Marching Forward

“Life is a series of experiences, each of which makes us bigger, even though it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.” – Henry Ford.

What an appropriate quote for us to contemplate as we prepare to travel to Detroit in July for our NACE|CARS 2014 event. It’s incredible to consider the impact Ford and his company had on our world over the past hundred 100 years or more. Wisely, Ford preserved ­– at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village – many significant vehicles, but also much of what impacted the lives of so many going back to the early 20th century. Included in the displays are railroads, Edison’s laboratory, steam engines, furniture, airplanes, agricultural implements, wood-burning stoves, a sawmill and a working farm. We will have the opportunity to see it all.

Henry Ford also said, “The only history that is worth a tinker’s damn is the history we make today.” Currently the auto manufacturers, especially the domestics, have come through recent years of crippling financial and organizational issues. New-vehicle sales have been coming back nicely and profitability has returned. As a result, along with new CAFÉ standards, manufacturers are introducing new technologies at a staggering rate.

A classic example is the aluminum 2015 Ford F-150. The trade press has been buzzing with glimpses of its construction and repair methodology, as well as speculation on how our industry will react to the change. Electronics, including telematics, are stimulating discussions and legislative actions. At NACE| CARS 2014 we will have an inside track to see a cutaway version of the F-150. Alcoa Aluminum will have a significant presence. We will have displays on new technologies and repair equipment including new scanners. And to think we can experience it all in Detroit where the majority of our automobile production history originates. It promises to be an incredible experience!

When you talk technology, it’s easy to transition into hybrids – and hybrid safety – which is specifically addressed in the issue. This is a special “Going Green” edition of AutoInc., that includes an article on servicing natural gas vehicles, green practices on recycled parts for collision repair, and a great management feature about tackling fears within your business – the things that keep you up at night.

This issue also includes our quarterly affiliate section, which debuted in March. Our association is structured as a federation in regard to our affiliated associations. Think of how our country is structured – cooperatively operating at both the state and federal level. Our affiliates are independent entities, each in its own region, that operate within the family of ASA.

Over the past year we’ve made great strides in strengthening national and affiliate relationships. We are doing more than ever to ensure our activities operate in harmony and complement each other. Like members of a family, we each have our own personalities and talents. When we serve each other, we become a stronger family and achieve greater things. You will also see evidence of these stronger relationships at ASA’s affiliate and national events throughout the year – including the closer-than-you-think NACE|CARS 2014 event.

I look forward to seeing you in Detroit the week of July 28 – and specifically at ASA’s events July 30-Aug. 2, with the NACE|CARS expo Thursday and Friday, July 31-Aug. 1. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we work together!