UPDATED: ASA Northwest Leaving ASA, Joining MWACA
Sept. 28, 2021—In an exclusive announcement sent to Ratchet+Wrench, ASA Northwest, the largest ASA affiliate, announced it will leave ASA and join forces with Midwest Auto Care Alliance, bringing total membership between the two associations to more than 800 members. Members of the now former affiliate were notified yesterday via a letter.
The move comes in response to the ASA’s decision to revoke all current affiliation agreements and transition into a new 50-state regional structure.
“It is with much excitement that I announce a new path for our association. I look forward to the opportunity to serve our members and create value at a much higher level than previously imagined. Our announcement today is that we will be transitioning from ASA Northwest to NWACA (Northwest Auto Care Alliance). Great things are on the horizon for our members,” Bryan Kelley, chairman of the board, ASA Northwest, said in a statement.
In an exclusive interview with Ratchet+Wrench, MWACA executive director Sheri Hamilton said talks between the two organizations began after MWACA divested.
"Talks have been going on with ASA-Northwest realizing they needed a back-up should ASA National ever go under," Hamilton said. "They always had a Plan B, which didn't always involve us, until they saw what we had going on and it was a path they wanted to explore. They were committed to ASA but they're not willing to sacrifice the chemistry and energy they have with their member to have it be served out of the Texas office. No one can have the same relationship with members on a national level that affiliates can have on a local level."
Hamilton noted that both organizations had "the same issues" with ASA National, which eventually caused the ASA-Midwest affiliate, ASA’s second-largest affiliate at the time, to leave the Automotive Service Association to form an independent organization, the Midwest Auto Care Alliance, in September 2018. Hamilton noted "it was an ugly split" but declined to go into further detail, saying, "Three years later, it's clear MWACA made the correct choice."
The newly formed NWACA organization will follow a similar organizational structure.
“MWACA has always worked closely with ASA Northwest, before and after their departure from ASA. We look forward to collaborating and partnering with NWACA on programs and benefits for our members. As a member-focused and member-directed organization, MWACA has achieved much growth and success over the three years. NWACA will be able to take the same path with great satisfaction from their members, vendors, and partners,” Hamilton said in a statement.
ASA Northwest will begin the transition to Northwest Auto Care Alliance, following the affiliate agreement, which states either party must give 90 days notice. That 90 days began on Monday. The changeover will be complete no later than January 1, 2022. Hamilton said NWACA and MWACA will remain completely separate entities, simply operating "knowing that we have the same mission and vision," and emphasized there will be no governing body over both organizations.
Hamilton said she has been in touch with other ASA affiliates, but declined to comment whether MWACA will continue to grow and absorb those now eliminated affiliates.