NWRA Holds Annual Conference; Discuss Membership, Standards and Marketing

The National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) held its annual conference Saturday and Sunday, January 17-18, in Orlando, Fla., at the Radisson Universal. Despite several pre-conference misfortunes (president Bill Batley's mother fell ill just before he left his home state of Washington and member Jack Sorrenson had to have his gall bladder removed just two days before the conference; neither was able to attend), the conference went smoothly and the association was able to take care of several major pieces of business.

First and foremost on attendees' minds was the situation in Connecticut (click here for more info), where licensing windshield repair has been a concern for several months. However, Dave Taylor of Cindy Rowe Auto Glass, who acted as president in Batley's absence, offered some positive feedback to the group.

"I think things will turn out well, but there's no way I can know that for sure," Taylor said.

However, he urged his fellow members to be vigilant in the case that such activity should continue in other states.
"The state legislators are not going to pick up the phone and tell you there's something happening that you need to be there for," he said.

Mike Boyle, new vice president of the NWRA board and president of Glas-Weld Systems, offered a seminar called "What Drives Your Customers." He explained that shops should take into account what their customers care about (i.e., cost, time, the environment, etc.) and utilize it to make them understand the benefits of windshield repair.
"When you communicate all the benefits of windshield repair, you legitimize our industry," Boyle said.

Thom Inman of Harmon AutoGlass, which was purchased recently by Glass Doctor, followed up with a very technical seminar on resin properties. He stressed the importance of understanding your resins and being able to indicate the quality of a good resin.

During the NWRA's open board meeting, officers were elected (click here for related story). In addition, the group discussed holding a focused membership drive this year, with some suggestions from new vice president Boyle, such as allowing manufacturers to let their customers join at a decreased rate to up the association's numbers and participation.

On Sunday, Steve Shaw, national participants manager for LYNX Services, gave an informative talk on dealing with LYNX on his network and how it works and how to get in touch with key people at the company. Likewise, Matt Larson of Delta Kits discussed marketing and some ways glass repair shops can change the way they do business, such as utilizing Internet search engine services to generate new business.

"When I talk to glass shops that aren't doing well, there's a theme-they're usually doing the same thing they were doing 10 or 15 years ago," he said.

The topic of developing an ANSI standard for windshield repair also was a prominent topic on the agenda. The NWRA announced that it intends to develop an ANSI standard with the help of the NGA, but nothing had been finalized yet. The NWRA board met with NGA auto glass vice president Leo Cyr in a closed meeting on Saturday morning, during which the possibility of a standard was discussed, and Taylor announced the decision of the board to work with the NGA late on Saturday afternoon during the regular conference session.

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