From Tech to TV Spokesperson/Instructor: The Kevin Tetz Story
Written by Ed Attanasio, Autobody News
Published Feb. 7, 2023
Kevin Tetz, 59, is a TV host, internet star and creator of Paintucation University, a video training company that has sold nearly 200,000 instructional DVDs worldwide.
Autobody News sat down recently with Tetz and was inspired by his amazing story from painter to trainer/mentor and TV personality.
How did you get into the collision repair industry?
I grew up in Canada around cars in the automotive restoration and collision repair industries. My dad was a career auto body mechanic and painter, so I kind of grew into it through osmosis. We didn’t have much, and when I needed or wanted a car, I had to build one. So out of necessity, I learned how to hone my own skills and create what I needed.
And then I took a detour from collision and decided to become a rock star. I put about 10 years of my life into that, and when it came crashing down, I went back to what I knew, which was auto body repair. My father was also a musician, and he told me that this trade would probably not make me rich, but collision repair always pay the bills. Of course, he was right.
While you were trying to be a rock star, did you take jobs working at shops along the way?
When I was touring with the bands, I tried to make side money, or if the band broke up, I would go to work at a local body shop. So that got me cross-trained while I still had my eye on a different career. I got to work at an exclusive restoration shop in in Venice, CA, and at another high production splash shop in Florida. I learned valuable things such as how to block sand, how to do surface correction, by sanding and polishing on really exclusive cars.
Did you progress quickly by embracing certifications and education during that period?
Yes. After music didn’t work out, I went from being a “sander gopher” to working my way up to being a body tech. Then I wanted to open my own shop and I did, and I nearly starved because I didn't have any business savvy. I was a really good technician, but I did not know how to run a business. So, I did that and then I was recruited by a local auto body shop in southern Tennessee that wanted me to, ironically, manage their body shop under their leadership. I took that job and they sent me to a management training school and to estimating school, where I worked in conjunction with all the claims adjusters in my area who worked for all the big different insurance companies.
How did you enter the world of broadcast?
I never lost that passion for a performance career. I knew I was strong enough in the fundamentals to where I could try and make a video, so I ended up doing a barter deal with a videographer, and I created a video on how to paint a car.
I started out on the DIY Network as a walk-on guest-expert and it grew from there. This was in 2003, so I went to the studios in Knoxville, TN, and I was a good guest, since I was already trained on camera; the music industry helped me with that as well. My first series on DIY was called "Classic Rides," and I parlayed that into another show on Spike TV called "Trucks!," where I did 10 seasons and over 200 episodes.
I have authored two books, and have been an automotive tech writer for different magazines, using that as a subliminal advertising tool for my instructional videos. So, during that I ended up forming my own production company during my tenure in television, as well as becoming involved as a training consultant for several different public and private companies, which made me so much better as an instructor.
I love helping people solve problems with paint technologies; it keeps me on my toes! I’m currently working with Axalta Coating Systems creating new training tutorials. I host "Hands On Cars TV" on Amazon Prime and co-hosted "CarCraft TV" last year on MotorTrend Plus. I'm also creating new training courses for people who just want to get better at the trade. I am also creating what I call “internal training,” for body shops that need in-house courses or pre-certification training.
I'm continually developing new products that fit into the automotive industry, and will continue to expand my product line to include more training guides, tutorials, as well as hand tools. I’m also available for other companies to utilize as a spokesperson, voice over talent or public representative, and hope to expand my experience by offering my services.
For more information about Tetz and Paintucation University, visit www.paintucation.com.