Janet Chaney (11)
URG, the United Recyclers Group, hosted a Body Shop Panel Discussion at their 2011 annual conference in Englewood, CO, April 15. A lot of common ground was discovered in this URG panel discussion, which was acknowledged by everyone in the room. The hour-long panel discussion was effective in its goal of honest dialogue discussing needs and opportunities between these two industries. All stakeholders want to do better business and the repairers and recyclers would like to do business better, together. Over 800 recyclers attended the two-day event.
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“We have grown (our industries) together from mom and pop organizations to the large conglomerates we are today,” said Clark Plucinski, Executive Vice-President of Sales and Marketing at True 2 Form—which recently became a part of the Boyd Group/Gerber collision repair chain. Plucinski reminded everyone in the room that “We are now all inter-connected in business-to-business relationships.” In resolving difficulties, Plucinski asked for patience. “These processes are working, but it is like pushing a rock up a hill [which keeps rolling back]. We just have to be patient and keep doing the same thing.”
Gary Boesel, owner and operator of two CARSTAR collision repair centers in the Denver area, concurred. “[Things have evolved] over the years and are different than they used to be,” saying that somewhere, somehow, collision repairers and recyclers quit effectively communicating.
Who would have ever believed that we would be watching the Government battle the financial disaster brought upon the world by a small number of amoral people with limitless greed, self absorption, and a boundless appetite for profit. The fate of our country unfolds while we battle on the homefront to keep life as we know it for ourselves and our families. It seems to me it is the time for us to all act like Americans and fight for what is right in our Homeland. If we don’t, who will?
Caliber Collision Centers may have been founded in 1997, but the concept and beginnings of Caliber started years before. Al Estorga, Jack Falluca, Randy Stabler, Dave March, Stepan Altounian and Eric Bickett were major players in the collision industry, involved in associations and active participants in the Collision Industry Conference, with two being CIC past Chairmen.
As they attended industry events and gazed into the crystal ball of the collision repair industry future, they saw a better way to do business. As a group, their talent and dedication covered all points of the industry. They would consolidate their efforts. They chose the name Caliber to represent high quality and professionalism with the logo representing the high quality refinish jobs that were to become a Caliber mainstay. The original founders of Caliber Collision may never have been able to predict the outcome of their dream.
"To love what you do and feel that it matters - how could anything be more fun!"
|Teresa Bolton, ASE Collision Repair and Refinishing Technical Specialist, poses on her Harley.
Spirit, passion, enthusiasm - and the huge capacity for doing something right describes Teresa Bolton to a T. Bolton, the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Collision Repair and Refinishing Technical Specialist, spearheaded the efforts to send two SkillsUSA students to represent the United States at the World Skills Competition in Helsinki, Finland next month. Bolton presented her case to the National Auto Body Council (NABC) in April 2004 at its board meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. With a quiver in her voice and determination in her heart, Bolton asked the Council for help. "The United States will not be represented at the World Skills Competition unless we raise the funds to get them there!" she implored.
With NABC board approval, Bolton began the fund-raising project. She wrote letters and made calls - and wrote more letters and made more calls. "I had lots and lots of help," Bolton smiled. "This was my flame but other people took the torch."
Chuck Sulkala, NABC executive director, is Bolton's "fund-raising mentor." Sulkala told her, "Don't worry about the dollars. Worry about the nickels and dimes and the dollars will come." And they did. However, in February 2005, collected funds were short about $8,000.
An Arizona group has announced plans to support legislation in that state to stop insurance companies from acquiring body shops.
The Fairness for Automotive Consumers (FAC), a political action association formed "to address consumer safety issues concerning vehicle repair in the state of Arizona," hosted over 140 people at a January 21 meeting to discuss the legislation.
Founded in 2003, the coalition is comprised of six Arizona collision repair associations - the Arizona Collision Repair Facilities (ACRF), Arizona Collision Craftsman Association (ACCA), Automotive Service Association (ASA), Arizona Auto Glass Associations, (AAGA), Arizona Auto Recycling Association (AARA) and Arizona Professional Towing and Recovery Association (APTRA).
On Friday, September 2, Doug Reed, Jr. locked the doors on his Chalmette, Louisiana business, Custom Body Shop, for what he could not have known would be the last time. Reed packed up his family and some personal belongings to evacuate New Orleans.
|Doug Reed, Sr. returned to the ruins of his former shop, now owned by his son, Doug Jr. Said Doug Junior, "We could rebuild, but what would be the point of it? All of our customers' homes are gone. What business would be there for us?"|
|At high water, only the sign was visible above the shop's roofline.|
|It may have been "extra clean," but now, like all of the other vehicles left in the shop, it's a total loss.|
"We got ready to hit the road, expecting everything would be fine. It was the third or fourth time this year we have been evacuated," Reed solemnly remembered. After all, when living in hurricane country, evacuation is a way of life.
But life as everyone knew it stopped in the community of St. Bernard Parish when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast as a Category 4 storm.
Custom Body Shop, a family-owned business for over 30 years, was well-established in the St. Bernard Parish, just south of the French Quarter. It was a neighborhood where everyone knew each others' names and people always had a friendly smile and wave for one another. The 15,000 sq. ft. shop with its 25 employees was a long-standing part of this close-knit community.
"Such a strong part of the community that 46% of our customers were repeat customers," Reed proudly stated. "We had great working DRP relationships with six major insurance companies and still 46% of our customers came back to us."
The Friday before the storm hit, Reed pushed to get all driveable cars back to their owners. "The hurricane was just off the coast of Florida, so we did not see this as a real threat," continued Reed. "Saturday the weather got worse and we knew the storm was going to hit New Orleans.
"At that point, my attention turned to taking care of my home and family." On Friday night, Reed and wife JoElle, who is pregnant, took their two daughters, Kodi, 10, and Kamryn, 18 months, to stay with Reed's mother in Baton Rouge - 80 miles west of New Orleans.
As I pulled up to EZ Autobody CARSTAR in Gilbert, Arizona, it looked like a full-fledged disaster site. There were six fire trucks - three with booms extended - and about 100 firefighters and emergency technicians. But something looked different. Instead of their life-saving gear, they were dressed in shorts and blue department t-shirts, drinking coffee and eating donuts as they awaited the start of the First Response training seminar. "First responders" from Sedona to Phoenix were talking shop and admiring the highly-polished fire engines - all dressed up for this event.
The First Response training program was developed by Todd Hoffman, a Southern Region I-CAR instructor, exclusively for firefighters and EMTs who are the first to arrive at the scene of an accident - first responders. After 9/11, Hoffman asked himself, "What can I do?" The answer was to teach First Responders how to deal with the dangers presented by modern automotive technology such as undeployed airbags and the high-voltage system in hybrid cars.
With his I-CAR training experience, Hoffman is no stranger to the classroom. He puts on an informative and exciting class which includes: safety processes for extracting air bags and restraint systems, live deployment of air bags, live extrication procedures, safe distancing practices and procedures, and meeting the new challenges of alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles.
When you're in Las Vegas for NACE this coming November, look out your hotel window at the Mandalay Bay and across the freeway you'll see a big red sign: "Body Shop." That would be Falconi's, the most visible leg of the Vegas auto body triumvirate known as the Auto Body Group (ABG). Formed in 1991, ABG consists of Green Valley Collision Center, Speed-way Truck and Paint, and Falconi's.
Michael Spears, now president of Green Valley Collision Center and partner in ABG, joined up with Bill Falls at Falconi's in 1991. Falconi's specializes in the repair of Japanese manufacturers such as Acura, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota, Isuzu, Lexus and Infiniti.
From coastal cities Ventura and San Luis Obispo to as far east as Bakersfield, over 75 collision repair industry professionals traveled to the rolling hills of Santa Maria to participate in a High Impact Negotiation workshop presented by Mel Hunke.
|The first class to receive Certification of Completion for the High Impact Negotiating Workshop. Poses are newly discussed body language techniques.
Following the successful estimating workshop presented last fall, Hunke asked the class what educational programs they would be interested in for the future. "Negotiation" was the response by 100% of the attendees hands down (or hands up).
Hunke began the workshop with a brief history to bring into perspective the critical nature of the negotiation process in today's collision repair business.