If you’ve been around long enough, you’ve notice trends and styles that fade away only to change back years later. Fashion is a good example. If you keep a wardrobe for about 30 years, it’ll come back in style. The 70s may be an exception, but you get the idea.
We see this with car designs, too. Muscle cars that were so popular 50 years ago trended to things like the Pinto, Vega, and Sundance. Those were embarrassing times, and I’m glad to see we’re getting back to performance and style.
I’m noticing this occurring with ATRA as well. Years ago, many years ago, people connected with others in the industry, sharing ideas and discussing transmission failures and fixes. I remember going to a Southern California Chapter meeting about 25 years ago, and there were at least 30 shop owners there. It was a great time, and as an old guy, it provided many great memories.
That kind of socializing has drifted away as people have grown further apart – fewer “joiners.” Even community clubs like Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, etc., are finding it difficult to maintain membership levels. It got to where shop owners didn’t even visit neighboring shops, just blocks away. Gone were the days of asking your friendly competitor if they’d ever seen a problem on a (take your pick) transmission and how to fix it. And while that guarded approach may have offered a bit of security, albeit false security, it wasn’t much fun.
Thank goodness, social media has changed that. Forums like the Transmission Brotherhood and Trans Logic Rebuilders Group are popular ways for people to stay in touch with their fellow rebuilders. And their numbers are growing. But not just there. The ATRA Facebook page, @transmissions, has over 7,000 followers. It turns out that people really do like mixing it up with others in the industry.
It gets even better. Over the past year, ATRA has added more automotive technical schools to our membership. We’ll be looking at ways of involving those schools to bring more people together for regional training. Imagine having hands-on classes in conjunction with the annual seminars. Keep an eye out for more developments on this front. We haven’t set dates nor finalized plans yet, but the need is clear, and our industry is ready for it.
ATRA agents are combing the countryside for schools that are interested in ATRA’s training capabilities. The pool of training facilities is growing. Speaking of agents, ATRA is assigning individuals on our Membership Team to specific areas of North America, adding a more personal touch. This way, each shop will have their guy or gal to reach to for questions and information.
And finally, I can’t help but mention how excited we are about returning to a live Powertrain Expo for 2021. It’s not until October, but the buzz is already out there. People can’t wait to see their old friends again, in person. We’ve been cooped up for some time, and we’re ready to get together once again. Whether it’s the Powertrain Expo in October, a local seminar (returning this fall), or any other social event that brings people together, it’ll be like old times. Indeed, for ATRA and our industry, the circle has fully turned.