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

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

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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.


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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 and see his website at

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

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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:

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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:  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 For other Tom McGee articles in Autobody News, go to:   —   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

He can be contacted by email at

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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

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

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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

See also his shop website:

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Alicia Basteri

Alicia Basteri is Online Editor at Autobody News. Contact her at

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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


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It’s easy as a shop owner to get so caught up in day-to-day operations that it can be a challenge to follow just the news directly affecting collision repairers.

But there’s plenty of insurance-related news that shops also should know about, because it can help them educate their customers, market their business, and maybe even alter how they vote or shop for insurance themselves.

Over 120 Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes A-Plus Network members—representing both dealerships and independent collision centers from Canada and the US—attended the annual North America A-Plus Network Vision Groups conference at the La Quinta Resort & Club in Palm Springs, CA, from December 11–13, 2013.

Download a printable PDF of this article.

Attendees started the conference on Wednesday, December 11, 2013, with a golf outing at the PGA WEST Greg Norman course, followed by a welcome reception at the La Quinta Resort & Club.

On Thursday, December 12, 2013, Tom Hablitzel, president and general manager at Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes, Troy Neuerburg, director of sales and excellence at Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes, and Elainna Sachire, president at Square One Systems, Inc., welcomed attendees and introduced the conference theme: It comes from within.

Building on that theme, John Lusardi of The Ken Blanchard Companies delivered his interactive keynote presentation about activating optimal motivation to achieve and sustain high performance in the workplace.

Following lunch, Ted Matthews of Instinct Brand Equity gave every attendee a copy of his book, Brand: It Ain’t the Logo, and delivered a special presentation about how to foster your brand—or what people think of your company.

Further tying into the conference theme, Thursday ended with a roundtable discussion about “owning the customer” by managers of business consulting at Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes—David Dewalt, Steven Feltovich, Lee Rush, and Ted Williams—and founder and CEO at Collex Collision Experts, John Gagliano. The roundtable discussion was moderated by manager of global OEM and business consulting services at Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes, Rodes Brown. Key takeaways from the discussion included the importance of hiring the right employees, training employees properly, implementing and following a process, measuring results, committing for the long-term, and providing leadership. The roundtable discussion was followed by a dinner reception.

Wrapping up the conference on Friday, December 13, 2013, attendees participated in a series of individual group breakout sessions that focused on composite review and 2014 business planning.

The Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes A-Plus Network is an exclusive group of collision repair specialists who reflect the highest industry standards. The mission of the A-Plus Network Vision Groups is to facilitate the business success of all members through teamwork, adaptability, and innovation. Administered and moderated by Square One Systems, the A-Plus Network Vision Groups focus on the latest industry trends, topics, and strategies in operations, sales, and marketing. Learn more about Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes A-Plus Network Vision Groups.

At their recent Team PRP (Premium Recycled Parts) Midterm Training and Sales Conference held at the Crowne Plaza Galleria Hotel in Dallas, TX, more than 200 automotive recyclers were on hand to discuss issues such as warranties, sales, the state of the recycling industry as a whole and how they can best serve the collision industry better and more effectively.

The Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) held their 70th Annual Convention on November 6 through 9 at the Sheraton Convention Center in Phoenix, AZ. Michael Wilson, CEO of ARA, was pleased with the event, and, though they are still finalizing the balance sheet for this year, he believes “the 2013 Convention will go down as the most financially successful Convention in our association’s 70 year history.”

Wednesday, 18 December 2013 23:00

Are the Yellow Pages Truly Dead?

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Many people predicted that movie theaters would close right and left when VHS tape players started appearing in stores, but you know how that went. With 3D and IMAX, movie theaters are more popular than ever and buying a ticket to see one of the newest super hero films will cost you an arm and a leg. When digital book reading devices came out, experts were claiming that real books printed on paper were soon going to be obsolete, but that hasn’t happened either.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013 22:43

A Look Back at the Key Industry Events and News of 2013

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As a new year kicks off, here’s a look back at a significant or interesting news story from each of the last 12 months—including some stories that are likely to continue in the year ahead.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013 22:36

January Retrospective: ASA Position, CAPA, CIC

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Shops repair vehicles and insurance companies reimburse insureds for their loss. That is a simple explanation as to what happens after an accident. So how is it possible that something so simple can be so confusing, challenging and rife with accusations of impropriety?

Wednesday, 18 December 2013 22:30

You Got the Sale—Don’t Mess it Up!

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A while back I was sitting in a body shop waiting area, waiting to present a new product. I watched a potential customer pull up in a relatively new BMW.  He came in and took a seat. Front desk people were handling paper work and one customer. Estimators were busy in another room. The guy waited for about 20 minutes and got up and drove off. Most people hate to wait, but even more than that, they hate to be ignored. I wasn’t a customer. I was there to make a sale so I didn’t mind waiting. But this guy was clearly a good potential customer and his business was lost because of an enormous sales error.


The modern automotive garage first appeared in the 1920s and, in addition to parking cars in them, inventors began to utilize them for different purposes. Walt and Roy Disney started making cartoons in a Hollywood garage in 1923 and in 1938. William Hewlett and David Packard rented their own garage space in Palo Alto, CA. Apple Computer started in a garage and bands like Metallica and Van Halen were originally formed in garages. World-changing innovations take shape every day and many have happened in a garage. That’s why it’s appropriate that SEMA has a Garage-Industry Innovations Center, a facility where tomorrow’s new products will be developed today in this state-of-the-art facility.