Competitors Meet at NWRA Conference to Help One Another
by Penny Beverage
The National Windshield Repair Association’s (NWRA) annual conference is always a time when competitors within the glass repair industry come together and share their mutual woes, along with their mutual joys, accompanied by advice on how to reach such goals.
This year, the meeting place for this was the Flamingo hotel in Las Vegas, Februrary 21-22, to which about 30 windshield repair technicians traveled to listen to knowledgeable speakers, including one another.
Let’s Consult Our Panel …
In addition to the opportunity to learn from industry peers, several speakers and industry experts provided their expertise for conference attendees.
Ken Eininger of Glass Mechanix held a seminar on guerilla marketing and told attendees that they have to decide what works for them and how quickly—or not—they should try to achieve their goals.
“If you try to do too much too quickly, it’s not going to happen, but sometimes you do need to get out there and just let it happen,” he said.
One idea he had is to pick up donuts and drop them off to dealerships.
“It sounds like a lot of money to some of you, but it would really secure these accounts for me,” Eininger said.
Dave Taylor of Cindy Rowe Auto Glass and former NWRA president moderated a panel on networks, during which attendees were allowed to provide written questions to the panel members.
“Networks aren’t our opposition—they’re our customers,” Taylor warned. “They don’t owe you anything.”
Most of the questions for which attendees sought answers were ones involving repair-only shops and their place in a world of combined-service (repair and replacement) shops. One attendee took the opportunity to find out how a repair-only shop runs through a network’s rotations.
Steve Shaw, who represented LYNX Services, said LYNX’s main goal is to offer the consumer a choice—not to focus on repair-only shops more than others.
“LYNX is a choice-based company and we want to expand the choices to include everyone we can,” he said.
Of course, as always, pricing was on the minds of all. Joe Kellman, who represented Globe Amerada Glass on the panel, gave his repair audience a surprising, but pleasing, answer to this question.
“I think sometimes you even sell your product too cheap,” he said.
Shaw added that LYNX is always looking for new pricing models and welcomes comments from network participants.
Business as Usual
Among its many social functions and network activities, the NWRA also uses its annual gathering to take care of some housekeeping issues, such as who will serve on its board of directors for the following year.
In addition, Thom Inman of Harmon Auto Glass, Dave Shores of Glas-Weld, Dave Taylor of Cindy Rowe Auto Glass, Leo Cyr of Novus and Ray Dimeglio of Glass Weld of New Jersey were elected to the board. They replaced Joyce Newsome of Tri-Glass, Rich Cantfield of Ultrabond and Dave Schuh of WSR Manufacturing, who all reached the end of their terms this year.
Walt Gorman of A-1 Windshield Repair’s term was also up, but he was re-elected to his seat.
Peg Stroka, NWRA administrator, also provided a membership update.
“The last year, we’ve held steady at right around 200,” Stroka said. “I think it’s healthy. We haven’t lost any members in the last year and we are growing some.”
Taylor, secretary/treasurer, provided a finance update to the board.
“As always, our cash flow in the first quarter is good right now because of the income from the conference,” he said. “We’re financially viable, but we’re certainly not fat.”
President Bill Batley agreed.
“This is a financially successful conference for us,” he said.
In addition, there was a great deal of talk about how to increase the membership of the association.
One option the NWRA is considering is having more regional meetings, such as several open houses the association is planning. The first one was slated for June 14 in Orange County, Calif., near the location of Dee’s Windshield Repair, which is owned by board member Dee Berge-Morse. Batley had also planned to be in attendance.
“We have to make our industry look more professional,” said Berge-Morse, in regard to her effort to unite her competitors for the good of the industry.
The association also has plans in the works for developing more press releases to submit to industry trade publications.
Finally, the NWRA considered the fate of the NWRA/NGA repair certification program, Currently, more than 60 people are certified, but the certification expires after three years, and many have met that date and are debating renewal (at a cost of $35—the same as the initial certification fee). The association is hoping to expand the term to five years possibly, but had not reached a conclusion at press time.
As all headed to their respective homes scattered across the United States, attendees were pleased with the success of the conference.
“I personally thought this was a really good conference,” Berge-Morse said.
“For me, this was the best conference we’ve ever had,” he said.
“I think there has been a lot of valuable information shared and some of it has actually been inspiring,” added David Casey, president of SuperGlass Windshield Repair in Orlando, Fla. “Some of the most valuable information comes from others who attend. We all help each other so much more than we hurt each other.”
Penny Beverage is the editor of AGRR magazine.
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