|Conference Week cranks the heat in Texas|
|News - Collision Repair|
|Monday, 23 July 2012 11:30|
US repairers, insurers and suppliers converge on San Antonio.
By Darryl Simmons
San Antonio, Texas -- July 23, 2012 -- San Antonio was the hot spot last week for the American collision repair industry as it hosted a bevy of public and private conferences including CIC (Collision Industry Conference), I-CAR (US) general session, State Farm’s advisory panel as well as AkzoNobel’s awards for Most Influential Women, Sustainability and its Sustainability Symposium.
CIC started the week off where the room inside got almost as heated as the 40-degree temperatures outside. Perhaps it had something to do with being so close to The Alamo, but discussions were certainly heated as they almost solely focused on State Farm’s pilot project of a parts procurement program with a sample of about 150 shops.
George Avery, State Farm Claims Consultant, outlined the program which would see shops ordering all their parts (recycled, aftermarket and OEM) from a single provider, PartsTrader. Questions and comments from the audience made it clear that electronic parts ordering was welcomed, but there was apprehension about insurance companies intervening and/or controlling the process. Avery made it clear that this is a pilot program, which is still being evaluated. A number of associations, including the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey and the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Illinois have announced official opposition to the program.
The Collision Industry Conference (CIC) also announced that Avery will be the next chair of CIC, taking over from Mike Quinn of Caliber Collision. Since it began in 1984 there have been 15 chairpersons. Avery will be the third insurance company representative.
The audience was challenged to re-think perceptions about the concept of sustainability and its practical application within the collision repair industry. This was a topic that was picked up again on Friday at Akzo’s Sustainability Summit with key influencers from across North America, including Canadian Ken Boulton of The Dominion Insurance.
The I-CAR (US) General Session kicked off with a State of I-CAR address, including a discussion on the impact of training on business performance. [As of 2010, the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA) is managing the delivery of I-CAR collision training in Canada and is a separate entity from I-CAR (US)]. A high-energy panel dialogue followed it with an open conversation focused on driving excellence in the industry.
John Van Alstyne, President and CEO of I-CAR (US), outlined the success they have made by cultivating a training culture over the past several years. This is evident by the large increase the organization has made in the number of training seats filled as well as the number of courses offered. Particularly successful, according to Van Alstyne, is their Professional Development Program. He also said I-CAR (US) is now in one of the best financial positions ever, which will allow even more investment in courses and promoting the culture of training.
AkzoNobel’s Most Influential Women in the collision repair industry celebrated the success of three women, including Canada’s Kim Roberts from Fix Auto Barrie. Award winners were featured in a video displaying their merits. Awards were also presented for those organizations that are leading the way in sustainability.
The 2012 MIW award recipients follow in the footsteps of past honourees holding leadership positions within the industry association, shop operation and service sectors of the US and Canadian collision repair industry. They were selected for their contributions to the organizations they represent, the collision industry at large and their respective communities.
“The collision repair industry’s collective strength, image, and long-term sustainability, is dependent on individuals who have a passion, a vision and a vested interest in its future,” said Margret Kleinsman, General Manager for AkzoNobel A&AC Americas. “The leaders we are honouring with this prestigious award all share these qualities and are among the top tier of those who continue to make this a vital industry.”
In addition to Kim Roberts, Kim Parsons, President of Automotive Collision Technologies in Randallstown, Maryland and Catherine Mills, Executive Director of Florida Autobody Collision Alliance in Orange Park, Florida were also named to this year's MIW list.
AkzoNobel’s 2012 FIT Sustainability Awards are the collision repair industry’s first recognition program dedicated to honoring corporate commitment, participation and leadership in advancing sustainability through three key areas, Focus, Innovation and Talent. This year’s winners were Oka’s Auto Body in Waipahu, Hawaii; Keenan Auto Body from Clifton Heights, Pa.; and Enterprise-Rent-A-Car in St. Louis, Mo.
AkzoNobel’s Sustainability Leadership Symposium followed on Friday. The event was launched in 2011, where collision repair professionals representing key influencing sectors of the industry were invited to take part in a candid brainstorming discussion about their role in advancing and leading sustainable business practices that would help establish an industry-wide model.
“We were more than encouraged last year to hear the level of concern, commitment and contribution that key industry leaders are willing to embrace toward making collision repair a more sustainable industry,” said AkzoNobel’s Mike Shesterkin. “This year’s symposium included an even wider circle of professionals. As expected, the discussions helped identify actions that lead to triple bottom line–people, planet and profit–value creation. Our intention is to engage the community of collision repair stakeholders in a collaborative model, one that seeks to deal effectively with a rapidly changing world.”
Deborah M. Steketee, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sustainable Business and Executive Director for the Center of Sustainability at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, moderated the symposium.
Next year's slate of meetings is scheduled to be held in Boston during the summer.
|Last Updated on Monday, 23 July 2012 15:22|
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