For nearly half his 49-year career, retired IAMG president Lloyd Fields helmed today’s longest-published PB&E sales flyer.
AUTOBODY SOURCE STAFF
QUICK FACTS: For three decades, The Autobody Source has connected autobody repair solutions to shops and technicians across North America. We’re celebrating this milestone by recognizing the man whose commitment shaped our longevity and success in the industry.
International Autobody Marketing Group (IAMG) was formed in 1992, launching its Autobody Brands International, Autobody Media International, and Autobody Network divisions, plus a first-of-its-kind journal for autobody techs.
Lloyd Fields joined IAMG as President in 1999 and retired in 2020.
When The Autobody Source launched in the early 90s, did that type of publication exist at the time?
Lloyd: No. There were other end-user flyers in the industry, but none specifically for paint, body and equipment. It was tools and equipment and that type of thing. If a particular warehouse carried a few PB&E items they would feature them here and there, but there was nothing dedicated to the PB&E industry. We were the ones who introduced that.
With that track record, when times were tough, were there moments you considered you might stop printing it?
Lloyd: We thought about that on many occasions. Over the years, we faced advertising challenges that were draining our resources. And while I hated the thought of no longer printing it, there were product manufacturers who believed in The Autobody Source and supported it wholeheartedly. As a result, we were able to expand it beyond print into the digital platform and jobber network we have today.
2022 also marks 30 years for IAMG. How did the company get started?
Lloyd: It began with Bob Van Kirk, who was a member of ATD Tools Inc. in Missouri, which produced a sales flyer within its distribution model for industrial tools. With that concept in mind, he partnered with six PB&E warehouses and formed International Autobody Marketing Group, operating in the US and Canada.
Back then, was The Autobody Source distributed in Canada as it is today?
Lloyd: Yes. At that time, our Canadian partners published their own regional version of The Autobody Source with the same products and manufacturers as we did in the United States, and some additional ones for their region.
What sets The Autobody Source apart within the industry?
Lloyd: When we began, several product manufacturers had their own sales magazines. In fact, IAMG designed and printed some of them. Normally you would see an advertisement for a product and then have to figure out where to buy it. But I wanted anyone to be able to view multiple products from a variety of manufacturers at one time and say “that’s a nice price, I’d like to buy that for my shop”. I didn’t want it to just be another advertising magazine in the industry. My goal was for The Autobody Source to be an effective resource for the warehouse, for the jobber and for the end user. That’s where we differentiated ourselves—With a publication that’s a direct avenue for these products and brands to the technicians in the shop.
How did your career path connect you with The Autobody Source team?
Lloyd: My very first job out of school at age 16 was as a car washer for a dealership in Trinidad. A year later, I transferred to the parts department, then was promoted as Parts Manager a year and a half afterward. Later, I worked for the 2nd largest company in Trinidad for 8.5 years before moving to the US to work for MEDCO Corp in 1977. A lot of people in this industry don’t know this, but MEDCO originally operated as Manufacturers Equipment Distributors Company—renamed from Tool Exchange, and Liberty Bell Compressor Corporation before that. After 17.5 years, I left MEDCO as Director of Purchasing and Marketing to work as Global Product Manager for Stanley Tools, which I held for 5 years. In 1999, I was in negotiations to work with MEDCO again when I got a call from International Autobody Marketing Group, seeking me as its President. At that point, I decided it would be the longest tenure of my career, and the rest is history.