The Auto Body Association of Texas (ABAT) hosted its 5th Annual Texas Auto Body Trade Show at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas, on Sept. 20 and 21.
Attracting hundreds of collision repair industry professionals from Texas and around the country, the show broke every previous year’s attendance record, with attendees excited to network with peers, engage in invaluable educational seminars, and learn about exhibitors’ latest products and services. ABAT also used the opportunity to publicly announce its decision to merge with the Houston Auto Body Association (HABA) to create a larger united front and better serve the industry at-large.
ABAT and HABA have had a close relationship for several years. ABAT President Burl Richards communicates with HABA President John Kopriva frequently to discuss what each association has going on. Richards explained, “ABAT and HABA have been joined at the hip for some time since we’re all striving to improve the collision repair industry in Texas and create stronger businesses that perform safe, quality repairs. A lot of ABAT’s past successes have been increased due to HABA’s support and involvement, and we believe that merging the two associations will give us a louder voice and make us that much stronger.”
“Together, I believe that we can get more traction and accomplish more for this industry,” Richards continued. “We want to move the needle, to make changes in the collision repair industry. The status quo, quite frankly, just isn’t good enough; we need results! If we can’t move the needle, all the hard work many of us do behind the scenes and all the time we take out of our lives to dedicate to the industry is all for naught. We don’t want to simply say we’re an association and get together once a year to network – we want to effect real change for the industry’s benefit.”
Before the public announcement, both Richards and Kopriva presented the idea to their respective boards, and both groups voted unanimously for the merger. According to Richards, “Everyone was 100% on board and really excited about it.”