Volume 12, Issue 4 - July/August 2010

Independent’s Day
an iga viewpoint

New Directions
by Alan Epley

Recently, the Independent Glass Association (IGA) has made a conscious decision to redirect its focus and involve the consumer, who is really at the heart of the matter, in its efforts to restore free and fair competition to the auto glass repair and replacement industry. After all, the issues at hand are really all about service to our customers and the safety of the occupants within the vehicle. Under this new direction, the association is reaching out to its members, non-members, business partners, consumers and any other interested parties to make the industry one in which we all can be proud participants. But, as we are all well aware, we continue to operate our businesses on a theme of “us versus them.”

We all can acknowledge that there are major problems in our industry. The IGA is collecting data, legislation continues to be introduced in a multitude of states dealing with issues like steering, and the opposition to this legislation spends millions to ensure its defeat. So, in reality, all factions are preoccupied with issues that are counterproductive to meeting the overall objective of tending to the needs of customers that we all serve.

“In reality, all factions are preoccupied with issues that are counterproductive to meeting the overall objective of tending to the needs of customers that we all serve.”

Working Together
The question that I would like to pose is the following: is the time right to put our differences aside and try to work together for the better of the industry by bringing all parties into the discussions? Do we continue to commit our resources to a war room mentality, where we can continue to develop strategies in an effort to defeat the opposition? Or are we better off to dialogue and see if we can find some common ground upon which to resolve our differences?

Every one of us has a stake in this industry and we can all concede that under current conditions, the contentious atmosphere will not subside. On a consistent note, I think that we can agree that there will be no victor. So the choice is up to each one of us.

While the IGA is open to dialogue, rest assured that the association remains committed to the values of its membership and will remain steadfast in its pursuit to ensure free and fair competition in the AGRR industry. I will attest that the vast majority of independent glass shop owners are hard-working individuals whose objective is to serve their customers and make an honest living. Make no mistake that the willingness to dialogue should not be perceived as a sign of weakness. Rather let it be a signal that rationality may be a better approach to resolve our differences. The IGA is strong and remains committed to its mission.

A New Regime
On a closing note, as the newly elected president of the board of directors of the IGA, I would like to thank my predecessor, Dave Zoldowski, for his hard work and determination on behalf of the independent cause. Dave served the association well, and I am proud to be associated with him. He continues to serve the association as a member of its board of directors and I look forward to working with him.

As the new president, I want each and every one of you to know that my ears are always open and I would like to hear from everyone. I look forward to working with each and every one of you for the betterment of our industry.

Alan Epley is president of the Independent Glass Association (IGA). He also serves as president of Southern Glass and Plastic in Columbia, S.C. Mr. Epley’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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