Tuesday, 28 February 2006 17:00

CAA conference lights up Disneyland

Written by David McClune and Gigi Walker
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The California Autobody Association (CAA) was represented by eighteen of its state chapters as they converged on the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim for the 2006 1st Quarter Board of Directors Meeting and Leadership Conference. 

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The CAA Leadership Conference was held on Friday and focused on training the state chapter board representatives for 2006.

Swearing in the 2006 officers was first on the agenda at Saturday's meeting. The new officers were sworn in by CAA Executive Director David McClune, as follows:

• President, Ron Guilliams, Fix Auto, Ontario

• 1st Vice President, David Mello, Anderson-Behel Body Shop, Santa Clara

• Vice President of Finance, Ted Stein, Drew Ford, La Mesa

• Treasurer, Don Feeley, Jr., City Body & Frame, Riverside

• Secretary, Gigi Walker, Walker's Auto Body & Fleet Repair, Concord

• Past President, Steve Sturken, Sturken Auto Body, San Jose.

The association acknowledged and welcomed the formation of three new chapters within the state - Santa Barbara, Central Valley,

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CAA's 2006 leadership includes: Gigi Walker,secretary; Dave Mello, first vice president; Steve Sturken, past president; Ted Stein, vice president of finance; Ron Guilliams, president and David McClune, executive director.

and Redwood Empire, and the restarting of the Golden Gate chapter, with Marc Sebastian of Blake's Auto Body representing the Golden Gate chapter as vice president. He announced that the first meeting will be on March 23 with guest speaker Toby Chess. The Golden Gate Chapter covers all of San Francisco County as well as Marin County.

President Todd Bishop, Dibbles Col-lision Works, Santa Rosa, represented the Redwood Empire chapter, and President Abel Gonzales, Diamond Finish Auto Body, Santa Barbara, represented the Santa Barbara chapter.

Hot topic

Legislative issues were the hot topics of the meeting. Jack Molodanof, CAA lobbyist, discussed AB 303 and AB 1852. AB 303 would allow insurance companies to operate a drop off location for the insured and then negotiate with outside vendors for the repair of the vehicle, without the car owner ever meeting the repair shop. Backed by Progressive Insurance, this bill would exempt them from having to apply for a Bureau of Automotive Repair license even though they would tear down the cars for inspections, re-inspect after repairs are completed, and have the owners sign off to repair.

The other bill discussed was AB1852 which addresses the aftermarket parts issues and certification of these parts in California. The CAA put out a survey for members to answer question about the issues of this bill and whether government should be involved in this type of legislation. Results are still pending.


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As special recognition, David McClune presented Chip Foose with a plaque making him an Honorary member of the California Autobody Association. 

Creator and star of the popular TLC show "Overhaulin," Chip Foose of Foose Design was the special guest speaker for lunch. Foose comes from an automotive background of body and paint and shared some of his life's journeys in the automotive design world. He indicated how much his show "Overhaulin" has been rewarding as far as giving back and his warmth made the association members feel like family. As special recognition, McClune presented Foose a plaque as an Honorary member of the California Autobody Association. After the presentation, CAA members had the opportunity to talk and take photos of Foose.

Dynamic speaker

The well-attended afternoon session was led by Michael Quinn, 911 Collision Repair Centers, who spoke on how to "Better Market Your Body Shop" through media and brand recognition as a recipe for success. His vibrant personality and genuine outreach to other shop owners was refreshing and has entrenched him as the Emeril Lagasse of collision repair.

One of the other afternoon speakers, Cory King, attorney with Fine, Boggs, Cope & Perkins, and new CAA benefit company for litigation prevention, spoke about legal issues regarding employees and how to better control employment practices and management of employee records.

The afternoon session concluded with Molodanof reviewing important laws and regulations that shop owners need to be aware of.


Award banquet

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Cindy Shillito accepts the Associate Member of the Year award for family-owned Imperial Radiator, Torrance, from Ron Guilliams, CAA president.

Eagerly anticipated, the Saturday evening Awards Banquet was full of surprises. Special chapter members of the year plaques were given out to the following members for their committed dedication to their hapter and association: Agri-Center-Cheri Myers; Antelope Valley-Marla Stull; East Bay-Lisa Daves; Capitol-Diane Anderson; Feather River-Alan Sutfin; Glendale/Foothill-Chuck Reyes; Grass Valley/Auburn-Vicki Myers; Redwood Empire-Mason Forkey; San Diego-Shon Craft; Santa Clara-Joe Dominguez; South Coast-Robert Hornedo; Orange County-Cindy Shillito and Dionne Cox (Co-winners).

The new CARPAC award, which is given to a group or individual that has helped the CAA political action committee, went to the Santa Clara chapter. The Santa Clara chapter has raised over $27,000 in the last two years for CARPAC.

The Associate Member of the Year award went to Imperial Radiator this year and was accepted by Cindy Shillito, whose family owns the company in Torrance.

Chapter President of the Year award was given to Matt Stevens of the Capitol chapter. Matt has served as president for the last two years and was responsible for a number of fund raisers for the chapter.

Ron Guilliams of Fix Auto, Anaheim, was the unanimous winner of the Member of the Year/Darrell Mallot Memorial Award. Guilliams attended a number of chapter meetings in 2005 as guest speaker and presented his customer service seminar for the members.

Rick Johnson, B & J Auto Body, Rancho Cordova was given the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is given to special CAA members who have given countless hours of their time to the CAA and to the industry throughout their career. Johnson was unable to attend the meeting but will be presented with the award at an upcoming CAA meeting.

The evening wrapped up with entertainment from local comedian and magician Chris Blackmore. who has performed on numerous TV shows. Blackmore kept the audience in stitches throughout the entire evening. His teenage experience in the autobody trade enhanced his presentation as he used his trade knowledge to further connect with the audience.


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