June 18, 2018—On June 14, the ASA-Midwest Board and House of Delegates voted unanimously to disaffiliate with the Automotive Service Association and become an independent regional association known as the Midwest Auto Care Alliance (MWACA).
ASA-Midwest was the second largest affiliate of the ASA, serving the states of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
A day after the MWACA's announcement, ASA announced a change of its own—a restructuring of ASA-Midwest. ASA will continue to have an affiliate organization (without Oklahoma and Arkansas) as part of the new ASA-Midwest.
Sheri Hamilton, executive director for what is now the Midwest Auto Care Alliance, says her organization had concerns with membership renewals for many years, which weren’t being properly addressed. Hamilton says an increasing number of members asked to be able to reduce their dues by solely being a member of ASA-Midwest, rather than a duel membership with ASA, but the two memberships were only offered in a packaged deal.
“They didn’t feel like they were getting anything with their ASA national dues, and that price point became difficult,” Hamilton says. “Out of our dues, $525 was what we had to collect—$295 went to national, and $230 went to us.”
Here’s a breakdown of how these changes will affect members of ASA-Midwest and ASA as an organization.
Impact on the VISION Conference
Beginning as a seven-county Kansas City chapter in the late 1980s, the progressive affiliate grew into ASA Missouri/Kansas, and continued to grow and expand into a six state affiliate currently known as ASA-Midwest. Actively serving the needs of the independent automotive service professionals, ASA Midwest’s activities and events have included nine active chapters, numerous Shop Owner Support (S.O.S.) Groups, a shop mentor program, as well as founding and hosting the VISION HiTech Training & Expo event for 27 years.
ASA-Midwest has owned the VISION HiTech Training & Expo event from its inception 27 years ago, and Hamilton says this decision will have no impact on the conference going forward.
“Instead of being hosted by ASA-Midwest, it’ll be hosted by the Midwest Auto Care Alliance,” Hamilton says.
Impact on ASA Membership
The main change in membership, Hamilton says, is that members now have a choice to be a part of MWACA, ASA National, or both organizations. For current members, the remainder of their membership term in ASA-Midwest will remain with the MWACA. Upon their next renewal, they will have the opportunity to decide whether they want to remain a member of one or both organizations.
Hamilton says she anticipates seeing an increase in membership, which will help MWACA offer more programs and services. New members can sign up beginning Sept. 14.
There will be no increase in dues to begin with, and yearly rates should remain at $230 a year. Existing members can renew at that same rate.
Due to the shift in the ASA-Midwest structure, ASA-Midwest members will realize a reduction in their annual dues. The reduced administrative expense and shift to a more virtual environment of meetings and member services are results of these changes. These changes will be effective Oct. 1.
Future Plans for MWACA and ASA
Hamilton says there will be a new lineup of benefits, programs and services that will be rolled out this fall for its members.
MWACA did not own the ASA-Midwest name, and ASA is already moving on its plans to create another ASA-Midwest after the separation. Hamilton says this could create some messaging confusion, as MWACA and ASA-Midwest will not be affiliated in any way.
Dan Risley, president of ASA, says members will have the option to switch to the separate organization or remain a part of ASA-Midwest.
Before, the members of ASA-Midwest were focused on serving mechanical repair shops, but now membership is a mix of mechanical and collision, Risley says.
ASA is beta-testing a new virtual environment for its affiliates. Risley says the organization hopes to have virtual board meetings so members don’t have to fly out of their way.
While there is still value in face-to-face meetings, Risley says this new model for ASA would switch the balance of meetings from 90 percent face-to-face and10 percent virtual to 90 percent virtual and 10 percent face-to-face.
Risley says the overall vision for the industry is to grow, but to grow not just for the sake of growing. He says the goal is to have strong affiliates and to have people engaged and responsive to industry issues.
“We need members to respond to the issues or even show up to the state capital,” Risley says. “The new virtual environment is going to allow us to do that.”