Schnepper: A seat at the table

When I find myself talking to fellow shop owners about joining the Automotive Service Association, I’ve noticed that the conversation has changed a bit over time. It used to be that the benefits your association offers were front-and-center. Since taking advantage of traditional benefits such as parts purchase, uniform or oil programs generally more than offsets the cost of dues and demonstrates a clear ROI, that wasn’t surprising.

But lately I’ve noticed more conversation centering on legislative representation at state and national levels. This, too, is not surprising, since much of what is now being discussed in Washington, D.C., will have a significant impact on what our industry will be in the years to come. Today, the greatest value that your ASA membership provides might not be the obvious benefits from our Sponsored Benefit Providers, but on the larger national stage as ASA continues to represent your voice in Washington.

Perhaps the biggest topic in our industry, with respect to legislation, is advancing automotive technology. You may know it as connected vehicles or telematics. We continue our efforts to advance ASA’s position with regard to new vehicle technologies, the access to it and the information necessary to service and repair our high-tech vehicle fleet. In addition to conferences, etc., ASA has been involved with automakers and the Aftermarket Telematics Task Force (ATTF) in new vehicle technology policy discussions.

At the ATTF meeting this summer, ASA proposed legislative language to make sure your voice is heard in the American Vision for Safer Transportation through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act. That language includes establishing a Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) entity, administered by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

We were able to get similar language into the U.S. Senate AV legislation that has passed the Senate Commerce Committee. To date, the bill has not been scheduled for floor consideration. Any new regulations with respect to cybersecurity, autonomous vehicle technology or advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) has the potential to impact all ASA members, and your national office will continue to monitor developments and get involved to insure our industry’s seat at the table. In fact, that may be the most important work we do this year. As one of our ASA Affiliate leaders recently pointed out, in Washington, if our interests don’t have a seat at the table, they’re probably on it.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the ASA Annual Meeting scheduled for May 2-6, 2018, at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort Hotel. With management training and special events on the agenda, it’s sure to be an experience you won’t want to miss. I’d like to offer my personal invitation to all ASA members to bring the family for this one and find the spirit that makes ASA the association that works for you! Learn more on the ASA website at