Virtual Retirement: Charley Quirt shares his special memories and responsibilities at CIECA, as he plans to retire

Toronto, Ontario — Over 18 years ago, Charley Quirt joined the Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) as the organization’s project coordinator. He was attending a joint Architecture/Vehicle Damaging & Imaging (VDI) face-to-face meeting in Hollywood, Florida in May 2002 and a CIECA board meeting happened to be occurring at the same time. He was asked to come to that board meeting and share his expertise. The rest is history.

Fast-forward to 2020, and Charley has helped create 202 messages for the collision repair industry, facilitated more than 24 different committees and attended countless meetings for the organization.

CIECA asked Charley to share some of his responsibilities and special memories over the years.

Q: What have your responsibilities been as CIECA’s technical project coordinator? 

A: I have always been independent in finding ways to improve the organization, both in the standards we develop as well as aiding our members in their implementations. It was very important to me that we develop quality products and I’ve done this by creating charters and business plans for all of the committees I managed.

From there, we were able to create a workflow to describe how the Business Message Suite (BMS) standards are identified and what they will communicate.

After working closely with CIECA’s various committees to develop standards and messages, we would then create two documents, the Implementation Guide for the business side and the accompanying Appendix C document for the business analysts and the implementers. We also met face-to-face during the Quality Assurance (QA) process to validate the work that had been done and ensure there were no errors. It’s exciting work and very gratifying to know that it helps all segments of the industry be more efficient, save costs and better communicate with each other.

Q: Can you share some special CIECA memories? 

A: In thinking about my time with CIECA, I have a consistent memory: how all of the committees have dedicated and focused themselves on completing the work set forth in the agenda that led to the creation of their standards and documents mentioned above. Sometimes, it takes a lot of patience to do this to get to a final product(s) and I always felt we were all in it together. 

One success is that we never voted on anything! We have always managed by consensus and a win-win solution.

I always enjoyed our very engaging weekly virtual meetings as well as the face-to-face meetings where we had the opportunity to place a face with a name. 

I remember the face-to-face meeting when someone (Phil Martinez) put his hand over the anti-trust and told me that I could recite it by heart. I did. Then, another person challenged me to see how fast I could recite it. I think that once I retire, I will be able to recite it until I see the great standards in the sky! 

The CIECA organization is one that we should all be proud of. Whenever I was in a situation, I was always welcomed with open arms and open minds. The goal was to complete the standards and documents that were needed. By the last meeting, it was always a bittersweet sense of leaving behind something to be proud of and a void felt in missing our weekly meetings with the virtual friendships we had made. 

Q: How has CIECA changed over the years and what has your role been in this change?

A: Wow, there are so many ways. Number one is the growing professionalism in the organization with CIECA’s staff, board and committee members. I’ve found that the changes have been gradual over the years. It’s like seeing a mountain and when you reach the top, there is another. That would describe the path taken to develop and improve our product offerings as a total package, our standards and so much more. 

In the past, when we had a few releases of the CIECA standards, we asked companies what they implemented and if we could share that information. No one offered. When we held our first CIECA Implementation Conference, we hoped someone would step forward and present his or her implementations and experiences. A great memory was seeing our members taking up the torch and many presenting. That has continued to grow. 

Q: What are your plans during retirement?

A: How much time do you have? I’d like to take my Harley to the Black Hill, perhaps Sturgis. I would also like to tour Portugal, Spain (Barcelona!) and Italy when the time is right. I started remodeling my home in Wisconsin, which includes putting in a new kitchen and renovating the first floor (it has only been 40 years!). I also want to update my cottage, which is 75 miles north of where I live in La Valle, WI. I’m also planning to work on the mile-long list of tasks that I know should be tasked. Did you say retire? 

Part of my retirement will be reflecting upon and missing my CIECA life. It has been a great ride, shared with so many great people. Thank you. I will always remember you, your cooperation and your trust. Most of all, your friendship. Thanks for the memories.

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