5 minute read

Reunion, Recognition and Resources AASP/MA Members Assemble at General Meeting

AASP/MA hosted a general membership meeting at the DoubleTree Hilton in Westborough on November 17, bringing dozens of members face-to-face for the first time in two years.

Members were eager to catch up and spend time together without computer screens while receiving updates about the association’s hard work to push vital legislation, recognizing fellow members and learning about the valuable benefits AASP/MA is putting forth thanks to various partnerships.

“We had an aggressive plan to come out hard and fast, and I think we’ve done that,” commented AASP/MA Lobbyist Guy Glodis upon updating members about the success with HB 4242 which aims to move the ADALB from the control of the Department of Insurance to the Department of Public Licensure.

The bill made it through the first steps favorably and will next be reviewed by the Ways and Means Committee. AASP/MA is also working hard to garner support for its reimbursement rate bill (HB 1111), which currently seeks favorable passage from the Financial Service Committee.

“We will get the bill(s) out by making noise,” declared Glodis, who called on all to take part in the campaign.

The AASP/MA Board took the opportunity of this in-person gathering to recognize Immediate Past President Molly Brodeur (Al Brodeur Auto Body; Marlborough) for her years of dedication to the industry. She received a standing ovation upon accepting the award from her father, Al Brodeur and AASP/MA Executive Director Evangelos “Lucky” Papageorg.

“Molly has been on the Board for 10 years and spent six years as president, more or less holding everything together,” shared AASP/MA President Kevin Gallerani (Cape Auto Body; Plymouth). “She played multiple roles, always stepped it up and did everything she could, many times sacrificing time at the shop and time at home with family. We wanted to take the opportunity to thank her for the personal sacrifices she made.”

Next, members heard presentations from three Vendor Affinity Program sponsors that have partnered with the association to offer cost savings benefits to members in good standing. The program was designed to help add value to member shops’ employment offerings.

“Benefits will help you keep employees,” encouraged Papageorg. “Everyone’s biggest gripe, aside from the Labor Rate, is trying to find and maintain good technicians.”

Members heard from Steve Walsh of The Magellan Agency who explained the association’s dental health plan. John Monico of World Insurance Associates spoke on the benefits of the AASP/MA health insurance program, a national plan with national provider network, which offers discounts thanks to the large network it serves. Then, Sean Broderick of Aurora/Chosen Payments shared information about the fee-free credit card processing available to AASP/MA members. Chris Morin of Moonraker SEO spoke to the collision repairer audience about how using their Google listing and reviews can expand their outreach and help them obtain more customers. When it comes to using social media properly, Morin recommended:

“Google drives 10 percent more people than Facebook. If you have a Facebook business page and have someone posting things at night, tell them to go to bed. It’s not worth it. People are only online at night looking at photos of cats. But people are on Google because they need services right then.”

Lastly, keynote speaker Sandra Kearney of Human Power Solutions delivered the feature presentation as she taught the audience about how she can work with them to obtain grant money available via the Massachusetts workforce training fund for the vital training that technicians need in order to properly, safely and skillfully repair cars in today’s world.

Most business owners are likely not aware this funding exists. Kearney, whose business is based on helping businesses design training programs, initially worked with Tom Ricci (Body and Paint Center of Hudson; Hudson) to obtain funding for I-CAR and Verifacts training. Ricci’s shop received over $80,000. More recently, Human Power Solutions helped Fuller Auto Body of Auburn acquire $104,000 toward I-CAR training. Although a lot of legwork is involved, the end results are worth it, she explained. Obtaining money for time that employees must spend off the floor, in addition to the cost of training itself, is a benefit.

“The key here is your commitment. How committed are you to your employees and to your business?” she asked.

Kearney outlined the types of grants that can be pursued. With a general grant, 100 percent of training costs will be covered. The grant would be based on the budget of what I-CAR training would cost, and once the state approves, the shop will receive $25,000 in advance.

She advised shop owners to consider making the investment in their employees.

“Invest in them. Their livelihood comes through your shops. As you make them better people in their soft skills, you create that team culture. It makes a big difference, and people are less likely to leave you if you invest in their training.”

Pictured L-R: Lucky Papageorg, Al Brodeur, Molly Brodeur

“Everyone’s biggest gripe, aside from the Labor Rate, is trying to find and maintain good technicians.”

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