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  Guest Editorial

Why You Should Not Miss the Fly-In and Leadership Conference

Posted 4/8/2010
By Howard Pitkow, AAM

You are invited to join other independent shop owners
to make a difference in our nation's capital.

Wouldn't it be great if you could go to Washington, D.C., and sit down with legislators to discuss your concerns? As a member of the Automotive Service Association (ASA), you will have a chance to do just that May 12.

On May 11-12, the Automotive Service Association (ASA) is hosting - along with the Automotive Management Institute (AMI) - a "Taking the Hill" event in Washington for ASA members. This year, AMI is hosting a leadership conference open to all industry professionals. Two three-hour workshops will be held, with the main focus being ethical leadership.

From left to right: Dustin Eckhart, Danielle Eckhart, April Miller Hernandez and Eddie Ehlert.
At last year's Fly-In, members of the Georgia delegation met with Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. From left to right: Dustin Eckhart, Danielle Eckhart, April Miller Hernandez and Eddie Ehlert. This year's Fly-In offers members yet another opportunity to meet with their state legislators to discuss issues affecting them in their businesses.

Please consider joining me and other ASA members next month for the chance of a lifetime. Last summer, ASA collision members had the opportunity to meet at our nation's capitol. As a group they were able to voice their opinions on issues that had a direct impact on their businesses. This year, mechanical shops will join collision shops in a combined effort to once again speak with state representatives and discuss various industry issues.

There is power in numbers; the more attendees, the better. I realize that these are difficult times and not everyone reading this will be able to join us. Your business should always come first when considering an expense such as this.

The time is right to make a lasting impression on the folks in Washington, D.C., and your participation is greatly needed. ASA as an organization cannot do this without the support of you, the shop owner. Change requires the voice and the strength of mechanical and collision business owners like yourself.

Think about it: This is a perfect opportunity to share ideas about improving our industry with not only your peers but with legislative representatives as well. Your participation can make a difference, and I urge you to put these dates on the calendar and plan to spend some time with other independent shop owners.

There is some important federal legislation that may be coming down the pike regarding safety inspection, education and training, funding and even climate legislation. If you have concerns about any of these issues, now is your chance to make your voice heard.

Five years ago, I joined ASA and soon after was selected to serve as a volunteer member of the Mechanical Division Operations Committee. Doing so has been a high point of my career, and I have gained many good friends from this experience.

Choosing to attend ASA's Taking the Hill Fly-In enables you, the member, to give back something to an organization that works for you and looks out for your best interest.

Bob Redding is ASA's Washington representative. His office will be scheduling personal time for you to meet a representative from your state. If you plan to attend this event, it would be a good idea for you to prepare a list of questions and suggestions. Like many of you, I have never been to Capitol Hill and what better way to experience it than by seizing this opportunity?

For more information, please go to

Editor's note: Register by April 9 for lowest room rates. The online registration deadline for the event is April 21. Additional information available on

Rick Hughlett, AAM Howard Pitkow is owner of Wagenwerx Inc., an ASA member-shop in Glenside, Pa. He serves as assistant mechanical division director.


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