In preparation for the AASP/NJ's 35th annual NORTHEAST Automotive Services show, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) held their first-ever NORTHEAST exhibitor boot camp on January 12. The AASP/NJ hoped that this would help exhibitors be more successful at this year's show. The three-hour seminar was held by Susan Friedmann, the "Trade Show Coach." Friedmann is an author and expert in training exhibitors on how to improve and get the most out of their trade show experiences.
“We really didn’t know what to expect when we first found Susan,” said AASP/NJ President Jeff McDowell. “Her qualifications were outstanding so we didn’t doubt what she would bring to the table. We just weren’t sure how our exhibitors would respond.”
The AASP/NJ took surveys following the seminar; the outcome of these surveys encouraged them to continue to hold the bootcamp annually.
“Boot Camp was very informative,” one attendee replied. “It had lots of good information and addressed a lot of mistakes that everyone takes for granted.” Another added, “It covered all aspects of booth presentation at the show. Very comprehensive and well paced. I would recommend this boot camp to colleagues if they want to benefit their company as part of any trade show.”
NORTHEAST™ 2012 takes place March 9, 10 and 11, 2012 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center of Secaucus, NJ. For more information on the show and AASP/NJ, please visit www.aaspnjnortheast.com.
Banking and Insurance Department Commissioner Tom Considine left his post effective Feb. 10, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced on January 30.
Considine plans to return to work in the private sector, according to Insurance Journal. He will become the new chief operating officer of MagnaCare in March, after leaving the NJ Banking and Insurance Department. MagnaCare is a health plan management company. At a news conference in Trenton, NJ, Gov. Christie also nominated Ken Kobylowski to succeed Commissioner Considine. Kobylowski has served as chief of staff to Considine since 2010, and acting director of banking since last October.
Considine served as a vice president with MetLife legal affairs for 17 years prior to serving as NJ commissioner. Considine also previously served as a litigation associate at Connell, Foley and Geiser, a New Jersey law firm.
On February 3, Chris Abraham, President of Service King Collision Repair Centers, announced the appointment of Justin Regan as the company's new Vice President of the Houston market.
In November of 2008, Abraham accepted the challenge of assembling a team to develop the Houston market with the goal of having a multi-location collision repair operation to compliment the company's success in the Dallas Ft. Worth market. Just last month, Abraham the former Vice President of Houston was promoted to President of Service King.
Abraham said, "Justin Regan is a respected and talented teammate who will serve the Houston market proud." Abraham added that Regan will continue building on their recent expansion in Houston with a new location scheduled to open in Clearlake, Texas within the next three months. Regan will continue his goals of implementing the Service King culture into a relatively new market and working closely with Service King leadership to maintain consistency within the organization between markets to ensure Service King's success.
Regan joined the Service King team in 1996. He began his Service King career as a service adviser and within a few years moved into management. Regan has managed 2 Service King locations, including the opening of the Grand Prairie facility in 2000. While under Regan's leadership, his Grand Prairie team won 5 straight Top Shops as well as the esteemed annual "Morgan Award" for the top performing location within the Service King organization.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has announced the state is investing $1.2 million through the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) in Continental Automotive Systems Inc., to relocate production of its sensors and actuators from Europe and Asia to its plant in Seguin, TX, creating 300 new jobs and $113 million in capital investment.
"Employers from around the nation and all over the world continue to look to Texas as the premier location for business expansion, relocation and job growth thanks to our low taxes, reasonable and predictable regulations, fair legal system and skilled workforce," Gov. Perry said. "This TEF investment in Continental will create hundreds of jobs, pump millions of dollars in capital investment into the area, and further strengthen Seguin's diverse economy."
Continental is one of the world's largest automotive industry suppliers. The company manufactures engine, transmission and hybrid control units at its plant in Seguin, and will begin producing sensors and actuators. Continental AG, the parent company, also has facilities in Houston and Uvalde.
"Today's announcement would not have been possible without the strong support of and collaboration with the state of Texas and Texas Enterprise Fund, Seguin Economic Development Corporation, City of Seguin and Guadalupe County officials," Kregg Wiggins, senior vice president, NAFTA Powertrain Division for Continental said. "We truly appreciate their support and look forward to expanding our business in this region."
The Quality Parts Coalition (QPC) has announced its support for collision repair parts legislation introduced February 2 by U.S. House Judiciary Committee Members Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). The QPC urges quick passage of the bill by the House Judiciary Committee in early 2012 and is looking forward to working with members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to introduce a companion bill very soon.
The new House bill – Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade, and Sales (PARTS) Act – would amend section 271 of title 35 of current U.S. design patent law, reducing from 14 to 2.5 years the period during which car companies can enforce their design patents on collision repair parts against alternative suppliers. The period for such enforcement would begin upon the first offer for sale of the car model containing the design patented part in any country. This amendment would enable relatively quick access to affordable substitutions for American car owners. Australia and a number of European countries have already passed similar repair clause laws.
“The Quality Parts Coalition praises U.S. Representatives Issa and Lofgren for their leadership in protecting the rights of American drivers,” said Eileen Sottile, executive director of the QPC. “We urge Congress to pass this bill so that consumers can continue to have access to affordable, quality alternative replacement parts.”
According to the QPC, American consumers have benefited from the availability of quality, lower-cost alternative auto replacement parts to repair their damaged vehicles for more than 60 years. On average, competition in the collision parts industry saves consumers approximately $1.5 billion a year, according to economists at the Microeconomic Consulting & Research Associates. But car companies, which control more than 72 percent of the market, are trying to block competition. They are getting and enforcing design patents against the alternative collision parts industry – at the expense of consumers and businesses. If they succeed, American car owners will be left with very limited options and added costs and insurance premiums when repairing their vehicles. If Congress does not act, many older and lower-income Americans will also end up paying higher prices for parts and insurance premiums or will forgo repairing their vehicles all together. In some cases, the higher cost would lead to insurance companies declaring more damaged vehicles as “total wrecks.” As a result, these consumers may be forced to replace a repairable vehicle with a new car – a purchase that for many is not feasible.
The QPC has launched a “Write Congress” widget on its website – powered by award-winning e-advocacy company POPVOX – to encourage consumers, seniors and industry leaders to tell Congress they support this bill.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Geico insurance for doing the right thing for our mutual customers. As many of you know, I have been involved in a disagreement with Geico regarding the 10% discount that they take off of domestic OEM parts. In the past 2 weeks, Geico has ceased to take this discount/deduction. They have paid full OEM list price. Geico has also offered to settle my original law suit, and pay us the full amount along with court costs and attorney fees. Geico has opened up the path of communication with me and I feel that they are genuinely trying to do the right thing for our mutual customers.
Just between yesterday and today I have had two Geico claims that they have paid all labor operations, return fee/earned profit on defective aftermarket parts, color sand and polish, color tint, mechanical labor on any item that is coded with a “M” In the database. I have had discussions with local management and their management, and it appears that they want to do right by all parties.
I would also like to thank Mr. Brent Geohagan, my attorney for his legal expertise. Mr. Barrett Smith of Auto Damage Experts, for his guidance and consulting, and Mr. Ray Gunder of Gunder’s Auto center for showing all of us that it is not wrong for us to stand up for our customers, techs, and our industry. I truly believe that these three gentlemen will help transform our industry.
For background on this issue see HERE
d/b/a Boca Raton Auto Service
The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) said the Northern Michigan Body Shop Association (NMBSA) is its newest affiliate association member.
Founded in 2008, the NMBSA’s primary focus is collision repairers located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the northern tip of the state’s Lower Peninsula, although it has begun to extend into other areas in the state.
“When we first formed, a lot of shops in our area felt they were losing control over their businesses due primarily to insurance influence,” stated Sue Allor, a founding member of NMBSA who now serves as the association’s secretary. “I felt strongly, as did many others, that we had to educate ourselves to succeed in the face of our challenges—to find out what tools and processes would help us operate better; to hear what our peers had gone through and how they had met and overcome difficulties; and most importantly to become aware of our rights and protections under the law, and understand that the customer is the vehicle owner, not the insurer.”
I-CAR named Doug Schlueter National MSO Manager and Rene Rodarte as Schlueter’s successor as South Central Regional Manager.
Jeff Peevy, I-CAR Senior Director, Field Operations and Segment Development, said, “Doug will be instrumental in his new role as National MSO Manager at I-CAR. He will focus on growing the Multi Shop Operator (MSO) segment and will establish and maintain relationships, as well as work to improve operational efficiencies.
Through serving in the role of South Central Regional Manager since 2009, Schlueter has gained a clear understanding of the needs of the MSO segment and has the skills necessary to help I-CAR and the industry achieve its goals.”
Caliber Collision Centers, operator of collision repair facilities in California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas, announced Feb. 1 that it has acquired 101 Collision, a five shop MSO with locations along the Southern California coast: Westlake Village, Burbank, Oxnard, Santa Barbara and Simi Valley.
“Today’s announcement is a Caliber Collision milestone with an acquisition that brings Caliber to 100 centers. This acquisition further cements our strategic expansion plans across core markets as we provide our insurance clients with the customer focus, cost management, and operational consistency they require in today’s competitive insurance market” said Steve Grimshaw, Caliber Collision Centers’ Chief Executive Officer.
“We recognized that 101 Collision and its management team provided Caliber with the perfect opportunity to expand our market presence along the Southern California coast behind a high quality brand committed to complete customer satisfaction” added Grimshaw.
Another MSO acquisition is likely to be announced shortly.