On Dec. 10, the North Carolina Association of Collision and Automotive Repair (NCACAR) and the South Carolina Association of Collision and Automotive Repair (SCACAR) announced their imminent merger, effective Jan. 1, 2020, to form the Carolinas Collision Association (CCA).
According to CCA’s news release, the merger will “[open] up members and sponsors to opportunities that were previously unattainable.”
Josh Kent, the executive director of CCA, explained “Merging the two associations made a lot of sense strategically. Vendors can expand their reach without paying separate memberships for each state, and that allows us to organize bigger incentives for our member shops.”
CCA has retained an attorney for members, plus they are seeking lobbyist representation for future legislative initiatives. By increasing the association’s reach, the merger provides a greater opportunity to develop relationships between shops and vendors as well as for the CCA to provide more educational programs to its members.
“As NCACAR and SCACAR have both made traction and gained momentum in their respective states, the time is perfect to reach an eager audience that is thirsting for knowledge and support,” CCA wrote.
Education is the most important benefit of the merger. “We’ll have more classes and training, more ways of getting information, and more vendor incentive programs than ever before,” Kent said. “We’ll still do a lot separately, such as quarterly meetings in NC and SC, but the merger allows us to combine resources.”
Joining forces will allow CCA to host more educational programs in remote regions that NCACAR and SCACAR have not yet reached. “A lot of people don’t participate in the associations and events because of the travel distance, but CCA promises to bring the education they need directly to them,” Kent stated.
Ultimately, Kent hopes that CCA will be able to form local chapters across the association’s footprint, and those chapters would coordinate frequent training for local members.
CCA will host its first official meeting on Jan. 24 in Charlotte, NC, where members can participate in the association’s first election of officers. Currently, NCACAR President Brian Davies is serving as CCA President with SCACAR President Sarah Myers-Daniels filling the role of vice president.
Kent stressed, “It’s important to hold an election of officers because we want our members to be involved in the association, and we want to make sure they have a voice.”
Earlier this year, NCACAR and SCACAR collaborated on the Carolina’s Educational Collision Conference (CECC), and the opportunities presented by the merger indicate the 2020 event, scheduled May 1-2, will see exponential growth. CCA will kick off the event on April 30 by collaborating with the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) for a NC/SC Career Fair.
CCA has also invited other regional associations to attend in hopes of hosting an association forum on the first day of the CECC, similar to the Leadership Conference held at AASP/NJ’s NORTHEAST each year. The meeting would provide a forum for the associations to discuss their successes and struggles as well as provide consensus on the more important focuses for each group.
Previously, membership dues were $350 and $400 in North Carolina and South Carolina, respectively; the membership fee will increase to $500, but the CCA believes the additional value provided through the merger will more than offset the increase in cost.