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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On Saturday, August 16, the Atlanta I-CAR Committee held their 6th Annual Rockin’ Car Show at the Hooters restaurant in Kennesaw, GA. Beautiful weather and an excellent turnout of over 55 custom vehicles contributed to a successful event.
The awarded trophies and prizes were donated by local collision repair industry businesses as a show of support for the event. The Atlanta I-CAR Committee also held a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction, raising over $3400. The proceeds from the event will benefit the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), and funds will be used to support GA students.
Over the past six years, the Atlanta I-CAR Committee has donated approximately $100,000 to CREF in funds raised at their annual golf tournaments and car shows. Terry Fortner, Chairman of CREF’s Board of Directors, attended the car show to discuss CREF’s mission with attendees.
For the second year in a row, Travis Peck, lead deejay of Radigital Studios, donated his time and skills to provide music and entertainment at the Committee’s event. He also plans to support the Rockin’ Car Show again next year.
During the Rockin’ Car Show, a presentation was held to award a check to the student who was the winner of the Atlanta I-CAR Scholarship for post-secondary collision education, and both collision instructors from Maxwell High School of Technology were in attendance as well. They also recognized the Skills USA student who received travel expense assistance from the Atlanta I-CAR Committee which allowed him to attend the national contest.
Gerry Poirier, Chairman of the Atlanta I-CAR Committee, states “the committee’s goal is to help replenish our dwindling technician base and our fundraising has been accomplished by the support of the many great collision industry businesses in the area, including shops, insurers, parts suppliers, paint manufacturers and rental partners.”

At 7:30am CST on Tuesday, August 26, attorney John Eaves Jr and Bill Fowler, owner of Bill Fowler’s Bodyworks in Southaven MS, attempted to raise consumer awareness of the national lawsuit Eaves filed earlier this year when they appeared on the Drake and Zeke Show, a popular morning radio show in the Memphis, TN area. The reason for their guest appearance was to explain the lawsuit to consumers and educate them on their rights during the collision repair process in hopes of raising awareness about this important issue impacting collision repair facilities across the country.

Though Halloween is just around the corner, witches, ghosts and vampires aren’t the scariest things on the minds of collision repair professionals across the nation this October; what these experts find terrifying is the amount of undue influence the insurance industry, a third-party entity, exerts on their repair practices and their businesses as a whole.

Given the number of lawsuits that have been filed against insurers in 2014 alone, this isn’t anything new, but the collaboration of a group of industry professionals in order to combat this issue has led to the creation of SafeCars, an organization dedicated to the premise that “every vehicle owner deserves a safe and complete repair.”

During the weekend of September 26-28, ASA-IL held their annual Chicago Automotive Network (CAN) Conference at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, IL. With over 200 participants, including 150 who attended training sessions, ASA-IL’s Executive Director Donna Kelly and Co-Executive Director Deb Bullwinkel deemed the event a success. Kelly notes, “it went really well and was very exciting. It was great to see so many new faces enjoying our jam-packed schedule, and we received a lot of positive feedback on the training we offered and the new venue – many people said they’d definitely be back next year.”

After Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell filed a lawsuit in August against State Farm, accusing the insurer of illegally forcing LA collision repair facilities to install unsafe parts on consumers’ vehicles, his allusion to these parts as “nothing more than used junkyard parts” created quite a stir amongst professional automotive recyclers across the country who were offended by the derogatory term and connotations thereof.

Michael Wilson, CEO of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), and David Gold, Secretary of ARA and co-owner of Standard Auto Wreckers, quickly took up arms to defend their profession while Caldwell clarified his position as being pro-consumer rather than anti-recycled parts.

Friday, 24 October 2014 00:00

Shop Thinks BIG for 26 Years

Written by


Stan Bard, owner of Fleet Refinishing and Collision Center in Fontana, CA, is celebrating 26 years of repairing and painting almost everything but the average passenger car.  The shop has changed its focus and moved its location several times since 1998, but in general the company’s emphasis is on big vehicles. The bigger the better is the motto, and their drive for success has given them nationwide recognition for painting and repairing RVs, commercial buses, heavy duty construction vehicles, delivery vans, big rigs, television trucks, food trucks, boats, sea containers and, last but not least, amusement park rides.

Click here to download the PDF version of this article.

Over the past two issues (see August and September Autobody News), industry attorney Erica Eversman has offered some insights into the various types of documentation that collision repair facilities can use to protect their interests and help them obtain proper compensation for work performed. In the final installment in this series on repair documentation, Eversman helps explain the purpose for and how to use the Parts Notice/Authorization and the Indemnification/Hold Harmless Letter, with a few additional documents.

Click here to download the PDF version.

20 Years Ago In The Collision Repair Industry (October 1994)
Responding to complaints from the collision repair industry, ADP will be pulling the plug on a program that allowed dealers to promote discount retail parts prices using ADP’s  “Parts Exchange New” system.

“As a result of the issues that responsible parties of the industry brought to our attention, we will be taking discounted OEs off the ‘Parts Exchange New’,” ADP’s Rick Tuuri announced at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) held in Nashville, TN. “They will be off the system by January 1, 1995. I want to emphasize that this is no reflection on the way the discounted OEs themselves are doing business.”

In last month’s Better Blueprinting Part One, we discussed reasons that shops have failed at Blueprinting. This month we will focus on performing Blueprinting, and how it can greatly benefit your collision repair shop.

To download the PDF version of this article, click HERE.

Blueprint Admin Staffing
Over the years I tried numerous variations and combinations of people to staff a Blueprinting program. All of them worked better than no Blueprinting program, but some combinations definitely worked better than others. Much of what influences your Blueprint staff is simply the size and volume of your shop. Many  clients run smaller shops where people wear many hats. In a small shop it is not uncommon for the manager to also be the estimator, the parts guys and the Blueprint guy. It is pretty easy to determine how to staff a really small shop, but what about a shop that is a little bigger? I recently worked with a client that had two estimators, one of them liked being in the shop and the second one was better at dealing with customers. So we moved one of them into the shop to be the Blueprint Analyst, and the other efficiently handled the entire volume of customers as the Customer Service Manager. You may need to experiment with different staffing combinations to make it work for your unique needs.

Click here to download the PDF version of this article.

The marketing world has changed significantly during the past few years. So much has moved on-line that most other marketing expenditures may no longer make sense in your area. If you track results from your marketing efforts, you have probably noticed the lack of business coming from print ads, print version yellow page, and other phone book ads. It may be time to pull the plug on non-productive marketing and make better use of those funds. As insurance companies establish toll-free numbers to report claims, you should probably stop marketing to most agents. Unless you have nearly unlimited funds to advertise just to keep your name in front of the public, you should probably end off radio and TV advertising. And stop paying for useless advertising schemes. These moves should free up money to pay for real marketing results.