I-CAR set to salute volunteers on its milestone anniversary

Jan. 1, 2020
In 2009 I-CAR will celebrate 30 years of inter-industry commitment to providing technical training for the automotive collision industry. Throughout the years there has been one steadfast group of industry professionals who can be credited for the or

In 2009 I-CAR will celebrate 30 years of inter-industry commitment to providing technical training for the automotive collision industry. Throughout the years there has been one steadfast group of industry professionals who can be credited for the organization's success: local volunteer committee members, supporters and program instructors.

These inter-industry professionals typically work their regular eight- to nine-hour day and then spend their "free time" organizing local class schedules; distributing I-CAR information to their local markets; administering day, evening, and weekend I-CAR classes; organizing fundraisers to support local technical schools and colleges through the I-CAR Education Foundation; and organizing I-CAR awareness events in their areas.

I-CAR volunteer committee members and program instructors are at the core of the organization that was created through the combined efforts of inter-industry professionals, and I-CAR recognizes the valuable support that they have provided over the years.

"For me, the local market network of committees, volunteers and program instructors is at the heart of I-CAR. It is largely where the heritage and traditions of this organization are kept alive," says John Edelen, I-CAR president and CEO. "It has been the eyes and ears of the organization, as well, over the years – providing insights and feedback on the needs of our customer, the auto collision inter-industry.

"Since last November, we have begun to supplement the feedback we get from the frontlines with other mechanisms: industry segment advisory councils, market segment teams, industry relations activities, and others," he says. "But, at the end of the day, it is our volunteers and program instructors who see firsthand how what we do creates a valuable training experience, or misses the mark.

"My commitment to this group is to continue to explore the most efficient and effective ways to capture the observations and the thoughts that they have, and to use them constructively," Edelen says. "We must continue to enhance the I-CAR training and service experience at a market level. While we are not able to specifically list every volunteer, program instructor and committee member, I thank all of them for their continued efforts within the inter-industry."

"As I-CAR moves forward into next year and beyond, the organization has identified several aspects to focus on – on the top of that list is how our future business model framework supports both our volunteers and program instructors," says Jeff Peevy, I-CAR director of North American operations. "We want to make sure that our staff has a clear line of sight of how their roles can best serve program instructors, volunteers and the industry as a whole. This work is a quantum leap in improving the business model of I-CAR and ensuring that this group is supported."

I-CAR western zone manager Bob Mickey adds, "Over the 30-year history of I-CAR there have been two constants: volunteers and instructors. From the first "unofficial" meeting in a Detroit hotel where this training association idea was conceived, they have been at the forefront. The volunteers that professed the industry needs and the first volunteer instructors that endeavored to disseminate proper uni-body repair training were I-CAR volunteers. When we say we have come a long way as a training organization, that is true, but the fact remains that I-CAR is still volunteers and instructors in the eyes of the industry we serve."

Celebration kickoff

I-CAR will begin the official recognition of its 30th anniversary at its 2009 International Annual Meeting in February 2009 in Washington, D.C. The event will combine the annual meeting of the board of directors, membership meetings and a national conference for volunteers and program instructors.

The celebration will continue in July, when I-CAR will host a new event (also in Washington, D.C.) that will bring together professionals throughout the inter-industry for an opportunity to gather information that will help them in their professional roles as well as network with others.

The training organization will seek the support of inter-industry businesses, organizations and associations in ensuring that volunteers and program instructors are able to participate in the February conference, and that the opportunity for professional growth is facilitated through the inter-industry meeting in July.

"While the 30th anniversary theme will be present at both events, this is the inter-industry's opportunity to express our appreciation for the accomplishments of the many individuals who have been so instrumental in the strength of this organization over the years," Peevy says.

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