Happy New Year

February 2, 2021

By Steve Hughes, President and CEO, HCS International; Chairman, Import Vehicle Community

Matters of Import

At the start of a New Year, many of us reflect back on the previous year while considering the promise and excitement that’s on the horizon. Last year didn’t leave us with many things we’re going to miss, but we have plenty of reasons to be hopeful for our future.

For example, the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out will accelerate so that we can finally bring the pandemic under control, allowing our economy to restart and businesses to reopen. Our world, our country and our great industry will persevere through these troubled times and come out smarter and stronger than ever.

We are incredibly fortunate to have such a robust and resilient association with great leaders and member companies providing essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we’re going to continue to protect and advance our industry forward to even greater heights.

We’ve seen unprecedented disruption to normal business operations, especially disruptions to our supply chains. We’ve endured the increase in cost and difficulties in importing parts. These problems have nearly upended our businesses. But we will overcome them.

While ocean shipping problems are going to persist a while longer, it is expected to stabilize in late spring and hopefully, many of the current shipping issues we’re facing will be behind us by early summer. Maintain hope, for we can clearly see the light at the end of this tunnel.

Our diverse community membership represents our industry’s global footprint and gives us the cumulative knowledge base of challenges and issues faced when going through the process of importing parts and managing a supply chain. It’s important that we not only keep our members informed but also that we engage with other communities of the association to share knowledge and resources.

Speaking of membership, I would like to welcome our newest Executive Leadership Council member Michelle Christenson, strategic project manager, IQ Integrated Quality. Michelle brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to the council. We all look forward to her fresh outlook and input. Additionally, I would like to announce Vinay Mamidi, vice president, CSF, as our new vice chairman.

Together, we have much work to do, but we’re going to recover and excel in 2021. We’ve got a lot planned and so much to look forward to with our amazing team! Learn about our community on the Import Vehicle Community page. More information and resources can be found on Auto Care Association’s new website experience at autocare.org.

Lastly, I’d like to say “thank you” to our outgoing chairman John Treece, president and CEO, DMA Sales. Through his great leadership and that of his predecessors, he’s made my job as the new chairman both easier…and harder.

In closing, I wish everyone a safe, healthy and Happy New Year! I look forward to seeing you all in person very soon!

Steve Hughes
President and CEO, HCS International
Chairman, Import Vehicle Community