Columns

We feature some of the best columnists in the industry including Toby Chess, Rich Evans, Tom Franklin, Mike Causey, Dale Delmege, Walter Danalevich and Lee Amaradio.

We have contributing writers from different regions of the country: Ed Attanasio, David Brown, Chasidy Sisk and Rachael Mercer.

We also have guest columistslike Richard Steffen of the CRA, and David McClune from CAA.

Collectively they represent a unique perspective with hundreds of person-years of experience. Let us know what you think, by posting responses to their columns.

 

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Lee Amaradio

Lee Amaradio, Jr. is the president and owner of “Faith” Quality Auto Body Inc. in Murrieta, California. Lee is president of the Collision Repair Association of California (go to CRA at their website ) as well as an advocate for many other industry groups. He can be contacted at lee@faithqualityautobody.com

To read Lee's columns prior to last January search "Amaradio" on this site from the home page

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Hey Toby! by Toby Chess

Toby Chess is an I-CAR program instructor, Training specialist, and former salvage yard operator. Toby is universally known in the collision industry for his work with first responders and advocacy for body shops and consumers. He can be reached at tcspeedster@yahoo.com

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David M. Brown

David M. Brown is a native of Philadelphia who has lived in Arizona for 30 years. He writes about subjects he is passionate about, including the car industry. A father of two, he is mentored by his border collie/pointer, Haylie, who is much more concerned with thrown tennis balls than with a beautifully repainted Aston Martin.

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Dale Delmege

Dale Delmege has a wealth of industry experience and shares his management tips by answering questions in this column. Dale has been Collision Industry Conference Chairman 1999–2000 and is a Lifetime Member (since 2001) of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS). He is also a National Auto Body Council Founding Member and Director; a CIECA. Founding Member, Director, and Chairman.

ASK DALE at DaleSR@cox.net.

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Gonzo Weaver

Scott "Gonzo" Weaver owns a Tulsa Auto Electric Shop and has a knack for telling true stories of his adventures in auto repair. The following short stories are excerpted from his book, "Hey Look! I Found The Loose Nut", which provides a Good Laugh for Mechanics of Any Age. For more information, Contact Scott Weaver at Gonzosae@aol.com and see his website at www.gonzostoolbox.com.

You can purchase his book from Amazon at: Hey Look, I Found the Loose Nut

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Tom Franklin

 Tom Franklin has been a sales and marketing consultant for forty years, specializing in automotive and auto body. He has written numerous books and provides marketing solutions and services for many businesses. He can be reached at (323) 871-6862 or at tbfranklin@aol.com.

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Stefan Gesterkamp

Stefan Gesterkamp is a  Master Craftsman and BASF representative who has been in the automotive paint industry for 27 years. He started his career in a custom shop before turning to collision repair. Stefan graduated from the University of Coatings and Colorants in Germany and is the author of “How to Paint Your Show Car.” You can order Stephan's book from Amazon. Contact him at: stefan.gesterkamp@basf.com

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Mike Causey

Mike Causey is a consumer advocate and lobbyist for the Independent Auto Body Association (IABA) and healthcare groups, as well as Organic farming and Healthy Eating. Mike is a writer and speaker on numerous consumer issues and legislation. Contact him at: Causey & Associates, P.O. Box 16725, Greensboro, NC 27416 Email: gocausey@aol.com  Phone: (336) 210-1947

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Dan Espersen

Dan Espersen is ALLDATA® CollisionSM Program Manager. Dan is a Gold Pin Member of the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) and holds an AA Degree in Automotive Technology. He has 17 years of experience in the collision industry and 17 years of experience in the automotive industry.

Dan writes the ALL OEM INFORMATION semi-monthly column with Tom McGee, who writes the alternate month.

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Tom McGee

Tom McGee is National Account Manager for ALLDATA Collision. He has had a long career with I-CAR, including as President & CEO. Tom is an ASE certified Master Collision Repair/Refinish Technician. He has also run his own collision facility and been a career and technical school instructor. He can be reached at Tom.McGee@alldata.com. For other Tom McGee articles in Autobody News, go to:
http://www.autobodynews.com/tom-mcgee/index.php   —   JEFF WEBSTER is an ALLDATA Technical Writer.

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John Yoswick

John Yoswick is a freelance automotive writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has been writing about the collision industry since 1988. He is the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com).

He can be contacted by email at jyoswick@SpiritOne.com.

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Ed Attanasio

Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco. Ed enjoys sports of all kinds and is a part time stand-up comedian. He can be reached at era39@aol.com.

See also Ed's Shop Showcase columns.

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Janet Chaney

Janet Chaney has been a long-time contributor to Autobody News. She's a former shop owner and now owns and operates Cave Creek Business Development in Stevensville, Montana. Janet supports many auto body associations can be reached at janet_chaney@earthlink.net

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Walter Danalevich

Walter Danalevich, AAM, has owned Santa Barbara Auto Refinishing in Santa Barbara, California, since 1979. He enjoys sharing his shop management tips with other shop owners and would like to hear about yours. Contact him at sbarbody@earthlink.net

See also his shop website: www.sbautobody.com

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Insurance Insider

The "Insurance Insider" is a corporate-level executive with a Top 10 auto insurer in the U.S.. Although he needs to remain anonymous, he will answer questions emailed to him in future columns. Got a comment or question you’d like to see him address? Email him at Auto.Insurance.Insider@gmail.com

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Rich Evans

Rich Evans is the owner of Huntington Beach Bodyworks and an award winning painter and fabricator. He offers workshops in repair and customization at his facility to share his unique talents. He also appears on a new show on Speed Channel, Car Warriors. See his Twitter (left) and Facebook (right) feeds for more on Rich's active projects.
For contacts and design samples visit www.huntingtonbeachbodyworks.com

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Williams, Larry

Larry Williams is an innovative, award winning parts manager who has been managing profitable parts departments for over 30 years. He recognizes the importance of OEM parts management to collision repairers and now works as a consultant to the industry. He can be reached for consultation at ljoew2@gmail.com.

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Business Beat

Business Beat is a new column launching May 2012 in Autobody News. It will focus on investment activities in the automobile and collision industry and will feature guest columnists on a regular basis. Opinions herein are strictly those of the author. Autobody News accepts no responsibility for investment actions taken or not taken based on this column.

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Sisk, Chasidy Rae

Sisk, Chasidy Rae

Chasidy Rae Sisk is a freelance writer from New Castle, DE, who writes on a variety of topics. She can be reached at crsisk@chasidyraesisk.com.

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Alicia Basteri

Alicia Basteri is Online Editor at Autobody News. Contact her at abasteri@autobodynews.com.

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David Luehr

David Luehr

David Luehr is the owner of Elite Body Shop Solutions, LLC a collision business consulting firm based in Nashville, Tennessee. He is a 30-year veteran of the collision repair industry and has served on several industry association boards across the USA as well as leadership positions with companies such as Manheim and ABRA. David is an expert in Body Shop Operations and specializes in Lean and Theory of Constraints methods. Email him at dluehr@msn.com

 

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Monday, 22 December 2014 00:00

Successful Change Using Modern Leadership

Written by

I have presented and written several articles recently where I have expressed my views on the new age of leadership. I have been openly critical about the outdated, Industrial Age leadership methods being used by leaders in many collision repair businesses. The reason I am so passionate about this subject is because it is at the very core of our continued success as a collision industry. The business leaders that first embrace modern leadership concepts will dominate the industry!

Click HERE to download a PDF of this article.

Monday, 22 December 2014 00:00

Your To-Do Marketing List for 2015

Written by

When body shop owners ask me how can we get started on marketing for our shop, I tell them to start off with baby steps and gradually build your efforts over time. Marketing for any business is like chopping down a huge tree and the average small company does not have the means or money to knock it down with one full swoop. Imagine that marketing is like a big old Redwood tree and you’re sitting there with a little pen knife, but if you keep hacking away at it, eventually you’ll see results.

Click HERE to download the PDF of this article.

Thursday, 18 December 2014 00:00

Associations Look Back on 2014

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From record snowfalls in the southern U.S. to a missing Malaysian airplane to the fear of an Ebola outbreak, 2014 was a memorable, if somewhat frightening, year around the world. In the American collision repair industry, 2014 was riddled with lawsuits against insurers’ unfair business practices and other battles for the rights of collision repair professionals, but industry associations still managed to provide some positive experiences for their members throughout the year. As the New Year rolls around, Autobody News asked a handful of association leaders about the most memorable things their associations did in 2014.

Click HERE to download a PDF of this article.

Friday, 05 December 2014 00:00

Commercial Customers -- A Reliable Business Source

Written by

Although there are still many more independent shops than franchise and multiple operator shops, many of the best DRPs and dealership deals often go to the well-funded group shops. This trend may increase, as vehicle manufacturers require expensive equipment, tooling and certification to work on their vehicles. To carve out a successful niche for an independent shop, in the past I've suggested a variety of options. One that I think gets too little attention is the commercial vehicle market.

Aluminum was front and center throughout much of the collision repair portion of the 2014 SEMA tradeshow, including at one of the new features of this year’s event: the “OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit,” hosted by the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS).

The day-long summit brought together shops, automakers and equipment manufacturers to discuss what SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg called a “topic that affects every segments of the industry.”

Click HERE to download a PDF of this article.

20 years ago in the collision repair industry (December 1994)

The cause and effect of “prevailing practices” was just one issue addressed by an inter-industry panel at the National Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE) Forum in Las Vegas in December.          

Moderator Meryl Comer opened the discussion by asking panelists who they believed is responsible for setting “prevailing practices.”

Click HERE to download the PDF of this article.

Wednesday, 03 December 2014 00:00

Autobody Associations: A Good Source of Marketing Info

Written by

Recently I had the pleasure of being the only reporter at a local autobody association chapter meeting. This was an especially interesting meeting focusing on the new Ford F150 truck and its aluminum body. There was a great panel of industry experts whose comments could significantly impact the success of a shop trying to perform more competitively and profitably. So I was troubled when one member of the panel asked how many shop owners were present and only about six or seven raised their hands. This was a room containing an audience of more than one hundred people. One would think that at least a quarter of the attendees would be major shop decision-makers. But I shouldn't have been surprised. I've heard the same question at numerous meetings with the same low decision-maker count.

Click HERE to download a PDF of this article.

Wednesday, 03 December 2014 00:00

Competing with MSO Consolidation

Written by

“The 3 Vital Behaviors of the Best of the Best Shops”

 

There are shops that are located in heavily MSO consolidated markets that instead of becoming a victim, became a beneficiary! I call these shops “positive deviants.” When many shops in these parts of the country are struggling or selling out, the positive deviants are actually doing quite well and in many cases outperforming the consolidators! One of these best of the best shop owners told me they have all four big MSOs (Caliber, Gerber, ABRA, Service King) within a five mile radius of his shop!  So I am prompted to starting asking the question, what are these guys doing differently than the independents that are struggling in the same markets?

Click HERE to download a PDF of this article.

Wednesday, 03 December 2014 00:00

NABC Gives Away 4 Cars at Annual SEMA Luncheon

Written by

La Cara and Marice Washington and their children with their Hyundai Sonata donated by Gerber Collision and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Ed Attanasio

Giving cars to the needy is a perfect and proven way for the collision industry to give back. Most of the time, body shops and insurance companies work together to fix cars and return them back to their owners.

Click HERE to view a PDF of this article.

The biggest collision industry news during SEMA week in Las Vegas last month got all of five minutes at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC).

Kris Mayer of General Motors announces that the company will be discontinuing the publication of list prices for crash parts.

John Yoswick

 

Click HERE to download a PDF of this article.