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Friday, 25 January 2019 19:31

New ASA Executive Director Ray Fisher Shares His Goals for the Industry

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Ray Fisher stepped into the role of ASA executive director in January 2019. Ray Fisher stepped into the role of ASA executive director in January 2019.

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Recently appointed Automotive Service Association (ASA) Executive Director Ray Fisher held a press conference on Thursday, Jan. 10 to provide some information on his plans and goals as he transitions into his new leadership responsibilities.

 

“I’m excited to bring my background into this role, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity,” Fisher stated. “We definitely want to engage our membership more. We want to listen to our members and provide venues for quicker availability. All facets of the industry across the globe are caught in different demographics and attempting to reach their constituents. We plan to utilize different mediums and platforms to reach ASA’s membership. My main goal is to represent my customer; our memberships are our customers, and it’s important that we represent them well.”

 

Fisher emphasized the association’s focus on its mission statement: to enhance the professionalism of the industry.

 

“I believe our industry is made up of a bunch of professionals, and ASA represents that professional group,” he said. “That was our foundation in 1951 and continues to be today. We plan to take that into 2019 and listen to our membership, enhancing our interactions and communications through various platforms.”

 

Looking at the long-term plans for the association, Fisher acknowledged that ASA’s board of directors has developed a strategic plan that will be reviewed over the first quarter of this year.

 

“The board works very hard for the association,” Fisher praised. “I cannot say enough about how hard these volunteers work and all they’ve done over the past months to fill the role I’m transitioning into.”

 

Fisher then discussed some of the experiences that took place during his 20+ years working in dealerships and management roles before joining ASA-Michigan in 2004 and becoming its executive director in 2010. He recounted some of the successes that the affiliate saw under his leadership, especially on the legislative front. As Fisher transitions into his role in Texas, he will also be representing ASA-MI for the next several months while the group figures out how to restructure some of its affiliates.


 

Expressing gratitude for the support he has received, Fisher explained, “I plan to carry that passion and challenge forward for the national group. We are only going to be successful if we engage our membership. Joining a country club doesn’t make you a better tennis player, but it gives you an opportunity to get involved and improve your game. We need member shops to get involved and improve their game.

 

“ASA is focused on giving back to the industry. Everything we do will be based on our membership’s drive and needs. I like to be proactive and use the windshield, not the rearview mirror. Education and training are what make us all better.”

 

Fisher elaborated on how his role with the affiliate chapter led to his involvement with the national organization.

 

“The affiliates represent the local members and work hard to bring local programs to their region, chapter or state,” he said. “They are vital to delivering our message because the quicker we get the message out, the better we all are. We plan to revisit the affiliate model to determine how to best help them succeed and enhance that for everyone. ASA’s success is based on affiliates representing their areas well, and we also plan to explore how we can reach areas where we don’t currently have affiliates.”

 

When asked about changes ASA may see under his leadership, Fisher stated, “We are working diligently to be more interactive and more time-friendly. We plan to utilize Facebook Live going forward and to constantly make sure our feeds are available to members and the industry. We represent our members, and in turn, we represent the industry. I’m really excited about the things we have coming and like to use my passion and background to ask the challenging questions, look at the future and prepare for it.”

 

Turning to ASA’s legislative initiatives, Fisher discussed Washington, DC Representative Bob Redding’s work to ensure OEM procedures are used as a proper source of information. There will also be legislative focus on telematics and who owns that information.


 

Fisher stressed, “We have to make sure we have access for different technologies and also that we look at OEM procedures. We have to make sure we are at the table and having conversations with manufacturers and legislators. It’s important that we have legislative representation for our industry, and Bob is invaluable in D.C.”

 

In addition to legislation, training is a vital component to ASA providing members with what they need to be successful. While the details have not been completely ironed out yet, Fisher plans to deliver more content going forward that will hit every aspect of the automotive business. ASA will also continue to host monthly webinars.

 

Fisher stressed, “I am all about training. As a manager, I was one of the first dealers in my area to have I-CAR Gold [status], certified welding techs and more. I don’t like to be a follower; I like to be a leader, and that will carry forth in my new role.”

 

Noting the importance of change in the industry, Fisher identified one of the industry’s biggest challenges as “making sure we don’t bury our heads in the sand. We need to look for the opportunity of what’s next. Our mechanical operations and collision operations committees do a great job of bringing important issues to us, and we want to utilize these volunteer committees much more through polls and surveys. The biggest thing we need to do is prepare the industry for upcoming changes, but we have the personnel in place and the right people doing the right things to keep these messages coming in a timely manner.”

 

Many more questions about ASA’s future will be addressed at the Annual Meeting from April 30 through May 2, Fisher anticipated. Multiple topics for different generations will be discussed at the meeting, including succession planning. Fisher invited everyone to come learn more at the meeting.

 

As the webinar drew to a close, Fisher stated, “I want to use my passion to give back and represent ASA’s membership. It’s important that the industry has a structured association to deliver messages and represent the industry like we do at ASA. Sometimes, you fall into the mode of simply trying to maintain, but we need to make sure our goals are priorities and our priorities are what’s right for the industry. We’re here for the industry.”

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