ASA Chairman’s Message: Growing the Network

By Bob Wills / ASA Chairman

Bob Wills

In case you haven’t noticed, ASA has been in the news quite a bit lately.

From our successful Affiliate events, which keep growing every year, to the “big picture” Technology & Telematics Forum (TTF) and Multi-Shop Operator (MSO) Symposium, your association has been growing the network of both technical and business training to keep ASA members ahead of the curve.

If you weren’t able to make the TTF in Troy, Mich. this year, you can catch up on complete coverage of the great panel discussions and presentations at

The forum focused on new vehicle technologies, data access and cybersecurity solutions with sessions from experts representing stakeholders from across the automotive industry. The panel discussions filled in the blanks on the latest and future vehicle systems and the impact things like Advanced Drive Assist Systems and Autonomous Vehicles will have on the independent automotive repair community.  The panel discussions encouraged dialogue by all involved that summarized the need for proper training as the required gateway to access.

This was the 6th Technology & Telematics Forum ASA presented in cooperation with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers featuring expert panelists from the Center for Connected and Automated Transportation, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, collision and mechanical shop owners, AirPro Diagnostics and the American Property Casualty Insurance Association. Other presenters included representatives from Mitchell1, GM Global Security and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. The program was well-attended and we’ve already begun planning for the 7th TTF, so watch for the announcement to mark your calendar for 2020.

The 8th Annual Multi-Shop Operator (MSO) Symposium was held on Monday, Nov. 4 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. This year’s program offered expert insights into the collision repair marketplace, the latest industry trends and statistics, a presentation on the future of mobility and how technology is redefining the consumer experience and expectations. Other topics of interest included the evolution of OEM Certification Programs, the growth of dealership groups and future trends in auto insurance and claims handling. As with all ASA events, there was plenty of time for networking.

On the legislative front, our Washington office has been busy with the proposed Department of Justice plan to eliminate the 1963 Consent Decree, which many collision repair members see as the beginning of what became direct repair (DRP) programs. ASA has held some public meetings in Washington, D.C. to get feedback from the collision repair community, consumer groups and antitrust specialists to explore the relevance of the 1963 Consent Decree to some of the challenges collision members are facing now. No decisions have been made, but we’ll keep you posted on developments.

It’s been a busy year for Ray and the ASA National staff and you may have noticed some new programs such as the new ASA App (type “Automotive Service Association” in Apple or Android stores) and our new ASA Podcast that was launched recently.

We’ll continue to listen to you, our members, and make the changes you’ve requested to improve the value of your ASA membership and to grow the ASA family. We are looking forward to many things in 2020, including the return of our CARS program at the Annual Business Meeting in May of 2020. Remember, we’re always working on your behalf and it continues to be my honor to serve as your Chairman.

Since this is my final Chairman’s message for the year, I’d like to take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to everyone for a safe and happy holiday season. I’d also like to thank the ASA headquarters staff, our board members, division teams, our Affiliates and, of course, our sponsor and benefit providers.

Working together as “One ASA” provides our members and those thinking about joining your association a path to the next level of professionalism in our industry.

Bob Wills, AMAM, is the owner of Wills Auto Service in Battle Creek, Mich.  He is currently serving a two-year term as ASA Chairman.