Campbell Ford Collision Shop Partners with AkzoNobel Coatings to Bring Shop to Life
Written by Autobody News Staff
Published Sept. 21, 2023
When Marvin Dawson first took on the role of fixed operations director at Campbell Ford in Niles, MI, three years ago, he knew that getting the collision shop on its feet was going to take some work. He was excited, though, to be moving into a second-generation family-owned dealership.
The majority of Dawson’s career has taken place in family-owned operations, but after his previous workplace was sold to a large company, Dawson got a taste of a corporate-run business.
“The people that put the blood, sweat and tears into the business were just not appreciated anymore,” said Dawson. “They’re a number on a payroll list. That’s not me. That’s not who I am. So I was glad to have the opportunity to come up and work with Doug Campbell.”
Company At A Glance...
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 10
In Business Since: 1977
Number of Locations: One
Production Space: 10,000 square feet
With no trained estimator at Campbell Ford Collision Shop, and only one painter and one body man, Dawson knew he had a massive challenge cut out for him. But he also knew the ownership was all in.
“You could see that that they wanted to make things happen,” said Dawson. “They wanted to make it work, and they’d put their money in those directions. So I knew if I put the effort in to turn the culture around and put the business back together, we’d have something.”
Soon after arriving, Dawson made the decision to partner with AkzoNobel Coatings, after a trusted vendor recommended the company. He quickly found the AkzoNobel team was as committed as he was to making the shop a success.
“So many people have told me stories about the collision industry where, you know, they’re courted by a company, then once they sign the contract, it’s just crickets,” said Dawson. “But with AkzoNobel, the relationship flourished more after I signed the deal than before I signed. They review KPIs for me religiously and look for ways for me to improve my business. I’ve not had that in 30-some years in the business.”
In fact, Dawson found AkzoNobel embodied the kind of culture he was striving to build at Campbell Ford.
“They’re constantly looking at ways to help me improve. Ryan Kerr is my local rep. I think he lives about three hours away from me, and if I had a problem, he’d be here. I feel like I’ve created a relationship with them that’s almost like a family feel where I know they’re watching out for me.”
The AkzoNobel products themselves are just as easy to work with, according to Dawson, who went through AkzoNobel’s training program when Campbell Ford made the switch to their products.