On October 28, nearly 100 automotive repairers and industry supporters gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel of Clark for the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ)’s annual membership meeting. Addresses from NJ-MVC Chief Administrator Raymond Martinez and the New Jersey Green Auto Repair Program (NJGARP) as well as year-end industry updates held attendees captivated as the association closed the door on another great year.
In his first address to AASP/NJ as NJ-MVC Chief Administrator, Martinez spent nearly an hour providing an update on happenings at the NJ-MVC and fielding queries from the audience. “It is my hope that tonight is the beginning of a long relationship [with AASP/NJ members],” Martinez said. “We need to keep the lines of communication open in this relationship; that is ultimately what will benefit our state’s drivers the most.”
Martinez touched upon the controversial mobile shop issue after being presented with a book detailing the practice – as well as some common misconceptions – by AASP/NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant. “On this and so many other issues, communication is key,” Martinez explained. “We need input from industry members, whether you’re telling us, ‘You need to change this, and here’s why’ or ‘Don’t change this, and here’s why.’ This [book] will be very helpful in learning more about this issue.”
Later, the floor was opened up to comments and questions from attendees. One industry member spoke out on the hypocrisy of mobile shops currently operating in his own neighborhood. “I recycle everything in my shop, down to the fluorescent tubing,” he stated. “I’m doing things the right way, and I look outside, and there’s a guy spraying [paint] into the open air.”
“I’ll be honest with you; I’ve never seen a [mobile auto body] operation going on,” replied Martinez. “I’d love to see one. I’d be happy to go to some of your offices if we can arrange it. But this is what I’m talking about – you guys need to be my eyes and ears – you’re the reputable operators in the state that can say, ‘Look, there’s something going on right down the street,’ as you mentioned.”
Martinez’s presentation was followed by an awards presentation by the NJGARP to T. Masters Collision and Service Center of Hammonton, for being the first official “green” collision repair facility in the state. Other awards included the New Jersey Automotive/Stan Wilson Body Shop of the Year award (presented to Peters Body & Fender of Oakland) the NJA Mechanical Shop of the Year award (presented to Sadowski Shell of Lyndhurst), and the AASP/NJ Russ Robson Memorial Scholarship (presented to Dylon Tallman).
“Every year, we try to provide attendees with a well-rounded experience at our annual meeting, no matter what part of the industry they represent,” says AASP/NJ President Jeff McDowell. “This year’s event was packed with informative updates about the industry, and the highly-anticipated address by Mr. Martinez did not disappoint. We were also able to honor some of the most outstanding shops in the state as well as one very deserving auto repair student. I’m certain that there was truly something for everyone at this year’s annual meeting.”