Focusing (and Refocusing) on Members

It’s August, a time when we seize the opportunity to enjoy the last of summer and start looking forward to the fall. Autumn seems to be the time of back-to-school, back-to-work, and a refocus on business at hand. With ASA, our annual show is over and we have started our evaluations – as well as planning for next year. We refocus on the many other things we do for our members and industry. We are also entering a new political season with elections coming up in a few months.

One of ASA’s great member benefits is our Washington, D.C., office. Already this year, with Bob Redding’s assistance, we’ve sent mechanical and collision delegations to speak to our Washington representatives about our concerns. We’ve analyzed and testified on some individual state issues. Legislation can affect our businesses in so many ways that we feel it’s critical. No other similar group in our industry is as involved as we are. And it is not easy. Mark Twain said, “In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at secondhand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at secondhand from others.”

Or another quote that appeals to my twisted sense of humor comes from Groucho Marks who said, “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies.” Getting politicians to understand our concerns and integrate them accurately into regulation that causes the desired effect is a monumental task. Bob is very good at it and gives us the tools and opportunities to be effective. Navigating through the various committees, agencies, personalities, support staff and political party positions is challenging at best. (Groucho also said, “All people are born alike – except Republicans and Democrats.”)

One of the most significant issues gaining attention, and we expect it to gain a lot more, is telematics. As the auto manufacturers integrate increasingly complex analytical data acquisition tools into new models, as well as the ability to communicate and even control vehicle functions from afar, there are many people who wish to designate who should own the data, who should have access to it, and who should have control of it to control vehicle function. It is critical that as repairers our interests are protected and promoted. At the same time, we feel the obligation to protect the motoring public, our customers.

For those of you who are not inclined to get involved, know that some of your membership dollars are funding our noble efforts. For those who may wish to be more involved, I highly encourage you to consider volunteering or running for one of the open board or operation committee positions. Getting to interact with Bob Redding and our government representatives is a rare privilege and opportunity.

It’s great to be part of an organization that does so much to help people succeed in business and in life.

Enjoy the last of your summer!

Editor’s Note: ASA has a Political Action Committee (PAC) to which ASA members may voluntarily donate personal funds. For information on the PAC, visit