Letter to Editor: Great Men, Women Have Contributed to Industry Improvement
Editor's Note: John "Moon" Mullins was inspired to contribute this letter following the passing of longtime ASA member, Joe Bernard, earlier this year.
The automotive service industry, along with independent [shop owners], put ASA in everybody’s tool box at a time when all types of businesses and services were having struggles and the government was looking for ways to get inside our businesses through licensing, etc. The car manufacturers, paint and body shops, parts suppliers and foreign car manufacturers were trying to keep their parts, education and repair manuals in the dealerships. They all needed to clean up their act.
At that time, barbers – who cut your hair – were licensed, but not us “grease monkeys.” All the shop owners, merchants, suppliers and manufacturers worked together and decided that it was time to clean up our act ourselves.
Through their efforts we now have education, the Automotive Management Institute (AMI), testing certifications, auto body repairs without off shore parts, voluntary certification through ASE, NIASE, I-CAR – essentially the complete alphabet soup with the involvement of some trade and vocational schools.
Many great volunteers used their own money, and time away from their businesses, wives and families to meet throughout this country to bring the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” to our automobile repair shops and certified technicians. Although there were many names – IGOA, ASE, ASC, NIASE, etc., – there has become one ASA … all working together to help our industry and the motoring public.
The men and women who have worked tirelessly such as Joe Bernard, Shirley Benson Bernard, Allen Richey, Dick Cossette, Bill Donohue, John Cain, Bud Merwin, Bob Sigel, Gordie Lewis, Jerry McFarland, Del Wright, Jerry Kottschade and his wife, Geri, Norm Cohen and John Di Bonaventura who fought strong from the small state of Delaware, Stan Hathcock, Fred Jones, Bob Ramsey, “Uncle” Mel Turner, Ron Wiener, Athell Yon – and many more who have made it better for all members today. Many of the manufacturers who were reluctant at the start are now aboard. The trouble with listing names is that some of the best may be left out, but I assure you, not intentionally. Everyone pulled together, from yesterday to today, to give the motoring public quality, safe repair through certified Automobile Manufacturers Association (AMA) (currently known as the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers) businesses run by the ASA facilities … the “best tool we have today in our toolboxes.”
This is not an obituary for Joe Bernard by any means. However, maybe ASA should put together a list of the great men and women who struggled unselfishly to put the Automotive Service Association at the forefront of our industry. Just as there is (or should be) a list of today’s leaders of ASA. I am not familiar with all of them, but I do know that they are dedicated to keeping up the standards that came from those before them and to improve it for all of our industry and the motoring public.
Thanks to all who made our association what it is today!
– John “Moon” Mullins, retired, Greenville, Maine (formerly of Wilmington, Del.)
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