On April 13, AASP/NJ proudly supported the 2019 SkillsUSA State Conference collision repair competition.
The conference took place at the Somerset County Vo-Tech School in Bridgewater, NJ, with student competitions demonstrating their skills in plastic repair, estimating, structure, welding and sheet metal. Jerry McNee, AASP/NJ president, who volunteered as a SkillsUSA judge, stated, “It's good that we can give back to the industry. I'm glad we can donate to the cause, the winner and SkillsUSA. We need talent in this industry and this is one avenue where we can start."
Anibal Sierra (Passaic County Technical Institute) won the competition. Matt Brandner (Hunterdon County Polytech) won second place and Nicholas Donnadio (Somerset County Vocational and Technical School) won third place. In addition to winning a fully-stocked toolbox, Sierra will compete at the 55th Annual National Leadership and Skills Conference held in Louisville, KY, this June.
Each competitor received a gift bag thanks to the sponsors who made the event possible. This year’s sponsors included AASP/NJ, Auto Body Distributing Co, Inc., Bridgewater Collision Repair, Britland Autobody, Central Paint, J&E Auto Body and Ultimate Collision Repair. Volunteer judges included McNee, Chuy Barrera of Johnny’s Auto Body, Glenn Morello from Bridgewater Collision, Pete Ritter of Ritter Full Service, Berrs Rocha from Bridgewater Collision and Tyler Tallamy of Port Murray Auto Sales, Auto Body & Classic Restoration. Charity Ritter donated her time as event coordinator for the second year in a row, and Anthony Thompson served as donation coordinator.
Next, AASP/NJ will hold two seminars focused on addressing labor rates and procedures issues using the Variable Rate System (VRS), created by National AutoBodyResearch, a research and consulting company committed to restoring free-market labor rate prices. Charles Bryant, executive director of AASP/NJ, shared, “This system provides the basics to demand fair pay and reasonable labor rates. This is a must-attend meeting that no shop owner can afford to miss.”
McNee added, “There are so many benefits to the Variable Rate System, and we need to support it. It’s the only independent market study out there that has anything to do with rates. We can’t depend on the insurance companies to determine our prevailing rates as they will just tell us what they want to pay. We have to stand up for our rights and at the end of the day, there is strength in numbers. Everyone should come to these sessions.”
On May 22, the first VRS seminar will be held in the northern part of the state at the Holiday Inn in Totowa. AASP/NJ will move south on May 23 for the second seminar at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Toms River. Both meetings start at 7:30 P.M. and will include food and beverages. Pre-registration is required and is free for association members; non-members pay $75. To register, call 732-922-8909.
For more information about AASP/NJ and its future events, visit aaspnj.org.