To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.
The 34,000-square-foot 40-bay facility was formerly occupied by Advanced Auto Body. The existing down-draft Ameri-Cure booths were refurbished to Auto Body World standards. Here, and at all ABW locations, PPG Waterborne Paint, distributed by Finish Masters, is used exclusively.
The new facility is staffed by seven technicians and five administrative staff, and Turner hopes to increase the full-time employees to 28, led by Ryan Downs, the store’s general manager. The ABW administrative team includes David Fait, CEO, the 1999 Phoenix Chamber of Commerce “Small Businessman of the Year,” David Bybee, DFO, and Lorie Kinman, chief administrative officer.
The company was started in 1946 in South Dakota by Warren Fait, David Fait’s father. He relocated his company to Phoenix in 1962, building his first collision center at 27th Avenue and Maryland Street in 1968. David slowly built the business through the following decades.
The re-energized Lehigh Valley Collision Repair Association is serving eastern Pennsylvania, including cities such as Allentown, Easton and Bethlehem. The one-year-old group comprises 18 auto body repair facilities, jobbers, parts suppliers, information providers and rental car companies, says its president, Matt Dewalt, AAM.
“Our mission is to promote the professional image of our industry through safe, quality and ethical repairs,” explains Dewalt, vice president of Scott’s Collision Centers, which is celebrating its 40th year serving the Lehigh Valley.
“We want to educate and lead our members to better themselves by allowing the free exchange of ideas and assist with ongoing training,” he adds. “It is truly an organization made up of members who want to better our industry.”
His father, Scott, a past and current member of LVCRA, started their business in 1971, and today the two locations, in Easton and Stroudsburg, comprise 34,000 square feet and generate about $5 million in annual sales.
The original LVCRA has roots at least 50 years deep and was very active in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, sponsoring golf tournaments, hosting monthly meetings and holding I-CAR and other classes, Dewalt says. At the time, Scott participated with his early shop, but membership dwindled and meetings stopped about 10 years ago.
New York is well represented by regional and statewide collision associations. The largest is the Centereach, NY-based New York State Auto Collision Technician Association with 1,500-plus members, including small and large shops, industry-related businesses and 10 regional collision-repair associations.
These regional affiliates represent shops in Greater Binghamton; Syracuse; Rochester/Buffalo; the Capital District, in the Albany area; Rome-Utica; Greater Newburgh; and the Hudson Valley.
Another NYSACT affiliate, The Westchester-Putnam-Rockland Auto Body Association, also serves Duchess County and the Bronx. Two others are the Long Island Auto Body Repairmen’s Association (LIABRA) and the Autobody Craftsmen’s Guild covering the five boroughs of New York City.
Founded in 1982, NYSACT is guided by Executive Director Ed Kizenberger and an elected board of directors led by a president, currently Mike Orso, owner of Nick Orso’s Body Shop and Service Center in Syracuse. Staff also includes legal counsel and a legislative lobbyist.
The organization influences and effects state legislation through its lobbyist as well as with grass roots approaches such as members’ letters and e-mails to representatives and other public relations efforts. “We have a full legislative program and enjoy broad-based bipartisan support in both the state assembly and senate in Albany,” explains Kizenberger, with two decades-plus in the collision industry.
The Automotive Service Association of Arizona (ASAAZ) was founded in 1963 to help automotive shop owners statewide through resources, training, legislation and representation, networking, communication efforts and more. The ASA of Arizona is affiliated with the Bedford-Texas-based national ASA, which is the largest not-for-profit trade association of its kind serving automotive service professionals.
Today, the Automotive Service Association of Arizona serves both the mechanical and collision-repair segments of the industry. As a state affiliate of Automotive Service Association, the Phoenix-based nonprofit includes 286 members, including 70 collision shops. As it represents the state industry as a whole, the organization has two divisions: mechanical and collision.
The ASAAZ comprises seven chapters: Mohave, Phoenix, Prescott, Tucson, Verde Valley, Yuma and the Grand Canyon Chapter, which represents members statewide that are not part of another chapter. Each elects a board member, who serves for two years, without term limits; currently, the collision division does not have a member on the board. These individual chapters hold meetings, offer local speakers and information exchange and participate in the ASA-sponsored NACE and the annual ASAAZ conference, held this year, July 9–11, at the Prescott Resort & Conference Center.
The group began as the Arizona Auto Body Association, founded June 4, 1976, by Clarence “Bud” Klinefelter, David Keilholtz and Marv Rather.
Fragmentation, frustration and apathy once characterized Florida’s various collision industry associations. Regional groups were created but eventually withered; others started up briefly then stalled. A strong statewide group, fully supporting the individuality of its regional chapters, was unable to get traction.
The Brevard Autobody Association is illustrative. It operated from 1989–2002, with approximately 35 active members. “We were probably the longest running association in the state of Florida at the time that we disbanded,” recalls Steve Long, whose Rockledge-based Long Wholesale Consultants has been serving the state since 1990. The Brevard association spun off from an Orlando association which operated approximately from 1989–1999.
Today, dissolution and distrust in Florida is patiently being replaced by unity and a commitment to longevity. Long is the treasurer of the new Space and Treasure Coast Chapter of the growing Florida Autobody Collision Alliance (FACA).
FACA comprises six state chapters centered by larger cities. Formed in August 2009, Long’s Space and Treasure Coast represents collision-industry members from Titusville south 100 miles or so to Stuart along the Atlantic Coast. The other chapters are FACA of Jacksonville, Mid-State (Lakeland), FACA of Tampa Bay, Central Florida (Orlando) and South Florida (Ft. Lauderdale). Approximately 200 members regularly attend regional meetings statewide.
This year, FACA plans to open chapters in the Miami, Ft. Myers, Pensacola, and other areas. hold a first state convention and hire a full-time executive director, says Dave McBroom, president of FACA and the Jacksonville chapter.
FACA is an affiliate of Prosser, Wa.-based Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and the National Auto Body Council, headquartered in Princeton Junction, N.J.
McBroom notes that George Avery and Chuck Sulkala at NABC and Barry Dorn and Aaron Schulenburg at SCRS have been particularly helpful during the formative period. “We receive a lot of guidance and assistance from both those organizations,” he says.
A trio of auto association groups is now serving the Lone Star State: San Antonio-based Texas Independent Auto Association; Austin’s Automotive Parts & Services Association; and, as of 2009, the Houston Auto Body Association, which became an affiliate of the national Society of Collision Repair Specialists in February.
Established in 2009 to serve the greater Houston area, HABA comprises approximately 35 owners and managers of collision centers (Active Members), businesses associated with the collision industry (Associate Members) and like-minded associations that abide by the group’s code of ethics (Group Affiliate Members).
The group was formed to put the collision industry in Houston on a straighter course. “Many of us felt we weren’t getting fair and reasonable compensation for our work,” says the group’s president, James Brown, owner of Rapid Body Works in Houston. He notes that different areas and insurers were using unique procedures, creating confusion and misinterpretation.
Brown explains that Andy Holder, owner of Metropolitan Collision, also in Houston, began contacting body shops the first part of 2009, and by that September HABA became a registered nonprofit association. Holder is now vice president of the group.
“Together, we could strategize and agree on standards and procedures to improve business for all of us, so that consumers could be ensured their vehicles were being restored to their safe pre-loss condition,” says Brown, whose nine-year-old company is ICAR Platinum and ASE certified.