Executive Director

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“WE NEED YOU” – me, (and Uncle Sam)

Dispelling the Top 5 rumors or untruths you might have heard

The recent press is full of what WMABA does for you, so now is the time for us to ask for your support by becoming a member. Association membership is something the professionals in our industry think of as optional, but with your help our accomplishments could become mind-blowing and industry-altering.

Staring down the advancements in vehicle technology, increased government and rising insurer issues, it’s hard to think of membership in WMABA as anything but mandatory. Everyone from the independent repairer to the dealership body shop needs a vocal representative now more than ever.

So, let me explain away the “excuses” we’ve heard and you can join today!

1)      WMABA Hates DRPs. So, if you have any they hate You.

The association represents ALL repairers. That means that the majority of our memberships have a DRP relationship with at least one insurer. Our goal is to find ways to improve relationships with insurers whenever possible. If there isn’t a “happy medium” for an issue that arises, then we will try to get it resolved through our national contacts. If not there, then we use the legislative or governmental alternative as a last resort.

2)      It’s so expensive, I can’t afford it.

Membership is $1.92 per day. When you calculate it out, that’s $700 per year, but when you see it as a daily number we know that you can look at that and understand it’s very affordable to have someone working for you on a more global scale each and every day. What WMABA does helps your shop, but also helps your shop community.

3)      The Insurance Companies have a list of the members and beat them up constantly.

Our membership rosters are not given out publicly or even to other members. The WMABA Board feels strongly that no one repairer or groups of repairers should be seen as the “vocal minority”. This gives our members the option of anonymity to be involved with the association while not feeling as though there is a potential for a target on their back. If there are particular avenues within the association that someone wants to publicly speak on, such as repair practices or more pointedly insurer mandates, then they certainly have the ability to do so.

4)      Membership is for those “big” shops.

WMABA Members come in all shapes and sizes. We have members ranging from a staff of 4-5 people, or as large as 50+. We represent the very small independent in a rural community the same way we do for a large dealership group body shop. All are important to us, and important for sustaining a variety of perspective in our scope of activities.

5)      I’d have to be involved, or go to meetings.

Membership in WMABA does not come with requirements for attendance to anything. Supporting the association with dues is the most important gesture a shop can make. Those funds go towards all of the activities that we’re involved in. Whether or not you […]

By |April 18th, 2014|Categories: Executive Director, News|Comments Off on “WE NEED YOU” – me, (and Uncle Sam)

The Jig is Up; One Shop Says “NO” to the State Farm Agreement

Hammer & Dolly – December 2013

One Shop Says “NO” to the State Farm Agreement

November 11, 2013 was a big day for the Taylor family in Taylor’s Auto Body Shop in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was the day they made the decision to say “No” to signing the new State Farm® Select Service® agreement for their business based on the impending implementation of the PartsTrader system and potentially other vendor requirements.

The Founders of Taylor’s Auto Body Shop, Doug and May Taylor, were present at the Collision Industry Conference meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada during the time of their negotiations with the insurer and had heard all of discussions that took place there in relation to insurer mandates. They did have legal counsel perform a review of the agreement and the recommendation was to not participate under the existing guidelines..

May found the situation they were in particularly upsetting, saying, “We felt bullied. It did not make any difference that we have such a good relationship with the agents and did a large volume of work for them.  In the past twelve months, there has only been one customer complaint and that was because of some old damage. It just showed to me that State Farm does not care about the customer service or quality of repair.”

She continued with, “When we returned from CIC and SEMA in Las Vegas, we found that the insurer was pushing us to sign or not and to make the decision that day, either way. It was then that we realized that we needed to separate ourselves and change our business model accordingly. We have always been a company who markets directly to our existing and potential customers, but we will be focusing more attention to gaining and retaining our clientele in the future. I believe that this is an opportunity to educate the consumer about the repair process and why they should choose us.”


Thoughts of the Executive Director

We can now all stop wondering when the new State Farm agreement will arrive that includes the parts and materials procurement system and now start wondering what the aftermath will be. For those of you who are a part of the Select Service program, you are now more than likely operating under the new agreement, unless you’ve made the decision to not sign. Those of you who are not signing, it’s time to understand what the term “reasonable and/or usual and customary” means.

What kills me is that 99% of the shops who sign do not have the document reviewed by legal counsel. Probably because after doing so would result in a “Seriously?! Who came up with this stuff?” from the other end. And because most of you know that’s bound to happen, then you just figure, “well, they’re just going to tell me I’m better off without it, but I don’t think I could afford to do that so I’ll just go along with it because if I don’t someone else will anyway.” I know this internal dialogue sounds at least vaguely […]

By |December 1st, 2013|Categories: Executive Director, News|Comments Off on The Jig is Up; One Shop Says “NO” to the State Farm Agreement

Getting Out There and Giving Thanks

I am thankful that I get to work with so many Rock Stars. Or maybe they could closer be described as Superheroes. These are absolutely remarkable people who stand up and stand out; heads and shoulders above the rest.

In the past 60 days I’ve been immersed in the work we’ve done with education and legislation for our membership and community. Getting to spend more time with Aaron Schulenburg, Mike Anderson, Toby Chess, Ray Gunder, Barrett Smith, Brent Geohagan and every single first responder who came to the WMABA-organized member-hosted Emergency Vehicle Extrication classes made it clear to me that there are extraordinary people doing seemingly ordinary things each and every day.

Before I talk about those amazing individuals, I want to say a “thank you” to our own amazing men and women to serve on the WMABA Board of Directors (page 43). They tirelessly work together with me and our staff, which is away from their business or family, to help make our area collision industry better. They are truly selfless, and you should take the time to thank them for looking out for you!

SCRS’ Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg is supported by a solid Board of Directors made of our country’s finest shop owners and managers, and standing on those stilts of steel he continues to impress with his charismatic and direct way of affecting positive change for our industry. This includes the always improving Repairer Driven Education hosted by SCRS at the SEMA Show each year. Truly a one-stop shop for getting the best educational and business building experience that the automotive industry has to offer. WMABA is so proud of our affiliation with SCRS. If you want to make next year a hit then buy your ticket to Vegas for next year’s show!

Ray Gunder, Barrett Smith and Brent Geohagan are what I lovingly refer to as David, his slingshot and the rock, in that order (from the David vs Goliath story of the Old Testament). Ray has been truly blessed to have such success through perseverance coupled with the team of wonderful and skilled folks around him. They are a point of light in a usually grim world. They give others uplifting and helpful advice at the expense of their own businesses, which is truly unselfish. Their story shows that they are the better men up against giants.

Mike Anderson and Toby Chess are two of the best instructors our industry has, in my humble opinion. After having Mike teach his estimating seminar in late August (see in October issue of H&D), having Toby come out the following month is just overwhelming. These two men care so much about you knowing how to fix cars properly and with the tools to get paid for it, that they offered their time to us at no charge. I hope the next time we have education of this caliber in our area that you take advantage, because opportunities like these are not always available a second time around.

As WMABA explores avenues for community […]

By |November 30th, 2013|Categories: Executive Director, News|Comments Off on Getting Out There and Giving Thanks

I’d Do It My (Mike’s) Way

Mike Anderson (of Collision Advice) is exciting. And the Doctor says it’s highly contagious.

Whether you take it as passionate, moving, electrifying, or emotional, it doesn’t really matter. Any way you slice it, Mike is “excited” about teaching others and helping them to succeed. And he’s really great at it. If you knew him from the days he owned Wagonwork Collision you probably see him as a peer. Now, you’d see him as much more than that. No matter how great of a shop owner he was, he’s an even better teacher.

Spending a day with him is fun. He jokes a lot (mostly about himself) and sometimes screams out “I love this stuff!” I mean, he literally screams it out and usually when the audience is distracted and they all jump out of their seat; myself included. He makes the topics he discusses – usually very serious – more light and enlightening. In my opinion, it makes it easier to digest and retain it, as well as envision practical application. It’s very empowering.

It isn’t always an easy subject matter. As a former shop owner of a completely non-DRP business structure, he talked about his mental transition through his consulting experience into more of a “fix-it-right” mentality. Whether shops are independent or DRP-dependent didn’t matter to him as much as quality of repair. And on that point, I couldn’t agree with him more. In my years with WMABA, I’d come to that realization through working with many different types of shops. I also don’t care what your business model is; just that it includes doing a safe repair for the consumer.

Digging further down into the meat of the meeting, he went into supplement ratios and complete teardowns and how they can affect the cycle time and profit of your business. Joel covered them earlier in the cover story, so I think you’ve got that part down.

What I want you to grab a hold of from Mike’s seminar are ways of improving customer relations. Such as that 68% of people prefer text updates to phone or email. Do you think it would be wise to look into that? He also cited a survey that says consumers put trust, empathy and direction above price, which was down in 6th place! So, do you think that setting clear expectations on the front end of the repair process to establish trust, and taking the time to listen to the customer about how the accident took place would gain empathy? Wouldn’t that make you 1st and 2nd in their book, even over the insurance company?

Another way to improve customer relations and establish a long-lasting relationship is through communication. Sounds a lot like a family, right? If Mike’s right, your customer could forget about you completely in 18 months, so you need to get in front of them on a regular basis. Do you have a Facebook page with regular updates? Do you ask them to give you an email address to send them a newsletter? Have you […]

By |October 28th, 2013|Categories: Executive Director|Comments Off on I’d Do It My (Mike’s) Way

How to Keep Up: Online and On the Hill

Legislation and Website Changes Sharpen Association Focus

Legislation has been a public focus of WMABA in the last few months, and it will no doubt stay top-of-mind until next session closes in 2014. There is no slack of pace to see that parts procurement issues are emphasized to our Delegates and Senators for benefit of the repairer and consumer constituents they serve. Your job, as has been said in our cover story, is to go out and get to know them.

New WMABA Website

During the legislative session our association has been working tirelessly to also announce our new website redesign. Shortly following rebranding through a new logo, the Board worked with Rob Hall Design in Richmond to build a new website on a new platform. Showcasing an entirely new and more interactive format, the changes have been focused on repairer and consumer education. Also an opportunity for engagement through comment sections, complaint forms and a vast variety of information and links to find resources to better repairer businesses.

The goal of the new website is also to support the activities that we do such as meetings, legislative agendas, education, and other membership initiatives. We are so excited to continue to mold it into a go-to resource for our local industry!

2013 Golf Outing

This month is the announcement of our Annual WMABA Golf Outing, that supports our education fund – Jerry Dalton Memorial Education Fund. This fund is set up to give scholarships for tools or schooling for our area kids and is a valuable part of keeping our technician pool alive in the future.

If you want to support or play, you can go to the website under events and get everything you need. We suggest putting in your application as soon as possible as our recent outings have sold out.


There is a lot of activity in the area of standards. With discussions coming from the Collision Industry Conference meetings, the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP) with whom we are affiliated, as well as the recent – albeit negative – announcements by I-CAR it seems to be everywhere we turn.

The feeling I have after reviewing and researching much of this is that it all boils down to vehicle repair safety for the consumer. What is the safest approach to repair the damage to pre-accident condition? Processes and procedures and classes and recommendations are all out there now. The bigger question becomes WHO should be in charge of creation of any repair standard? My adamant opinion: the repairer and the vehicle manufacturer.

Repairers are often dismissed as to their capability to self-govern. This is why […]

By |April 29th, 2013|Categories: Executive Director, News|Comments Off on How to Keep Up: Online and On the Hill

Giving Thanks for 2012

Always in the last couple months of the year we reflect on what happened over the course of the year and where we want to go from here. For WMABA, it is not only an individual reflection on my part, but one of the entire organization and our membership. Each year I feel as though we’ve come a long way on some issues, and others still need a big swift kick in the pants. This year is no different.

First, I’d like to look back on a sad time for our industry. The loss of Dave McBroom of Sunbeam Auto Body in Florida, who also was the head of the Florida Collision Industry Alliance and leader of the charge for information on the State Farm-PartsTrader issue, is a weighing regret for many people as well as me. Dave was a dear friend of mine, and someone with whom I shared many wins and defeats with for our association. Not just a staunch industry supporter, he was also a retired military officer and community activist for multiple charitable organizations. The world will miss him greatly.

The State Farm-PartsTrader issue has sucked up much of this year. The waiting for advancements [good or bad] is what feels like an eternity. I feel like we’re out hunting the big buck and have been stuck in a tree stand with binoculars for weeks with only a glance of the random wild turkey. But man, if that buck shows his face, I’m gonna shoot him! How the analogy fits is more tuned to any insurer-mandated program.

It really is primary that the “PartsTrader” issue isn’t with PartsTrader at all, but with insurers requiring particular vendors for a service. The repairer should always have the right to work with whatever vendor they choose, either computer programs or parts or paint or anything else. I still believe that even a DRP agreement should never impede on this basic business right.

In addition to the issues at hand, WMABA had a really successful year with membership, the golf outing, and educational initiatives. It is really rewarding to see things that are strategically planned by our Board come to fruition in such a positive manner.

Participating at the SCRS Repairer Driven Education and attending the SEMA show, as well as the Collision Industry Conference, was invigorating. The amount of electronic information that is coming out in the weeks following shows just how important this event is in advancing our industry. Each year, the educational opportunities, the vendor offerings, and the participation by our industry just grows and grows. If you make one New Year’s Resolution, it should be to go next year.

Last, but not least, I am thankful for our members and those vendors who support us through thick and thin. We’ve had many new members this year, and with additional members we become stronger and have a stronger voice. I know that this coming year will be our best year ever.

– Jordan Hendler, Executive Director


By |December 31st, 2012|Categories: Executive Director, News|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Giving Thanks for 2012

Look Before You Leap

I’m sure by now you’re wondering with anticipation if the PartsTrader implementation is coming to our market and when. There’s been talk of it all year, and so far there hasn’t been anything more than swirls of smoke and nervous chatter. Unfortunately, as it stands right now there is no showing of State Farm coming off its course to see this pilot into finality.

Regrettably, the real issue is that State Farm won’t find a shortage of shops that are willing to get on [or back on] the Select Service program in spite of the potential ramifications they may face using the PartsTrader program. Because of the economic pressures and over capacity in our industry, this is the [seemingly calculated] perfect time for the insurer to strike. Also, there are an overwhelming number of shops who cannot survive in a non-DRP model and are already so engrossed in the program that really have no choice but to participate.

There is rumor that some of the shops put on the program in the pilot market(s) to replace those who got off were previously removed because of shoddy work. If that is true, then it is a sad day for State Farm. The policyholders they claim to be protecting by implementing this program are now potentially subject to questionable repairs. I’m sure if they were given the choice of a few dollars in premium and premium repairs, it would be a no-brainer. Truly, they are not even aware that this is going on and are not given a choice in the matter.

I want you to use the tear-out on page 50-51 to inform yourself and anyone you work with about what the potential issues with this program could be. It is your choice when the program gets here whether or not you participate. My hope is that you make the decision knowing all the options and problems you could face down the road.

The biggest concern I have is not whether or not a single repairer participates. It is when there becomes a majority in a market. That’s when State Farm will look at us, as they always have, and say that then ALL repairers in that market are expected to participate because it would be “fair and reasonable” to expect them to do what a majority has already been doing.

I’ve used the example of body labor prices for mechanical operations. Even though the guides say that certain operations are mechanical, the insurer has often mandated non-Select Service shops to only charge body labor because the majority in their market (mainly Select Service shops) are only charging that much. Taking advantage of paying less money to their program shops and pushing it on the others is something this company has already been doing in our area.

Why do you think they’re doing this? If you think it’s to improve the repairer efficiency, then you need to put the red Kool-Aid down and ask yourself one question: Why would you implement a program in your business? The […]

By |November 22nd, 2012|Categories: Executive Director, News|Tags: |Comments Off on Look Before You Leap

Rolling into 2013 in High Gear

With a new Board of Directors and the opening of the 2013 Labor Rate Survey, the excitement at WMABA just continues to grow. We’re closing out a productive 2012 with the expectations to have a very promising New Year.

It’s all in the comparisons.

With last year’s labor rate survey being the first, it was hard to fathom what the outcome would be. As we all waited on pins and needles for the results, we had high hopes and dreams for how this information could be utilized positively for the industry. When the data came in there was baited breath as each region was reviewed. The results we got met and exceeded our expectations. It was a collective sigh of relief and feeling of real accomplishment.

This go-around is another great feat because this time we’ll be able to….(wait for it….) COMPARE! It’s what we’ve been looking forward to throughout the entire process – where are we now and where are we going? To track our industry’s trends with relation to prices is a major achievement for the association and a huge benefit to our entire region.

As the survey opens in the first part of January, the key is to get the word out. All of the vendors will receive the notification that the survey is open and they have the opportunity to educate their customers about participation. Also, the shops that have already participated will electronically be notified and have the first chance to get their survey done.

It’s a proud moment for WMABA that this Labor Rate survey process has become a shining example of how associations can provide tools for the membership they serve.

Don’t take your eyes off Parts Procurement

With the start of the New Year, we are also reminded – even in this issue – about the continuing developments with insurance-mandated programs, and specifically in the parts procurement arena. Because you are seeing it so often, it is easy to feel like you’re seeing the same stuff. Don’t let it hypnotize you into letting your guard down!

Advancements are being made in pilot markets for the State Farm-PartsTrader program and there is no reason to think “it won’t come here”. In fact, it is just the opposite; you have every reason to think that it will. And you should plan in such a way that when it does come here you are educated and ready to decide how you want to deal with it.

Board of Directors Newbie

We are happy to continue working with the many folks who are dedicating their time to help the association move forward with its initiatives. With our recent election during the Fall Member Holiday Social (pg??), we added our newest Board member Mark Schaech, Jr.

I want to personally thank all of the Board members who have selflessly given of their time, energy and resources to make our association successful. I also thank Mark for having the courage to step up to a Board position for the year. We look forward to working with everyone to make […]

By |July 31st, 2012|Categories: Executive Director, News|Comments Off on Rolling into 2013 in High Gear