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Clint Marlow, chairman of the National Auto Body Council (NABC) Board of Directors, has issued an update on milestones the organization has achieved in its 27 years of serving the industry.
The following is Marlow’s take on the history and mission of the NABC:
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning.”
In today’s ever-evolving collision repair industry, change is a constant. And if you aren’t constantly evaluating those new processes and procedures and planning how to meet them, you’re going to get left behind.
That’s certainly true for the independent collision repair center owners over the past few years, and a trend that is expected to continue for the rest of this decade. It’s also true for the multi-shop operators and consolidators who are building their networks of franchised and company-owned repair facilities — and for the manufacturers, insurance companies, rental companies and others organizations that support this industry.
It’s also true for the industry associations like the National Auto Body Council. We were originally founded in 1994 to help local collision repair shops present a more positive image in their communities. We worked collectively to accomplish that with local philanthropy programs, raising funds to support programs that give back to those in need through our body shop members. But the industry evolved over the past 25 years, and we have been working to evolve along with it to continue to deliver our mantra of “changing and saving lives every day” for our members.
Today, after 27 years serving the collision repair industry, the NABC is proud of the collective work we have done with our members and is ready to serve for the next quarter century. We are honored to now include 23 NABC members at our highest level, along with hundreds of members and thousands of their collision repair locations representing the premier brands in the automotive industry. That is certainly a dynamic shift from five years ago when we counted less than a handful of members at our highest levels. We continue to work with these members to craft programs and opportunities to meet our collective challenges and build the image of the collision repair industry. And we are very grateful for our legacy members, the independent shop operators, who are adapting and thriving in today’s environment. Our membership has never been stronger, and we have a larger, more vibrant number of NABC member locations than we ever have before, including some 5,000 collision repair facilities. We are honored to represent them and look forward to continuing to work to serve an evolving industry.
Here are a few milestones to consider:
- We have gifted nearly 3,000 NABC Recycled Rides vehicles since 2007, with 75% of those vehicles presented to our nation’s veterans. That’s a value of some $42 million in contributions to those in need across the country. Thank you to our vehicle donors, repair partners and other supporters for making this possible.
- The NABC First Responder Emergency Extrication program will provide education for its 5,000th first responder this year. That’s more than 500 first responder units and communities we’ve been able to serve. Thank you to our vehicle donors, our collision shop partners and our tool and education providers — Hurst and Genesis — for helping us deliver this valuable, life-saving program.
- Our NABC Drive Out Distraction program has been reinvigorated for 2022, and we’ve just wrapped up National Distracted Driving Awareness month in April. Many thanks to NABC member PPG for partnering with the NABC to allow its NTT INDY CAR Series driver Josef Newgarden to help share the message about being safer on the road. This campaign has generated more than 380 news articles and thousands of impressions across the NABC, PPG and Indy Car social channels.
- The NABC awards program uses the NABC President’s Award and the NABC Changing and Saving Lives Award to recognize the many contributions of our member companies and individuals in our industry. Congratulations to 2021 recipients Farmers Insurance for the NABC President’s Award and Josh Byers for the NABC Changing and Saving Lives Award. We look forward to announcing the 2022 recipients later this year.
- The NABC fundraising efforts have ramped up to include three NABC Pars for Cars golf fundraiser events this year — in Oklahoma City in April, Dallas in June and St. Louis in September. We are very grateful for the support of the collision repair industry in sponsoring and playing in these events. We’ve also held our second NABC Rides for a Reason virtual car show in 2021, and offer our congratulations to the category and best-of-show winners in these events, as well as a sincere thank you to our sponsors and our celebrity judges.
We could not do the work we do as a volunteer organization without the leadership of the NABC board of directors and the members of the committees behind the key NABC initiatives. These industry leaders donate hours of their time and talents to further the NABC mission. Our annual elections ensure the NABC is constantly including new directors to help us deliver fresh perspective and support for the collision repair industry. We also have a very lean staff who manage the day-to-day operations and management of the organization, and our thanks go out to them, as well our service partners who support our accounting, legal and marketing needs.
Also important to the growth and progress of the NABC is our conservative financial management. As strategic stewards of our members’ contributions, we are focused on managing for efficiency and excellence. The efforts of the NABC board of directors over the past five years to solidify the financial position of the organization, implement stringent spending guidelines and fund a reserve for operations allowed the NABC to weather the COVID storm and continue serving our constituents.
That is our goal — the NABC is a not-for-profit organization committed to improving the image of all dedicated collision industry professionals. Our original vision was to burnish the image that automotive collision repairers are admired professionals and our mission was to develop, implement and promote community-based initiatives that exemplify the professionalism and integrity of the collision repair industry.
Today, our mission and vision continue as we serve a widening pool of constituents from the insurance companies, rental car companies, OEMs, technology providers, tool and equipment manufacturers, aftermarket parts companies, collision repair networks, multi-shop operators, other community-focused organizations and, of course, the independent shop owners for whom we were founded. Evolution in the collision repair industry is constant, just as the changes to the automobile are. But by continually evaluating and enhancing our organization and the initiatives the NABC offers, we can adapt to this evolution and further our efforts to serve our membership and the communities across the country where they live and work.