By B.J. Johnson
ASA Launches New Government Affairs Web Site
Focused on a commitment to advance grassroots advocacy campaigns, ASA has launched a new Web site to help mobilize support or dissent for issues directly impacting the automotive repair industry on both federal and state levels.
The new site, www.TakingTheHill.com, serves as a sophisticated grassroots program and reference guide for ASA members and other industry professionals.
The core of the new Web site is ASA's new Legislative Alert Center. This feature helps bridge the communication gap between advocates and their elected officials by offering a convenient venue to contact state legislatures, statehouses and the federal government. ASA has adopted a program that allows industry members to contact their representatives regarding specific legislation and, with the click of a button, send an e-mail to their elected officials.
ASA has populated the new Legislative Alert Center with messages or talking points for important issues that can be immediately incorporated into the correspondence. Currently, messages can be sent regarding insurer-owned repair facilities, the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act and Association Health Plans (AHPs) legislation.
Comprehensive legislative reports, historical background on service information availability and ongoing coverage of insurer-owned shop legislation can be found on the new site.
In addition, ASA has incorporated the latest in database technology to integrate thousands of pages of up-to-date information about visitors' elected officials, including bios, staff listings and voting records; a complete guide to upcoming elections; and contact information for local media outlets, including newspapers, television and radio.
"ASA has truly stepped up our visibility on the legislative and advocacy front on both the federal and local levels with the implementation of our new grassroots Web site," said Ron Pyle, ASA's president and chief staff executive. "We understand that volunteer legislative advocacy efforts are the most successful when participation is convenient for all parties involved. By initiating this expedient communication tool, we are providing our members and supporters with an even stronger voice on Capitol Hill."
ASA Announces 2004 Board of Directors
Geralynn Kottschade, AAM, of Jerry's Body Shop Inc., in Mankato, Minn., was named chairman of ASA's board of directors for 2004-05. Kottschade assumed the chairman's post at the conclusion of the Association's 2004 annual business meeting, held April 16-17 in San Antonio, Texas.
Kottschade succeeds Kevin Caldwell, of Autobody by Caldwell Inc. in Laguna Hills, Calif. Caldwell moves to the past chairman's seat on the board of directors for one year.
In addition to Kottschade and Caldwell, other members of the 2004-05 ASA board include Denny Kahler, AAM, chairman-elect, Kahler's Werkstatt, Dublin, Calif.; and Charles Elder, AAM, secretary/treasurer, Ray Gordon Brake Service, Tallahassee, Fla.
Serving as general directors are Aaron Clements, AAM, C & C Automotive, Augusta, Ga.; Joan Koebernick, AAM, Dakota-K Auto Repair Center & Tires, Arlington Heights, Ill.; and Reggie Denney, AAM, Reggie Denney Auto Repair, Eden, N.C.
Serving as affiliate directors are Dennis Sterwerf, AAM, Fairfield Auto & Truck Service, Fairfield, Ohio; Stephen Keller, AAM, Keller Import Service Inc., Easley, S.C.; and Ron Nagy, AAM, Nagy's Body & Frame Shop Inc., Doylestown, Ohio.
The final two board positions are held by the collision and mechanical division directors: Michael Anderson, Wagonwork Collision Center, Alexandria, Va.; and Earl Dohner, AAM, E & E's Garage, Brookville, Ohio.
Ron Pyle, ASA president and chief staff executive, also serves on the ASA board of directors in an ex officio capacity. Members of the 2004-05 ASA executive committee are Kottschade, Caldwell, Kahler, Elder and Clements.
AutoInc. Announces New Editor
Leona P. Dalavai has been named editor of AutoInc. magazine, the official publication of the Automotive Service Association (ASA). Dalavai has 10 years of experience in the magazine publishing business and most recently served as the marketing communications director and editor for a national construction association in Fort Worth, Texas. A native of Kansas, Dalavai has bachelor degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Kansas and is working on her master's in journalism at Texas Christian University.
Says Dalavai of her new position, "AutoInc. is a great member benefit, and I look forward to continuing its standard of excellence in providing valuable content to its readers."
The mission of AutoInc. is to be the informational authority for ASA and industry members nationwide. Its purpose is to enhance the professionalism of these members through management, technical and legislative articles, researched and written with the highest regard for accuracy, quality and integrity.
AutoInc. welcomes submissions from its readers and members and invites letters to the editor, guest editorials and article contributions. For more information, please contact Dalavai at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASA-Ohio Provides Education and Training Event
Ninety technicians, shop owners, and shop administrative employees participated in ASA-Ohio's annual Technician & Management Training Day event, held March 13 at the Delaware Area Career Center (DACC-JVC), in Delaware, Ohio. Five technical and two Automotive Management Institute (AMI) classes were presented. One of the most popular classes was the "Microsoft Office XP - Using Technology to Better Organize Your Business," which was taught by Microsoft/Cisco instructor Wayne Strunk. Strunk is the former automotive instructor department head at DACC-JVC and is now the school's technology chair.
Other instructors included John Forro, AST Training, Dave Mueller and Bob Fitzgerald from AC Delco, Tom Rayk of Training Masters, Dave Henderson of See Progress/Auto Watch, and Guy Garrett, ASA-Ohio and Advantage Data Systems. The successful event provided a full day of training, education and lunch for only $100 per person.
The Automotive Service Association (ASA) and the Automotive Service Councils of Michigan (ASC-MI) testified recently before the Michigan Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee on Senate Bill 819, Insurer-Owned Repair legislation. Repair facility owners from throughout Michigan packed a Senate hearing room to show support for the legislation.
The legislation prohibits insurance companies from owning or acquiring a repair facility in the state of Michigan. If an insurer has ownership of a repair facility, it must divest itself of that facility within two years of the effective date of the legislation. Sen. Laura Toy, R-Livonia, introduced S. 819. The bill has 16 co-sponsors.
Rep. Ken Daniels, D-Detroit, introduced its companion bill in the Michigan House of Representatives, H.R. 5460. The House bill allows insurers who own repair facilities as of Jan. 1, 2004, to retain their ownership.
"ASC-MI opposes insurance companies having an ownership interest in automotive repair facilities and views such ownership as being in direct conflict of interest. It eliminates the checks-and-balances system that insures consumer protection. Direct ownership raises barriers for the consumer and forces them to choose the path of least resistance to ensure prompt attention to their repair needs. ASC has historically supported the consumer's absolute, unequivocal right to choose a repair facility for a collision or mechanical repair," said Ron Meyer, president of ASC-MI.
"When the body shop is owned by the insurance company, the consumer is the one who loses," Meyer said. "If they have a problem with the repair, whom do they turn to?"
Bob Redding, ASA's Washington, D.C., representative, said in his testimony, "We are grateful for Sen. Laura Toy's leadership with the bill's introduction, as well as the support shown by those of you who have co-sponsored the legislation. We would also like to recognize the leadership of the Automotive Service Councils of Michigan on this legislation.
"We are now at a point where some insurers are determined to eliminate the last line of defense for the vehicle owner and the independent repair facility," Redding added.
"Repairers in many states are asking policymakers to stop insurance companies from owning repair facilities. Legislation has been introduced in eight states already this year. ASA expects more to follow. Last year, Texas passed legislation halting insurance companies from owning repair facilities in their state."
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