Tell us how your active industry role evolved.
I have been active as a volunteer leader in the industry for over 10 years, starting at the state level. I have served on the Alliance of Automobile Service Providers (AASP)-Minnesota Mechanical Advisory Committee, Workforce Task Group and Board of Directors; I was Mechanical Division director in 1999 and president in 2001. The AASP-MN board appointed me as the state’s representative to the national board and I was elected president of the national AASP in 2005.
What are AASP’s major objectives for 2008?
The AASP volunteers and staff have been instrumental in the formation of the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG). The AASP plans to continue its work in helping to make the DEG an effective tool for collision repair shops to use whenever they need assistance with the accuracy of their estimating databases. We are also looking toward continued growth. AASP is always on the lookout for successful, forward-thinking and proactive affiliates to join our group. In addition, AASP is continuing our support of the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act of 2007 (HR2694).
What are some of the challenges AASP has faced in growth, membership or development?
I think that most organizations of our type have struggled to grow or even just maintain their membership numbers in recent years. Despite this trend, AASP has continued to grow. A national presence is an effective tool for state and regional organizations to use for recruiting new members and retaining existing members. AASP has made national affiliation a very painless, simple and affordable process while allowing the affiliate to retain its local identity, policies and business model. I think that most strong and effective state and regional organizations are looking for exactly what AASP has to offer. And AASP thrives as a result of having such organizations as affiliate members.
How does AASP address issues that are specific to collision repair?
Approximately 20 percent of AASP’s membership is collision shops. We depend on our board representatives and membership from our affiliate states that have strong collision representation to bring forth the needs and issues of that segment of their membership. The collision repair industry has strong representation on the AASP Board of Directors.
Any recent success stories or events to share from the AASP?
I would say that the highlights for 2007 were the addition of a new affiliate, the Chesapeake Automotive Business Association, and the launch of the DEG. The DEG is a collaborative effort of AASP, SCRS and ASA and is destined to serve the collision repair industry well.
Any message you wish to convey to the collision repair industry?
Collision repairers currently face a challenging business environment, and, if they are to continue to thrive and succeed, their support and active involvement in their local and national trade associations is more critical than ever before. Each and every shop owner should seek out and participate in an organization for the betterment of the industry.