The Collision Industry Conference and why is it important to participate and be involved
Starting this month, I am the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) Chairman for the next two years. I follow an impressive list of past chairs, who continue to provide support and guidance to the organization. I am both humbled and honored to serve in this position, and sincerely want to do all I can to continue the great CIC legacy and ensure its relevance. In preparation, I began by speaking to as many shop owners and managers as possible, to get an understanding of how I could best serve the industry and to get their perspective of CIC.
During those discussions, I realized many were not aware of CIC and the purpose it serves. So I think it is important to start at the beginning. The CIC is a forum made up of participants from all industry segments for the expressed purpose of discussing and exploring the issues that occur among them. Through discussion and research during meetings and extensive interim committee work, CIC attempts to form a consensus on various issues, aware that all such findings are nonbinding and voluntarily accepted. CIC is not a trade association.
The meetings are open to all interested individuals of all segments of the industry to include repairers, insurers, paint and material companies, equipment and vehicle manufacturers, data providers, representatives of trade associations, and anyone with interest in creating a more professional industry. Each agenda has time set aside for participants to publicly address their concerns that are not on the published agenda through the time set aside as “open microphone.”
There are several benefits to attending or, at a minimum, staying abreast of the activity by watching for and reading news from CIC meetings. CIC meetings take place each quarter around the country. If you can attend, you will be able to hear and participate in presentations and discussions about issues and topics often months or years before you may face them in your business. And then there’s the opportunity to network. Getting to know industry professionals who attend CIC is invaluable. Often, solutions to local issues are best solved by getting to know the right people at a national level.
It is also important to know you can find a CIC committee or task force that interests you for participation. The monthly committee meetings are conducted by phone and do not require travel. It’s a great way to both learn and contribute. These groups are made up of professionals from multiple segments charged with researching a specific topic or area that has been identified as needing more understanding, and possible solutions to be considered by industry. It is also a great way to understand other perspectives you may never have considered.
If you work in our industry, it is very likely you have benefitted in some way from the work and open discussions at CIC. The owner of the smallest collision repair business in this country can walk up to a microphone and bring up challenges he or she faces and even offer solutions from their perspective, be heard by the large audience and possibly have their moment reported on by the industry media. Where else can that happen?
Learning is the only source of a sustainable competitive advantage, and the CIC provides its attendees with the opportunity to learn, be deeply involved and be far ahead of their competitors who do not attend CIC. Here is a couple of links that can be helpful if you want to know more.
For more information about CIC go to www.ciclink.com
For the schedule of upcoming meetings, go to www.ciclink.com/schedule/
Over the past few years, we have seen attendance at CIC meetings grow, especially in first-time attendees. I would love to see you attend and if you do, please give me the opportunity to meet you and thank you for attending. I am confident if you attend and engage, you will see why you should be there.
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Jeff Peevy is the president of the Automotive Management Institute (AMi), a 38-year veteran of the collision repair industry and CIC chairman for 2019 – 2020. He is sincere in his determination to improve the industry through respectful and professional dialog between the various segments of our industry.