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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.

Jimmy Lefler owns and operates five extremely busy body, mechanical, and glass shops based in Evansville, Indiana, that are repairing more than 200 cars per week, juggling eight DRPs, employing 80 people and doing approximately $9 million in annual sales.

Shawn Saidi, 48, owns Active Auto Body in Sunnyvale, Calif., a highly successful shop whose motto is “Making Friends by Accident.” It might be a catchy slogan, but Saidi has succeeded in the collision industry not by chance or by accident. He’s the current president of the California Autobody Association’s (CAA) Santa Clara chapter, and has enthusiastically embraced the leadership role, because he wants to make this industry better and help other shops in the process.

When most of us think about hail, we think of stormy weather. But in parts of the country, hail means big money for body shops. When hail-prone places like Northern Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas and Alabama, get grapefruit-sized or pebble-sized hailstones it can quickly change peoples’ lives. And it happens every year during hail season, which normally starts in March and can run all the way through October.

As almost every body shop manager in this country knows, waterborne paint is a proven commodity in the collision repair industry and shops outside of California are gradually but decidedly heading in that direction. As federal regulations and air quality management agencies apply pressure designed to nudge more states towards lower VOCs, some body shops in parts of the country will undoubtedly resist change, while others will embrace it for its wide range of benefits.

While many body shops in the country are battening down their hatches financially, operating with skeleton crews and going into survivor mode, Gene Crozat, the multiple location owner of G&C AutoBody in Marin and Sonoma counties, CA, is buying land, building new facilities, and signing up more DRPs. Crozat is aggressively looking to gain more of the market, while exploring further expansion opportunities in areas where he sees potential for growth and profitability.

The holiday season always arrives a little earlier for deserving families in Contra Costa County when Mike’s Auto Body in the East Bay presents refurbished vehicles to disadvantaged and deserving families.

I got a phone call a couple of months ago from a caller who I didn’t know. He sounded concerned and very cautious.

“I got your home number from your office. I want to talk to someone at Autobody News, but I don’t want to tell you my name.”

What does a body shop owner expect from a paint booth? If you ask one, they’ll probably tell you things like: “I don’t want to have to worry about it; I want to buy one and maintain it, so that it can last for 20 years; I want it to work for me and not the other way around.”


They don’t have a football team or cheerleaders, but now the Ohio Technical College (OTC) has something no other institution of higher education can offer its students. It’s called the Rich Evans Academy (REA), and it’s the newest division within the automotive curriculum at OTC, the largest technical college of its kind in the country.  Last year, the school was selected as the best top technical college in the nation.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010 16:50

Autobody News Interviews BAR Chief Sherry Mehl

ABN: How has the BAR changed most significantly since you took the position of Chief?

SM: I took the position four years ago and I think the organization has changed a lot in a relatively short time. Establishing open communication was the first step. I’ve been to every industry associations and group throughout the state, many of them more than once in my four years in this job. I wanted to get out and make sure that I was hearing from the industry what their issues were what their problems were so that I could go about resolving those issues. Any time you take on a new job, you want to be able to hear from your constituents. And then we started having our regular BAR Advisory meetings on a quarterly basis. Any time we got out to do regulations we also have a series of workshops throughout the state, anything that’s going to implement the industry, anything involving something we need to do or mandate that they have to do something that imposes on them, we try to get them in the loop early on and making sure that we hear all of them concerns and address those as we go through the process.

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