SOUTHWEST NEWS (352)
Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana
Autobody News SouthWestern print edition is mailed to 7,000 body shops monthly
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This past January at the CIC meeting in Palm Springs, CA, Darren Huggins, the National Collision Director for the Van Tuyl Automotive Group, asked me if I would be interested in conducting a fire extrication demonstration for his tradeshow and fund raiser. Of course I said ‘yes.’ I contacted Craig Oliveira, Regional Sales Manager of Kent Automotive, and asked him if his company would sponsor my trip and he said, “Definitely, because Kent was one of the sponsors of the event.” I also contacted Progressive Insurance about getting a couple of late model total-loss vehicles for the event. Within 24 hours, they committed to providing a 2009 Ford Focus and a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. Knowing I had two late model cars, I contacted the Battalion Chief for the city of Arlington, and he committed two ladder trucks and two engine trucks for the event. I was now ready to rock and roll.
Keenan Auto Body Inc. has launched a fundraising drive to raise money for the National Auto Body Council’s (NABC) Operation Comfort initiative.
Operation Comfort was founded in 2004 and provides opportunities for wounded service members to participate in rehabilitative, adaptive sports and Automotivation, a program for wounded service members to work on cars. The organization also provides family financial assistance and therapeutic trips.
The goal for the fundraiser is to raise $1.5 million to purchase, renovate and fully equip the 30,000 square foot training facility that will house the Automotivation program in San Antonio, TX.
“We believe in this program and appreciate the opportunity to give back to those who have given so much,” said Mike LeVasseur, president and chief operations officer of Keenan Auto Body. “We have moved forward by equipping all 11 of our lobbies with donation pads and free standing posters that depict exactly what the program is all about. We are also matching dollar for dollar everything that we raise.”
The Automotive Service Association (ASA) is urging all independent automotive repairers in Texas to contact their state legislators and voice their support for a bill that would bring balance to the state tax laws. Current Texas tax code allows automotive service and collision repair shops owned by new or used car dealerships to be taxed at half the rate of independently owned businesses doing identical work.
The tax code in Texas classifies dealership sales (including repair work) as “retail,” allowing their service and repair departments to be included under that category.
The 30th annual Louisiana SkillsUSA Postsecondary Championships will be held April 10-12 at Delgado Community College in New Orleans. Technical and community college students from across the state will compete in two dozen skill areas, including allied health, automotive service technology, welding, collision repair technology, advertising, practical nursing and other in-demand career fields.
The event is considered a “Workforce Olympics” of career and technical education in Louisiana. During the competitions, students will match their abilities against their peers in various contests designed and judged by experts from local industry. The championships are one of the state’s largest gatherings of business, industry and education.
Oklahoma received its first shipment of compressed natural gas-fueled Ram 2500 pickups from Chrysler. The state ordered 242 pickups for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
The state’s order is Chrysler’s largest since it began producing CNG trucks in October.
Chrysler’s Ram is the only CNG-powered pickup in North America built by an original equipment manufacturer. The bi-fuel trucks were built at Chrysler's heavy-duty truck plant in Mexico.
The mother of a teenager killed in a traffic accident while using a cell phone delivered a tearful plea to legislators on Feb. 27 to approve a bill that would ban texting while driving in Oklahoma, the Insurance Journal reported.
Gina Harris, whose 19-year-old daughter Brittanie Montgomery was killed in a crash in Oklahoma City in 2006, was among a group of health and safety officials, legislators, teenagers and insurance industry officials who rallied at the Capitol and urged lawmakers to approve the texting ban as a step toward making Oklahoma’s roadways safer.
“She chose to pick up her phone,” Harris said. “Within a two-second time span she lost control of her vehicle and hopped all the way across four lanes of traffic and was hit in her driver’s door. She did not survive the impact.”
Lund International Holding Company, a portfolio company of Highlander Partners, L.P., recently announced the acquisition of the Prestige Fender Flare assets of Empower Group, Inc. Prestige Fender Flares is headquartered in Allen, TX, and is a leading designer and producer of premium quality fender flares sold throughout the United States.
Co-founders Anthony Liu and Robert Chen, who have successfully built Prestige into a leading provider of fender flares in the automotive aftermarket, will join Lund in a management capacity focusing on new product development. In six short years, they have developed a thorough and complete offering of fender flares for light trucks and SUVs.
Mitch Fogle, President of Lund, said, “The addition of Prestige’s fender flares to the Lund family of products solidifies our leadership in the automotive aftermarket accessories industry. We look forward to working with Anthony and Robert to maximize the potential of the excellent product offering they have developed and exploit their combined new product ideas.”
Dallas attorney Chad West recently bought a former auto body shop at 900 W. Davis St. in the community of Oak Cliff in Dallas, TX, and plans to convert it into office space for his criminal defense practice.
Terms of the deal were undisclosed, the Dallas Business Journal reported.
West is currently renovating the 1,432-square-foot building and plans to move his practice to Oak Cliff by this spring.
“Chad saw an opportunity to move his practice to a freestanding building and decided to go for it,” said Austin Schenkel, the broker for The Weitzman Group, who represented the lawyer in the deal.
“This building hasn’t been occupied for years and he’ll take it and reconvert it, which is pretty standard for that area,” said Schenkel, who sits in the board of the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce.
Other Oak Cliff businesses sit in redeveloped property in close proximity to the Bishop Arts District. A restaurant, Bolsa, was originally a gas station. The Pour House by Kessler Theater was a former auto body shop.
Caliber Collision Centers recently acquired and opened two new locations in Killeen and Harker Heights, TX.
“We are proud to announce our newest locations with our acquisition of Quality Paint and Body,” said Steve Grimshaw, Caliber Collision Centers’ Chief Executive Officer.
Caliber Collision’s new centers are located at 415 Avenue F and 5300 East Central Texas Expressway, Killeen, TX. The new Killeen Downtown location on Avenue F is just over 25,000 square feet and the Harker Heights location on East Central Texas Expressway is 16,000 square feet.
“Our two new Texas locations bring Caliber Collision’s total number of locations to 125 as we continue to provide greater operational consistency, single-minded customer focus and client cost management in every community we serve,” added Mark Sanders, Chief Operating Officer for Caliber Collision Centers.
The Texas Independent Automotive Association will hold its annual convention and training event on May 25 in San Antonio, TX.
This convention is designed for shop owners, service writers, managers, shop foremen and anyone in the business involved in selling or management.
The event will feature two speakers, one for collision repair and the other for mechanical repair.
The Northwest Louisiana Collision Repair Assocaition will meet March 5 at the Silver Star Smokehouse in Bossier City, LA, at 6:30 p.m.
Guest speaker is Tom Roche of Pro-Dip Aquagrafix. His company specializes in vehicle and boat wraps and other graphics. The process can be used on plastic, metal, fiberglass and hardwoods.