Bud Merwin was 17 when he joined the service industry by going to work in his father's body shop in Emporia, Kan.
He swept the floors, washed the windows and worked his way up to 'body man' and painter.
Now, after almost 50 years of being a hands-on, certified technician, service training advocate, exposition founder and association leader, Merwin, 65, will retire Dec. 31 as president of the Automotive Service Association.
He will be succeeded by Walter Trapp, the association's executive vice president and COO.
Merwin, who ran his family's mechanical, towing and collision repair business from 1951-73, was a founding officer of the Automotive Service Council in 1973.
That council merged with the Independent Automotive Service Association to form the Automotive Service Association in 1986. Merwin was that group's executive vice president from 1986-89; he became its president and chief staff executive in 1989.
An advocate of technician certification and training, Merwin was a National Institute for Automo-tive Service Excellence certified master technician.
One of Merwin's finest career accomplishments occurred in 1983. That is when he became co-founder and director of the International Autobody Congress and Exposition - also known as NACE - a global event for the collision repair industry.
This year's event ran from Thursday, Dec. 3, through Sunday, Dec. 6, in Dallas.
It was to feature 2,700 exhibit booths representing 650 companies. About 35,000 collision repair professionals from 80 countries were expected to attend.