Volume 10, Issue 3 - May/June 2008

Independent’s Day
an iga viewpoint

It’s Show Time!
by Dave Zoldowski

This is my favorite time of year. Spring is in the air and independents are heading to Las Vegas. This will be the third of three straight years in Las Vegas for the Independent Glass Association’s (IGA) Annual Conference and Spring Auto Glass Show™. What a wild ride it has been. Over the past three years our conference and trade show have gotten progressively larger. We slowly are becoming the must-attend national auto glass event. I personally love to catch-up with long time members and with non-members who come out to visit with us before joining IGA.

I have to say with a little bit of pride that we may have outdone ourselves this year. We have packed more than 15 hours of seminars and trade show events into three days to be held May 1-3 at the Cashman Center and Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino. 

The Details
The conference will begin on Thursday, May 1, with a benefit update to IGA members. The conference then will turn quickly to the 2008 anti-steering and legislative agenda. Erica Eversman of Vehicle Information Services and Bob Smith of Storm Appraisal & Management Services Inc. will guide attendees through their experiences fighting for independents as well as introducing and passing anti-steering legislation on a state level.

Our educational program will help independents improve their businesses by providing seminars on Internet marketing and customer service. We have invited members of the windshield repair industry to help educate our attendees about the benefits of windshield repair. Attendees also will lead their own seminar by participating in a town hall discussion on better business practices. This session is an excellent opportunity for independents to bounce ideas off one another, for we all fight the same business-related fights everyday. 

Our 2008 conference also will give independents access to movers and shakers in the auto glass industry as IGA continues to foster understanding among independents, networks and the insurance industry. On Friday, May 2, Tom Feeney of Belron US is scheduled to provide an update to independents about Belron’s efforts in the U.S. auto glass market. There will be an opportunity for attendees to participate in a question-and-answer period during the session. 

Following Feeney’s presentation several members of the insurance industry will participate in a town-hall-style session designed to allow attendees to communicate directly with that segment of our industry. IGA feels continued interaction between independents, networks and insurers will help foster positive business relationships that will benefit us all. We continue to pursue these relationships publically and privately. 

IGA also will continue to advance the importance of Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS)-registration by once again offering to pay the initial AGRSS registration fees of any IGA member who attends the seminar conducted by AGRSS Council chairperson Cindy Ketcherside and Carl Tompkins, chair of the AGRSS credentialing committee, on Friday, May 2. AGRSS is preparing plans to offer third-party validation, through an independent audit, to companies for compliance. Tompkins and Ketcherside will be discussing how this will be accomplished and will answer any questions business owners have about the registration and validation processes. 

Technical Know-How
The conference then will provide more than five hours of technical seminars designed to keep attendees up-to-date on all the latest auto glass technology and techniques. Bob Beranek of Automotive Glass Consultants will conduct an intense two-hour session concerning auto glass installation on Saturday, May 3. Immediately following this session, technicians who have applied for IGA certification will have the opportunity to take the final certification exam. Bob’s class will present an excellent final refresher for technicians trying to pass the IGA certification exam. 

Preceding Bob’s technical seminar, Dale Malcolm of Dow Automotive, fresh from the Detroit Auto Show in January, will present attendees with information concerning the latest automotive concepts that could affect glass installation in the near future.

So as you can see, we are planning a very good event. For a complete seminar schedule and to register, visit www.iga.org. See you in Vegas. 

Dave Zoldowski is president of Auto One in Brighton, Mich., and serves as president of the IGA. Mr. Zoldowski’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine. 

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