According to Mike Swift, President of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), ARA is jumping into the new year feet first as they explore some very important issues impacting their industry.
On September 18, the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) hosted their Cars, Careers and Celebrities event in Chicago, and it was a complete success, according to Brandon Eckenrode, Director of Development for CREF.
Across the country, collision repair industry training programs face jeopardy due to a lack of funding, and although it seems like summer just began, classes will be back in session in a blink of an eye. While students enjoy the beach and make memories in the sun, their instructors are already busy plotting how to provide the best possible technical education with limited budgets and resources. The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) invites the industry to partner with their organization to ensure that the next generation of collision repair professionals graduate with the skills necessary to be useful to their future employers. Brandon Eckenrode, Director of Development for CREF, believes, "Together, we can make an impact on the fall semester and beyond!"
On March 25-27, the 15th International Automobile Recycling Congress (IARC) was held in Berlin, Germany, and the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) interests were represented by ARA CEO Michael Wilson and ARA Past President Ed MacDonald.
Because ARA represents over 4500 professional automotive recyclers through direct and affiliated chapters in the US and 15 countries internationally, “an ARA presence at international automotive recycling events is important,” Wilson states. “The IARC is an opportunity to hear directly from our international members and grow ARA’s voice internationally. While ARA members’ business facilities differ from facility to facility, there is significant commonality in the global issues facing the professional automotive recycling industry. Additionally, the automotive industry worldwide is becoming more and more integrated. Specific automotive recycling activity is no different, with a number of entities within the industry expanding internationally."
The Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) is preparing for a busy month in March with several conferences and their annual Hill Day and State Legislative Summit. Their series of events includes the Greater Midwest Auto Recycling Expo, the ARA Annual Hill Day, the ARA State Legislative Summit, the International Automobile Recycling Congress, and the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association’s Annual Convention.
For most people, New Year’s Eve is a time to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the incoming year. Collision repair industry associations have also started preparing for next years by setting their sights on what they can do to improve the industry for their members. Several association leaders shared their New Year’s Resolutions for 2015 with Autobody News.
From record snowfalls in the southern U.S. to a missing Malaysian airplane to the fear of an Ebola outbreak, 2014 was a memorable, if somewhat frightening, year around the world. In the American collision repair industry, 2014 was riddled with lawsuits against insurers’ unfair business practices and other battles for the rights of collision repair professionals, but industry associations still managed to provide some positive experiences for their members throughout the year. As the New Year rolls around, Autobody News asked a handful of association leaders about the most memorable things their associations did in 2014.
On Saturday, August 16, the Atlanta I-CAR Committee held their 6th Annual Rockin’ Car Show at the Hooters restaurant in Kennesaw, GA. Beautiful weather and an excellent turnout of over 55 custom vehicles contributed to a successful event.
The awarded trophies and prizes were donated by local collision repair industry businesses as a show of support for the event. The Atlanta I-CAR Committee also held a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction, raising over $3400. The proceeds from the event will benefit the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), and funds will be used to support GA students.
Over the past six years, the Atlanta I-CAR Committee has donated approximately $100,000 to CREF in funds raised at their annual golf tournaments and car shows. Terry Fortner, Chairman of CREF’s Board of Directors, attended the car show to discuss CREF’s mission with attendees.
For the second year in a row, Travis Peck, lead deejay of Radigital Studios, donated his time and skills to provide music and entertainment at the Committee’s event. He also plans to support the Rockin’ Car Show again next year.
During the Rockin’ Car Show, a presentation was held to award a check to the student who was the winner of the Atlanta I-CAR Scholarship for post-secondary collision education, and both collision instructors from Maxwell High School of Technology were in attendance as well. They also recognized the Skills USA student who received travel expense assistance from the Atlanta I-CAR Committee which allowed him to attend the national contest.
Gerry Poirier, Chairman of the Atlanta I-CAR Committee, states “the committee’s goal is to help replenish our dwindling technician base and our fundraising has been accomplished by the support of the many great collision industry businesses in the area, including shops, insurers, parts suppliers, paint manufacturers and rental partners.”
At 7:30am CST on Tuesday, August 26, attorney John Eaves Jr and Bill Fowler, owner of Bill Fowler’s Bodyworks in Southaven MS, attempted to raise consumer awareness of the national lawsuit Eaves filed earlier this year when they appeared on the Drake and Zeke Show, a popular morning radio show in the Memphis, TN area. The reason for their guest appearance was to explain the lawsuit to consumers and educate them on their rights during the collision repair process in hopes of raising awareness about this important issue impacting collision repair facilities across the country.
Though Halloween is just around the corner, witches, ghosts and vampires aren’t the scariest things on the minds of collision repair professionals across the nation this October; what these experts find terrifying is the amount of undue influence the insurance industry, a third-party entity, exerts on their repair practices and their businesses as a whole.
During the weekend of September 26-28, ASA-IL held their annual Chicago Automotive Network (CAN) Conference at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, IL. With over 200 participants, including 150 who attended training sessions, ASA-IL’s Executive Director Donna Kelly and Co-Executive Director Deb Bullwinkel deemed the event a success. Kelly notes, “it went really well and was very exciting. It was great to see so many new faces enjoying our jam-packed schedule, and we received a lot of positive feedback on the training we offered and the new venue – many people said they’d definitely be back next year.”
After Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell filed a lawsuit in August against State Farm, accusing the insurer of illegally forcing LA collision repair facilities to install unsafe parts on consumers’ vehicles, his allusion to these parts as “nothing more than used junkyard parts” created quite a stir amongst professional automotive recyclers across the country who were offended by the derogatory term and connotations thereof.
Michael Wilson, CEO of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), and David Gold, Secretary of ARA and co-owner of Standard Auto Wreckers, quickly took up arms to defend their profession while Caldwell clarified his position as being pro-consumer rather than anti-recycled parts.
Over the past two issues (see August and September Autobody News), industry attorney Erica Eversman has offered some insights into the various types of documentation that collision repair facilities can use to protect their interests and help them obtain proper compensation for work performed. In the final installment in this series on repair documentation, Eversman helps explain the purpose for and how to use the Parts Notice/Authorization and the Indemnification/Hold Harmless Letter, with a few additional documents.