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