Wednesday, 24 October 2012 08:51

Indiana Auto Body Association is the Sole Collision Association in the Hoosier State

The Indiana Auto Body Association is the state’s only organization serving collision repairers.

The Hoosier State has had collision-repair associations for some time, beginning with the Independent Garage Owners of Indiana in the 1970s. Following that, the state had affiliate associations with national groups such as the Automotive Service Association and the Alliance of Automotive Service Professionals. The last of these disbanded in the mid ‘90s.

“In 2004 a group of shop owners and suppliers decided that a new body shop association needed to be formed,” said Tony Passwater, executive director of Indianapolis-based IABA.

This effort was led by Aaron Clark, Collision Solutions, and included Larry Phelps, Elite Collision Repair, Steve Larkin, Larkin Collision Center, Craig Sullivan, Sullivan Equipment, Bill Webb, Grinstead Group, and Pat Johnson, Brothers Body Shop.

Tony Passwater, of AEII, became the acting executive director in 2005 after the founding members recognized that they could not manage the association or its growth. From a third-generation collision repair family, Passwater taught vocational education from 1983–1989, then worked at I-CAR, 1989–1997. He began a consulting company in 1986 and in 1997 began working full time with collision-repair shops.

On a national level, the IABA is an affiliate member of SCRS and an associate member of the ASA and is also a member of the NFIB and BBB. The association also represents Indiana collision repair interests at CIC, NACE, SEMA and I-CAR.

Statewide, the IABA does not have a lobbyist at the capital, but the association pursues industry concerns with legislators and other decision-makers regarding steering, short pays, labor-rate suppression and insurance intervention, Passwater explains.

In addition, the association supports Angie’s List businesses, is a partnering member of CARS Co-operative and a partnering member of the EPA GreenSweep Initiative for a Better Environment.

The IABA also provides independent, accurate labor rate survey information by county; insurance-rating-survey information for consumers; consumer support for improper repairs and claims practices; and is a conduit for complaints to the IDOI, EPA, IDEM and OSHA.

Other member benefits include liability and worker compensation insurance discounted rates; Discounted Credit Card Processing Program; CARS Co-operative savings and rebate programs; shop listing in the association Shop Locator; training, education such as free online NACE and CARS Programs, Indiana IDEM training, webinars and I-CAR Equivalency Test preparation materials; equipment, job posting and parts for sale forum; newsletter subscriptions; data backup services; and various discounts on products and services.

Passwater is assisted by IABA board members Mike Hartman, president; Scott Blake, first vice president; Debbie Moore, second vice president; and Lora Hackleman-Ehrenberg, secretary/treasurer. They serve staggered two-year terms and are elected by the membership.

“IABA may seem just like all associations from the past, but it is not,” says Hartman, a body shop owner for 20 years and IABA member since 2006. “We have bi-monthly meetings that we invite future members to attend as our guest to see for yourself. We provide the most up-to-date information about what is going on across the world, nation, state, and your local area, so you can make good, sound business decisions.”

Moore adds, “I’m excited about the benefits that IABA offers its members. Our meetings give members a chance to share ideas, concerns and work on ways to improve our industry. In the words of Helen Keller, ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.’ She and her husband, Allen, own Diamond Collision Services in Avon, west of Indianapolis.

The IABA has about 100 members and is growing, Passwater says. Members pay dues according to a schedule: single shop, $395; multi-shops, two or three, $750; four-plus facilities, $1,000; and technical schools, $150.

Sponsorships for IABA nonshop members are also available at these levels: Bronze: $500; Silver: $1,000; Gold: $1,500; and Platinum, $2,000.

The third biannual convention and technology showcase will be Feb. 22 and 23, 2013, in Indianapolis at Lincoln College of Technology. On Aug. 23, the first Golf Outing for the association took place at Noble Hawk Golf Course in Kendallville, near Fort Wayne. “It was a nine-hole scramble, and we had a pretty good turn-out with 13 teams,” Hartman says. The event raised about $1,200 for a local organization to be announced.

“As with any association, our biggest issue is ourselves,” Passwater says. “There is so much we can accomplish together, but so difficult to get everyone engaged. We spend a great deal of time in providing timely information to keep everyone in the state informed, but still a majority sits on the sidelines and allows a small number of dedicated industry members do all the work for them.”

“That said,” he adds, “the recent increase in memberships and the value we are continuing to provide our members makes me very optimistic about the future of our association and serving the Indiana collision-repair industry.”

For more about IABA, see www.iaba.info or call 317.290.0611.