by Charles Cumpston
LAS VEGAS - The collision repair and auto glass industries have a number of challenges in common. This was evident from remarks at the opening session of NACE, the International Autobody Congress & Exposition at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.
In her address to attendees, Geralynn Kottschade, chairman of NACE, said she sees the focus for her industry as consumers. She made this point in discussing the Avery vs. State Farm case. "This case did not resolve the problems collision repairers face every day with parts that don't meet the standards we demand in our shops or the pressure to use certain parts that we feel are substandard. An informed, consenting consumer works in our favor. The consumer will demand the right, quality part for their vehicle. Until we reach a point where the consumer is informed about the types of parts used in the repair and enable them to choose whether its aftermarket, OEM or recycled, the parts issue will continue to be of concern."
She advised attendees to stay focused and work to make their businesses successful. "There are some real ugly things going on in our industry-in every industry. And though we cannot ignore what is going on, we can avoid becoming part of the problem," she stated.
To get an idea of the stature of NACE as an event and to the surprise of attendees, Jeff Gordon, champion NASCAR race driver, was the unannounced guest who introduced Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, who gave the keynote address. (Gordon is a spokesperson for DuPont which sponsored the session, which was what brought him to the podium.)
Giuliani focused his address on the qualities which make a good leader and how being a leader is important in running a successful business.
Following the opening session, attendees flooded the trade show floor, where a number of industry companies were exhibiting.
Of the three shows which are being held in Las Vegas this week as part of automotive aftermarket week, NACE is definitely the one most oriented toward glass. Its focus is collision repair and as the first woman NACE chairman made clear in her address, the two industries have much in common these days.
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