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Monday, 03 December 2018 22:35

ASA-TX Annual Meeting Features Best-in-Industry Training

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John Firm, ASA-Texas director (center), joins Advance Auto Parts’ sales team members during their break from the Sponsor Showcase. John Firm, ASA-Texas director (center), joins Advance Auto Parts’ sales team members during their break from the Sponsor Showcase.


On Nov. 17, ASA-Texas hosted its 2018 Annual Meeting and Training Event at the Downtown Fort Worth Hilton Hotel in Fort Worth, TX, attracting attendees from all around the state.


The event delivered on the association’s promises of best-in-industry training, awesome networking, prizes and surprises galore.


According to ASA-TX President Robert Gruener, “The day-long event was a success in terms of member attendance and participation. Owners of collision repair shops and vehicle/automobile service shops and their management/tech employees spent the day in professional development seminars, which were divided into two training tracks: management and new technologies.”


Training ran from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and featured several educational options for attendees. In the morning, from 8 a.m. until 11:45 a.m., Jack Hammond, senior instructor for the Automotive Training Institute, taught “What Are the Holes in Your Metrics?” The presentation provided an in-depth exploration of the details needed to fix a dysfunctional service check and improve customer service. During the same time slot, “Understanding the Control Area Network (CAN)” was presented by Bernie Thompson, trainer for the World Pace Training Institute, who reviewed how CAN works, explained how to diagnose the system and discussed how to properly repair bus problems.


The day was broken up by ASA-TX’s Annual Meeting Luncheon, which featured a keynote presentation by Tony Molla, vice president of ASA National.


Gruener shared, “Tony gave an in-depth review of the internal changes at ASA-National and an overview of the sweeping changes that are expected to shape our industry during the short- and mid-term future.”


From 1:45 p.m. until 6 p.m., “Succession: What’s Involved?” addressed the challenges that shop owners face when considering retirement. Hammond explored the practical and legal considerations shop owners must think about when making their succession plans. Simultaneously, Thompson’s “Understanding Fuel Injection” focused on simplifying complex technology through the dissection of fuel injection system issues.


“The attendees felt the training sessions were very valuable,” Gruener stated. “They also enjoyed the opportunity to network with other ASA members from throughout the state and to share their experiences and solutions to common management issues.”

The ASA-TX Annual Meeting also included a state-of-the-association report delivered by the association’s outgoing president and the election of new board of directors officers for the 2019--2020 term. In addition to Gruener’s election as president, Rod Burtch was elected as president elect and Kathryn van der Pol was elected as treasurer. The role of secretary has not yet been chosen. Chris Murphy will serve as the immediate past president, and the board’s directors will include John Firm, David Wolfe and Glenn Young.


During the Sponsor Showcase, attendees enjoyed special deals from representatives of major national and regional distributors.


“We received beneficial feedback from the attendees and the supplier-sponsors who participated in our Sponsor Showcase. These included Advance Auto Parts, Auto Zone, Synchrony Financial, WORLDPAC Training Institute (WTI) and Automotive Training Institute (ATI),” Gruener noted.


Additionally, the event offered an opportunity to connect with old friends and make new ones. ASA-TX’s incoming officers and leaders were also present and eager to collect member feedback in an effort to add value to the association’s membership.


“This year’s meeting exceeded our goals in terms of attendees and member service. We had members from throughout the state attend in far greater numbers than the 2017 meeting. This was due in large part to the addition of the seminar series, which we did not have in 2017,” Gruener said.


He said he believes that association-sponsored events are important to members and the industry as a whole because “they serve two main functions: 1) They provide a tangible example for members of how the association benefits them, and 2) They give members a chance to experience networking and a sense of camaraderie, [which] are important parts of WHY they belong to a professional association.”


ASA-TX will use the feedback received this year to improve upon its 2019 Annual Meeting.


Gruener confirmed, “We plan to build on this year’s momentum by expanding our training sessions and networking opportunities to make the meeting more attractive to members and to get them more involved in the association in general.”


For more information on ASA-TX and its future events, visit

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