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Denise Caspersen

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What is it like to be Collision Division man­­ager for the ASA?

As a not-for-profit trade association, we put the needs of the members at the top of our priority list. I enjoy managing the activities, projects and goals of the division’s Operations Committee. Engaging with the ASA affiliates and providing general member support when the phone rings or the email arrives also ranks high on my “to do” list.

I started working with ASA 13 years ago as the research specialist. I conducted market surveys, analyzed industry trends, created statistical reports and designed the online ASA Information Center—the end result of which was 10 years of in-depth research into the independent mechanical and collision repair market.

What compels collision repairers to get involved in the ASA?

ASA is fortunate to have many collision repair leaders involved in directing the efforts of the association. With the limited amount of “disposable time” being divided between community, family and friends, it can be challenging for today’s successful, independent business owners to slice off time for association involvement. Associations are built on providing support as well as a network of peers. With that in mind, involvement from the membership is generated when the individual sees a need for assistance, participation and/or a sense of community.

Given your knowledge and experience, what do you know that collision repairers might be surprised to learn?

An area that shows beyond the numbers is the extensive amount of industry involvement it takes to bring forth change on behalf of ASA collision members. An example of this is ASA’s engagement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in formulating the recently release_notesd Refinish Regulations proposal. Based on member input, ASA felt it should contain training, equipment and record-keeping elements. Then, with comments from more than 200 ASA members, the EPA heard these concerns and [was] expected to release a regulation in late January with these requirements.

What challenges face ASA Collision Division members?

These challenges often come down to the bottom line, such as bottom-line effects of blend within, feather, fill and block sand, and paint thresholds. which have been around for years and are more than deserving of solutions. The evidence clearly shows that there is a measurable way to calculate feather and fill and block sand and to compensate the repairer. The concept of blend within is outdated and needs to be recognized as a highly technical color-matching process deserving of adequate compensation. And with the ability to calculate paint usage per vehicle, it is time for the re-evaluation of paint thresholds. Other challenges come with pricing of recycled parts when compared with OEM and aftermarket pricing, which creates an issue between repairer and insurer when it comes to payment and has potential to place a hardship on the repairer when using a recycled part.

What are the Collision Division’s goals for 2008?

Through participation on various industry boards and committees, such as I-CAR, CIECA, CIC Database Task Force, the Database Enhancement Gateway, NASTF and more, the goals are to focus on efforts to improve the ASA member’s bottom line and address the challenges mentioned here. As shop owners, the volunteer leadership of the ASA Collision Division Operations Committee will keep a keen eye on issues for the association to address throughout the year.

What’s the best part about working with the Collision Division?

The most rewarding element is being surrounded by individuals who are having a positive impact on the collision repair industry; it’s an honor for me to be part of this division and its activities. These volunteer leaders are successful business owners who have a desire to see a healthy, strong and successful independent collision repair industry. Working for a team that is proud of their association and its accomplishments is inspiring.

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