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While I know some of this information will be somewhat repetitive, it’s to tie into the Public Comment portion of the July 21st, 2022, BAR Advisory Meeting.
Today I received permission to share the meeting with all of you and it can be found at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5Xp79w7a-U
We don’t expect you to watch the entire Advisory Meeting, but we did want you to skip to Agenda Item 11 – Public Comment which starts at 2 hours 26 minutes and 56 seconds into the meeting.
You can hear my comments and a “Stroll Down Memory Lane” ends at 2 hours and 33 minutes and 10 seconds.
In my comments you’ll note that I’ve been personally working with the Bureau of Automotive Repair for 38 years, 30 of which included CalABC along with my employer, Bridgestone Retail Operations and Firestone Complete Auto Care Centers.
I want to share the webcast because our members and others need to know how much further we’ve come by working together and everyone has benefited from it. Everyone needs to realize this doesn’t happen overnight, as we know from personal experience.
I was the president of ARC/CalABC’s when we worked with Nelson Lucas Communications and decided to hold a Summit in the Fall of 1996 that changed the course of our relationship with BAR. I personally worked the SEMA Show and Automotive Week in Las Vegas that November of 1996 and personally inviting many who came to the summit. Nelson Lucas PR Firm and our contact Bill Schreiber helped flesh out the idea and ad campaign for the summit. (Donna Lucas was President Reagan’s Press Secretary for a while). The more we talked about it, the more they still thought I was crazy.
Many at BAR were concerned about what we were intending to do, not to mention everyone outside of BAR thought we could never get the entire industry to meet and work on our problems together and that I was crazy. We made it clear to everyone that we know in the marketplace we’re fierce competitors, but at ARC/CalABC we leave our monikers, labels and brands outside the door and work on the many issues facing the automotive repair industry.
The attached was the flyer that went out to everyone inviting them to the summit. I advised them all to come in business attire because I wanted a picture of everyone at the summit in front of the Capitol during a working lunch. That’s the group then never in a million years thought I could get to agree to work together. In the picture you have Sears, Midas, AAMCO, Goodyear, Pep Boys, Big O, Les Schwab, ARCO Smog Pros, ASCCA, CAT, Sequoia Automotive Institute that became Wyo Tech, UTI, Quality Tune. California Automotive Service Station and Repair Association, Independents and more. All told it represents about 13,000 ARDs at the time.
This was a collaborative effort from us at ARC/CalABC and what developed after the summit. We hired Chris Walker as our lobbyist and thanks to the groundwork by Chris Walker and Richard Harris at Nossaman, drafting Senate Bill 2181 with Senators Polanco and Thomas who agreed to author SB 2181 we went to work. The bill got the ball rolling for a BAR Board, that was until we learned Governor Wilson didn’t want to approve any more boards and felt they were ineffective. Then Secretary Sheehan, Fred Aguire, Marty Keller, and Governor Wilson got it done.
Thanks to BAR Chief Marty Keller’s support with Governor Wilson, we got Executive Order 188-98 done.
While I was going to “retire” from CalABC as the Executive Director at the end of this year, the Board of Directors have convinced me to stay one more year ending in December 2023. I’m looking forward to working with you another year and I will still do some consulting for CalABC, after all I can’t walk away after 32 years technically, because that’s the extra time it took our steering committee to get the coalition formed.
I hope you enjoy my Public Comments, because our relationship with BAR did start off in a Cold War tyle atmosphere and we’re far better today as consumers and the agency by working together.