Shop Owners and Insurance Executives Talk
In February, shop owners and other members of the ABAA met in New York City with insurance company executives to discuss industry matters of mutual concern. Both shop owners and company executives were concerned about parts availability. Shop owners wanted to meet with car-maker executives. The OE’s had become their own worst enemy by ignoring the collision repair industry.
Finding New Technicians
Associations were starting to address the need for more trained collision repair technicians. By early 1970, soldiers were being trained for the auto body trade at Fort Bragg in North Carolina through a cooperative effort between the United States Army and the ABAA. The six-week course familiarized soldiers, close to their discharge date, with the collision repair industry.
On the east coast, Malcom Slagel, president of the Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association, and an active member of IGOA of Virginia, said the only way to solve auto body industry problems is with one voice. To achieve one voice, Slagel proposes the combining of IGOA and the ABAA—the two largest associations in the US at the time. In the early summer of 1970, members of the IGOA and ABAA met in Washington, D.C., to discuss joining the two organizations. Both associations realized they are after many of the same goals and can achieve more with one louder, single voice. IGOA and the ABAA left the meeting to discuss the issues with their respective board of directors.
In the fall of 1970, members of both the ABAA and IGOA met again—this time in New York—and agreed that combining the two organizations was the right thing to do. Reasons given include:
- One voice representing all industry people will have great influence in Washington, D.C.
- Unification will eliminate covering the same ground twice.
- Unification will establish positive certification and standardization.
- One unified group will have a greater potential for growth.
- Among non-members, there will be no question as to what association to join.
- Unification can establish better communications.
- One voice will be better at solving many of the problems with the insurance industry.
- Unification could make a national advertising program possible.