Crump asked attendees, "Why do we come to NACE? What is the common denominator that has brought us here today?"
The answer, he said, is "our love of the industry."
Crump said he first started working in collision repair to earn spending money while a student in college. After graduating, he realized collision repair was "in his blood," so he changed his plans to pursue a career in marketing and, instead, returned to the shop.
At that time, Crump said the collision industry was lacking in providing the high level of quality service customers deserve. It was his desire and vision to move toward change, to improve the industry.
That desire to improve the industry resulted in Crump discovering the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair. In turn, he discovered NACE and has attended the annual convention for many years, he said.
In 2002, he was named to the NACE Attendee Advisory Committee and, subsequently, was named NACE 2003 chairman. His participation in these roles is part of his ongoing desire to affect change and improvement in the industry, Crump said.
Collision repair encompasses many segments. For the industry to advance, participation at NACE from each of those segments is necessary to move the industry forward, he said. "Honest, open communication leads to positive change," he said.
One of the highlights of NACE 2003 was that it did encompass all of the industry's segments. Various perspectives were voiced and shared by everyone in attendance.
Looking to the future, Crump said moving NACE to Automotive Industry Week in Las Vegas beginning next year is another positive change for the convention.
One of Crump's favorite projects has been to help educate and involve youth in collision repair. Including NACE as part of Industry Week will enhance opportunities to educate the next generation of collision repair professionals, he said.
Emphasizing the changes not only taking place at NACE, but also throughout the industry, Crump closed his address by issuing a challenge:
"I challenge you to take that first step toward transformation. Embrace it and it will embrace you - and your business.
"There's no question, it's imperative to stay current to successfully compete in an ever-changing marketplace. But to stay current is to allow the necessary transformation to happen - a metamorphosis of change, if you will. If we're not open to such changes, updates, technological advancements, we will be left behind.
"So, transform your businesses, your daily practices, your management styles and your lives. The results will absolutely exceed your expectations and ensure your success for the future."
O'Reilly Speaks about Current Events to NACE AttendeesFive nights a week, more than 5 million viewers tune in to "The O'Reilly Factor" on the Fox News Channel. In a matter of two years, that viewership has caused Fox News to surpass the Cable News Network (CNN) as the No. 1 cable news station in America. But for 45 minutes Friday morning, Dec. 5, attendees of this year's International Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE) got a unique opportunity to hear Bill O'Reilly speak in an intimate setting as he delivered this year's keynote address.
As he does in his popular television news program, O'Reilly held nothing back in his address. Speaking about the War on Terrorism, the upcoming presidential election, and American values and traditions, O'Reilly brought the "No Spin Zone" - a controversial segment on his program - to Orlando, Fla. For most attendees, the messages were well received.
Speaking about the War on Terrorism, O'Reilly called the conflict World War III. And although the Bush administration or other public leaders would never reference the War on Terrorism as such, O'Reilly believes we're in just as much danger as previous world wars.
"You can't talk to these people," he said. "They want to kill you if you are an American and you have to accept that. The only way we can survive is to kill them."
O'Reilly also briefed attendees about his view on the war in Iraq and how it will affect the 2004 presidential election. Citing a history of insurgence by Saddam Hussein, he believes attacking Iraq was the right thing to do. And in regard to weapons of mass destruction, O'Reilly said that before the upcoming election the Bush administration had better thoroughly explain why none have been found or the president will not be re-elected.
"I suspect that Bush will be elected, unless all hell breaks loose in Iraq," he said.
O'Reilly also touched on the 2004 election year, saying: "The coming election will be the nastiest in U.S. history. There are 25 percent of Americans who loathe Bush - something not seen since Nixon. But if Bush can stabilize Iraq in nine months, he'll win. If it gets worse [in Iraq], who knows what will happen."
O'Reilly charges that most media outlets never give real insight to viewers and readers about issues and the political process. "It's my job to give you the framework to make an educated decision," he said.
He spoke positively about the FBI, saying it's a "miracle" that other attacks like the ones that occurred Sept. 11 have not happened. Members of the press, including himself, expected a couple of waves of attacks after Sept. 11. So he praised the efforts of the FBI to stop another attack.
O'Reilly then spoke on what he called an ongoing Civil War in the United States; a war between progressives and traditionalists. He cited the legalization of gay marriages, challenging of the Pledge of Allegiance, and the recent controversy involving the Boy Scouts as the "progressive judges'" way of changing traditional values in America. And with the excessive media exposure on these issues, the public is being misinformed.
"The country must be run by the people, not the judges," he said. "When Americans rise up, things get done."
Finally, he spoke about raising children in today's times, citing that by the age of 8 or 9, they have been exposed to all the horrors and perversions of the world. The cause, he said, stems from excessive television viewing and Internet surfing. He was critical of the message these two media present to children.
He concluded by saying, "We have cowardly media and dishonest politicians. We have to make decisions based on what is really happening.
"Everyone in America should be accountable for what they do."
NACE Town Hall Debates Training, Insurer-Owned Shops, Consumer Education
The Town Hall was moderated by Brian Sullivan, Risk Information Inc. Panelists were Marty Iverson, The Hartford; Rob Cross, Valspar Automotive Group; Denise Lloyd, BodyShop Business; Robert Medved, State Farm Mutual Insurance; Dan Pettigrew, Caliber Collision Centers; Bob Redding, Automotive Service Association; Barrett Smith, Brandon Paint & Body Inc.; Rick Tuuri, I-CAR; and Yumi Vaught, Apex Auto Body & Paint.
Sullivan opened by asking panelists how to find, retain and train employees in this increasingly complex environment. Medved encouraged attendees to get involved with their school districts, Skills USA and the I-CAR Education Foundation. Smith reminded shops to "put their best foot forward" when hiring and to ensure the shop is safe and compliant. Sullivan added that the industry needs to better communicate career opportunities in collision repair, especially to the Hispanic community.
In response to whether insurers should own or invest in body shops, Redding predicted this would become a major issue for the collision industry and that insurer-owned shops would eliminate choices, such as where the vehicle is repaired and the types of parts used.
Panelists debated if consumers were educated enough to know a good repair from a shoddy repair. "Don't underestimate the intelligence of the customer," said Iverson. Lloyd countered that many customers do not read their policies. Sullivan summarized that the collision repair industry does not have an ongoing customer relationship. "It's on a need basis," said Sullivan, which makes it more difficult to educate consumers.
What does the future hold for the single-location, family-owned collision shop? Several panelists said if a shop does quality work, cultivates good relationships with insurance companies, continues to invest in the shop, and if the consumers' right to choose is protected, these businesses will survive.
Become an Active Participant in Your Industry
Redding also discussed ways in which shop owners can make positive changes in the collision repair industry. He specifically outlined the organization process of grass roots campaigns and grass "tops" campaigns. He explained how the number of participants in a campaign dictates which system may bring the most results. (A "Grass tops" organization can be quite effective and requires fewer people than a "grass roots" campaign.)
The presentation concluded with Redding sharing a number of ways in which the Automotive Service Association assists shop owners in their industry participation efforts. The association assists with media efforts, staff visits to industry events and information resources, specifically legislative information available online.
To learn more about legislative issues affecting the collision repair industry, visit www.asashop.org and click on "Legislation." The Thomas Web site is another good source, located at thomas.loc.gov.
GM, I-CAR Form Relationship to Provide Technician Training
For GM, this relationship will increase the availability and convenience of training on the body structural and collision repair of GM vehicles because I-CAR has approximately 800 training locations nationwide. This arrangement also reduces redundancy for techs by providing GM certification credit and I-CAR Gold Class Professionals and Platinum Individual points for successful program completion.
Through I-CAR, GM training will also be available to techs at independent businesses that conduct body structural and collision repairs for GM dealerships. These businesses will earn I-CAR Gold Class Professionals points and provide their sponsoring dealers an option to meet their GM Service Training Standards (STS). Note: these technicians must be sponsored by a GM dealership.
To locate an I-CAR training program in your area, visit the I-CAR Web site, www.i-car.com. The site offers a search by state, ZIP code or training program name, as well as other criteria options.
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