In this week’s executive interview, we hear from Daren Fristoe, executive director and chief operating officer for Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR), along with Charlie Ayers president and CEO of CCAR. In January, it was announced that Fristoe would step down from his role as president, succeeded by Ayers. In the interview, they talk about this transition of leadership, as well as the future of the organization.
During his professional career, Daren Fristoe has had responsibilities for the overall management of varied disciplines, including human resources, training and education, benefits and salary administration, general office management, franchise services, communication, corporate marketing and event management, as well as community service outreach programs.
Prior to joining CCAR, he worked in the industries of collision repair franchising, e-commerce procurement, telecommunications, staffing, international manufacturing and property and casualty insurance. He serves as chairman of the Planning Commission for the City of Lee’s Summit, chairman of the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council, and KPA co-chairman for the Lee’s Summit 360 Strategic Planning Committee. In addition, Fristoe is a member of the Rotary International, the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce and the Advisory Board of Directors for Hope House. He received his bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Missouri – Columbia, and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Tulsa College of Law.
Charlie Ayers has a broad and diverse background in the automotive industry, with 25 years of leadership experience in customer service, mystery shopping, real estate, regulatory and governmental affairs and overall business management. Prior to joining the CCAR team, Ayers was the CCAR board chairman, a position that he also held with the Motorist Assurance Program (MAP). He comes to CCAR after 24 years with Midas. Ayers started his automotive career as a technician in the early 80s and has been certified by ASE since 1991. He served as a volunteer arbitrator for the Chicago Better Business Bureau for 10 years, and completed his B.S. and M.B.A. degrees at Northern Illinois University.
At the beginning of the year, it was announced that a significant leadership transition would take place at CCAR. Please tell us about these changes.
CA: At the start of the new year, I joined CCAR as president and CEO. For the previous three years I was CCAR’s board chairman, and during that time I developed a strong working relationship with Daren Fristoe. My background in the mechanical repair industry is fairly long and pretty diverse, having held seven or eight different positions with Midas International over a 25-year span. In addition, I worked for many years with the Motorist Assurance Program, including holding the position of chairman for a few years. With my mechanical repair industry experience, coupled with Daren’s collision repair industry experience, I feel that we make a great team.
Daren, what are your hopes for CCAR as you pass the president torch to Charlie?
Building on our stronger organizational foundation now, CCAR is poised for even greater success in 2012 and beyond. Nearly four years ago, my initial role with CCAR was to implement somewhat of an ‘Extreme Makeover’ for the organization.
From staffing to branding to outreach, we really experienced dramatic and fundamental change in who we were and how we served our customers. Now with that new structure in place, the timing was perfect for this leadership change. The combination of Charlie’s and my skills and backgrounds truly lends itself to a more effective and productive CCAR .
Charlie, what are your goals for CCAR in the coming years?
I am truly excited and energized by what I know we are going to accomplish in the near future. Our approach is going to be focused on growth, improving and updating our core products and most importantly solidifying the relationships with our existing and future customers. From my perspective, the industry has never been as interested in safety and environmental compliance as it is right now, and I only expect that interest to accelerate. We will continue to leverage our unique OSHA and EPA alliances (more about that later) to be THE resource to help those in the automotive industry to be safe, clean and green.
How will your previous experience at Midas International Corp. help guide you in this new role at CCAR?
CA: During my tenure at Midas, they offered me numerous opportunities, all of which I am very grateful for. I headed up their customer service staff for many years, led their mystery shopping program, was one of the founding fathers of their Business Support Group and several years ago I was designated as their point person for safety and environmental compliance at all of their company stores.
It was during that role that I became acquainted with CCAR and their top-notch products. As a result, Midas has now been a satisfied user of S/P2 for the past 10 years.
For those of our readers who aren’t very familiar, please give us a brief explanation of CCAR’s role in the automotive industry.
First and foremost, CCAR is the U.S. EPA’s Automotive Compliance Assistance Center. Our longstanding alliance with the EPA – followed by our ongoing alliance with OSHA – combined gives us a tremendous competitive advantage. Simply put, we help you stay safe, clean and green through our websites, call center and online training courses – S/P2 (which stands for Safety and Pollution Prevention) and HazMatU.
How has the increased consumer awareness of the need to be more environmentally conscious – particularly when it comes to the use and maintenance of a motor vehicles – helped further CCAR’s mission?
In addition to our core mission at CCAR, we recognized a need in late 2009 that collision repair facilities could benefit from an expansion of our services. A differentiator in the marketplace, we created the “GreenLink Shop” program, designed to promote consumer confidence in local automotive repair facilities’ environmental and safety awareness and stewardship. The GreenLink Shop program was created, in part, in response to requests from repair facilities for automotive recognition of their collective commitment to workplace safety and environmental best practices. That need, combined with a grown focus on ‘green’ businesses by consumers, forms the foundation of the program and allows participating businesses to distinguish themselves from the competition for repair work, staffing and community outreach.
What does the repair shop of the future need to look like in order to meet safety and pollution standards?
Being focused on safety and environmental best practices is a cultural thing. Many shops have embedded this focus into everything that they do, starting from the time someone new joins the shop to holding regular meetings, having all the necessary documentation in order, and living the safe, clean and green life each and every day.