The California and Nevada Automotive Wholesalers' Association (CAWA) has expanded its reach into Arizona, where it will now be offering representation to automotive parts jobbers, warehouse distributors, retailers and manufacturers as the Arizona Automotive Wholesalers' Association. The move is intended to strengthen the presence of these groups in legislative and regulatory circles, giving voice to a now under-represented segment of the automotive industry.
"The members of Arizona's aftermarket segment lost their representation two years ago, when the state organization championing them went out of business," says Rodney Pierini, president and CEO of CAWA. "When we met with businesses in Arizona to ask if they'd like us to expand into the state, we got an overwhelmingly positive response. Now, we have 25 new members in our group who are interested in the services we have to offer."
One of the main membership benefits provided to Arizona members is legislative and regulatory lobbying. CAWA has retained the firm of Goodman Schwartz Public Affairs to assist business owners in fighting their legislative and regulatory battles in Phoenix. Since 1990, the principals at Goodman Schwartz Public Affairs have been directly involved, both as senior appointed officials in state and local government and as professional lobbyists, in a significant number of major public policy decisions in Arizona.
"You just don't wake up one day and fight government intrusion," Pierini says. "You have to build a relationship with legislators, and have the staff in place so your industry has a presence at the Capital. That way, when issues come up, you can weigh in and present your industry's point of view to the people who can help you. As long as your industry has a lobby, you're at the table, so to speak, and can at least respond and perhaps mitigate a negative regulation that will have a significant impact on your industry."
CAWA has also engaged the legal services of the firm Osborn Maledon based in Phoenix. Jones Osborn, a principal of the firm, will provide the association with legal services and the membership with free legal consultation ranging from business to personal issues. "Jones Osborn is a perfect fit for our association and I know he and his firm will go the extra mile to provide quality legal services to our membership," Pierini adds.
Aside from legislative and regulatory support, CAWA offers members a host of other benefits, including insurance services; education and training opportunities; scholarships; competitive business aids and supplies; financial and human resource service; and industry newsletters and alerts.
"There's nobody in the state of Arizona that is currently promoting scholarships on the parts side of this industry," says Pierini. "And, as far as I know, there's nobody out there educating or training parts people the way we like to go in and train them. CAWA benefits these businesses by coming in and giving them an established platform with a variety of services."
But aside from the services and the lobbying support, Pierini says there is a more basic reason to get the parts businesses in one geographical location together in an organized group.
"If there's no state group representing a particular segment of an industry, that segment does not have the ability to come together in a noncompetitive environment to talk about the issues that are impacting them. They need to be part of a group to discuss what's good for the industry as a whole, and what's good for the businesses in their particular area," he concludes.
For more information about CAWA, visit the association's Web site.