Monday, 31 December 2007 09:00

2008 Auto Entrepreneur Program at ASU includes NABC presentation

Last spring representatives from the National Auto Body Council (NABC) were invited to make presentations as part of the curriculum for Arizona State University’s Certificate for Automotive Entrepreneurs and Leaders program (CAEL).


The engagement was so successful, that the speakers, Bob Schubert of Impact Auto Body, Mesa, Arizona and Mike Quinn, 911 Collision Centers, Tucson, Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada, have been asked to participate in a special offering of the CAEL program, the Leadership Education for Automotive Dealerships program (LEAD). NABC Secretary and Autobody News columnist Janet Chaney will also participate.

The CAEL program is an accredited program offered by the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State, one of the largest business schools in the United States. CAEL provides Arizona State students with the opportunity to apply business acumen to the automotive industry and build leadership skills to help instigate changes in dealership management. LEAD provides a conduit through which those at other universities can enroll in CAEL. A prerequisite for any student in the program is a business degree or enrollment in a business major.

CAEL was initiated in part by Ford Motor Company’s Dealer Development Office, which wanted to develop a program at a leading university that focused on the automotive industry. Retired Ford executive, John Whelan, is an Arizona State faculty associate for the CAEL program. In addition to teaching, he works with the school to develop relevant curriculum for CAEL and LEAD.

From Whelan’s perspective, NABC’s participation is a key to the success of CAEL and LEAD. “The collision repair element of a dealership operation is not only growing in importance as a profit center, it is getting increasingly sophisticated to manage,” he said. “We knew that if we wanted to provide a well-rounded course of study, body shop management needed to be a significant part of the mix.”


Whelan began to research the collision repair industry and, after reading an article about the NABC, discovered that Chaney lived nearby. He contacted her to discuss the matter, and asked Chaney if she would speak to Arizona State students.

“John was looking for a two-hour presentation showing a broad overview of the collision industry,” explained Chaney. “His phone call was a wonderful surprise. It opened up a great opportunity for NABC-to speak at a prestigious school to high level students with a desire to come into our industry. That’s a vital piece of our future.”

Because of scheduling conflicts, Chaney was unable to participate in the spring class, so Schubert and Quinn stepped in to assist. The rest is history: their participation was well-received and NABC is back again this year. The NABC presentation remains the first and only collision repair presentation ever used at the school.

“Part of the uniqueness of CAEL is that we bring together guest speakers, who are experts in their respective fields, that can offer first-hand insights about automotive customer service,” says Gail Christian, assistant director of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “NABC fits this profile perfectly and we are more than pleased that representatives from their organization are back to contribute this year.”

LEAD consists of one intensive seven-day session in two consecutive winter terms at Arizona State with a summer internship arranged during the summer between the two winter sessions. Some of the required work is completed by students through remote communication. This term’s session is taking place January 3-9, 2008, with NABC’s section, “Auto Body Overview and Profitability Opportunities,” taking place on January 7.

The opportunity to be part of LEAD falls directly in line with the goals of NABC. “Speaking to students and being recognized as an authority in the collision industry helps broaden NABC’s scope,” states NABC Executive Director Chuck Sulkala.

“More importantly, it addresses a core component of our mission: attracting and encouraging highly qualified professionals to enter our industry. It is an honor to be part of this prestigious program, and we look forward to having a long and fruitful relationship with Arizona State University.”