Thursday, 21 October 2010 09:19

I-CAR Vice-Chairman Sulkala Talks at CAA East Bay Meeting

I-CAR is undergoing some major changes. The most significant part involves a new professional development program and a re-worked and updated curriculum (see related story this issue). According to Chuck Sulkala, a 35-year industry veteran, I-CAR Vice-Chairman and the President of the National Auto Body Association (NABC), I-CAR is entering a new era.

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Sulkala was the keynote speaker at a meeting held by the CAA East Bay Chapter in September.

I-CAR is changing its curriculum to contain classes that are more practical and role-based. Sulkala explained some of the changes to the 60 CAA members and guests in attendance.


“We’re making I-CAR training more relevant, so that professionals in the industry can learn things they can use in their jobs every day,” he said. “We’re trimming classes that aren’t teaching applicable skills and providing classes geared for every level of expertise needed in a shop. The end result is that we’re providing a better return on investment for the shops and offering techs’ training that’s up-to-date and performance-based.”

It’s been a long road to reach this point, but I-CAR is ready for the changes, Sulkala said. “It’s been a two-year process and a move back to our roots, in many ways. We want people to take I-CAR classes to learn skills they need to know, rather than simply taking classes to accrue points. Our approach is reward people for what you want them to do and everything we’re doing is based on that idea.”

The changes are happening at an ideal time for I-CAR, because the organization is at its height of popularity, Sulkala said. “Last year, we had 400-plus instructors and more than 1,000 volunteers giving approximately 7,600 classes, and positively influencing more than 105,000 professionals while undergoing various training classes, so I-CAR is thriving and still operating at a very high level.”

In addition, Sulkala discussed the I-CAR’s Platinum and Gold Class recognition programs and how they will change over time and shared news from the National Auto Body Council (NABC) and the organization’s Recycled Rides Program.
Johanna Wolf from Comcast spoke about a cable TV program designed specifically for body shops in the Bay Area and CAA East Bay Chapter President Lisa Daves passed out the toy trucks for the CAA East Bay Chapter’s annual Toy Truck event, to be held on November 16th at the Blackhawk Auto Museum in Danville, CA.

Other CAA News—Board Meeting
The CAA fourth quarter board meetnig will be held Saturday, Nov. 13th at the Disneyland Paradise Pier Hotel in Anaheim.  Speakers will be G.B. Outlaw to talk about business meeting facilitation; Mike Robbins, baseball player, author, and motivational speaker; and Michael Pellett, of Sherwin-Williams Automotive Refinishes.