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 era39@aol.com.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022 13:53

Heidi Foster at Crash Champions is In It to Win It

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When Crash Champions Vice President of Operations for the Mountain Region Heidi Foster had a stroke in 2020 it slowed her down, but not for long. When Crash Champions Vice President of Operations for the Mountain Region Heidi Foster had a stroke in 2020 it slowed her down, but not for long.


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Heidi Foster has been fighting battles her entire life.

She went up against the best as a Division I college softball star athlete, entered an industry where she wasn’t initially embraced and, two years ago, experienced a stroke that would have sidelined many people permanently.


It’s fitting that Foster now has a leadership position as vice president of operations for the Mountain Region at a company called Crash Champions, because there’s no doubt she is truly a champion when it comes to winning at the game of life.


A high school all-star in Orange County, CA, Foster received a full ride scholarship from Purdue University to play softball, where she was an MVP, team captain for two years and named to the All-Big Ten and All-Mideast Region teams. She earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and communications as a Boilermaker, two disciplines ideal for working in the collision repair industry.


Her career in collision repair has exposed Foster to a wide range of diverse roles in the space, all of which she’s used to learn about different aspects of the industry.


As a leader for MSOs, Foster has experience working alongside large teams of technicians and service advisors, achieving high customer ratings and earning praise from her co-workers and industry leaders.


Foster was initially introduced to the world of customer service through her mother’s employment with the Auto Club of Southern California. She was hired to work in the call center, then the claims center, and began to demonstrate some leadership skills right off the bat.


“I was cross trained in multiple areas of claims, then went on to adjust claims where I found my niche," Foster said. "I excelled quickly and found that I really enjoyed helping people while learning the body shop side of the business.”


Once Foster transitioned to Sterling Collision Center in Tustin, CA, specializing in eight high-end certifications, the veteran technicians she encountered chided her about things like her inexperience and shop attire, she said.


“These guys told me; you can't come in here dressed for a board meeting," she said. "Moreover, I wasn’t as experienced as my coworkers; in fact, that was my first time in an actual shop. Needless to say, it was easy to feel out of place.”


Today, Foster thanks those same techs who educated her on the ins and outs of shop life.


“It took me about a month before asking a few technicians to help me understand repair procedures and repair times. Soon after that, I was running with the big boys. I was writing better sheets, achieving top customer service scores with major DRPs, and I really started to enjoy the body shop business," she said. "The technicians made me better, and I will forever be grateful for...

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