From March 1--3, I-CAR hosted its annual Volunteer, Instructor and Assessor Conference at the Hilton Bonnet Creek Resort in Orlando, FL.
The event attracted more than 450 industry professionals as well as I-CAR’s board of directors and the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s board of trustees and employees.
Nick Notte, senior vice president of sales for I-CAR, noted, “Our annual Volunteer, Instructor and Assessor Conference provides a unique opportunity to thank and acknowledge the efforts of our most dedicated volunteers, instructors and assessors.”
This year’s theme, “40 Years in the Making,” celebrated I-CAR’s 40th anniversary, featuring presentations, videos, panel discussions and Q&A sessions about I-CAR’s curriculum and recognition program enhancements. The event also featured a special 40 Years in the Making I-CAR Anniversary Exhibit, which provided a retrospective of I-CAR’s and the industry’s history over the past four decades. I-CAR plans to present the exhibit at various functions throughout the rest of the year as well.
Notte said, “This year’s conference was particularly noteworthy given our 40th anniversary and the numerous updates that we will soon be introducing with our Professional Development Program (PDP) enhancements. It was a successful kickoff to the next 40 years!”
More than 2,000 I-CAR volunteers, instructors and assessors work diligently each day to educate the collision repair inter-industry. The conference provided an opportunity for attendees to learn many details about the “Even Better I-CAR” (PDP enhancements), which have been discussed over the past few months.
Arguably, the most important part of the conference is the annual Recognition Dinner and Awards ceremony where I-CAR recognizes individuals and committees that help further its efforts in the industry.
Individual awards are given in three categories to an industry professional in each of the country’s regions (Northeast, Southeast, North Central, South Central, Northwest and Southwest).
The Johnny Dickerson Award is given to a welding instructor who has a teacher’s heart, goes above and beyond to help their technicians succeed, gives their time and energy, and furthers the cause of I-CAR and the Welding Training and Certification program. This year’s recipients were Dennis Beardsley, Charles (Abe) Sells, Mike Hoeneise, Tim McCarty, Neal Grover and Tim Gruber.
The Instructor of the Year Award is bestowed upon one instructor from each region who goes above and beyond the requirements of their position. This year’s honorees were Bob Holhult, William (Bobby) Clifton, Mel Schampers, Wes Gladhart, Norm Markham and Mark Duliba.
The individual in each region who best represents I-CAR’s vision and mission receives the Founders Ring Award. This year’s Founders Ring Award recipients were Fern Larochelle, J. Brian Ross, Todd Gillette, Becky Taylor, Bill Vocasek and Dan Meyers.
Committees were honored in four categories. Platinum Committees have attained Gold Committee status in four of the past five years. Gold Committees are defined as committees that achieve at least seven of their eight goals. Silver Committees achieve at least five of their eight goals, and Bronze Committees must achieve at least three of their eight goals. During the 2019 Conference, 86 Bronze Committees, 25 Silver Committees and 23 Gold Committees were recognized.
Of 189 active I-CAR committees, only 10 were honored as Platinum Committees in 2019. This honor was bestowed upon the I-CAR committees from Buffalo, NY; Bucks County, PA; Atlanta GA; Nashville, TN; Knoxville, TN; Columbus, OH; Indianapolis, IN; Houston/Galveston, TX; San Antonio, TX; and Phoenix, AZ.
Notte said, “While keeping volunteers, instructors and assessors updated about I-CAR’s initiatives and the latest training advancements is essential, it’s also important to recognize and reward them for their ongoing contributions to I-CAR’s success.”
John Mandel, lead associate of segment marketing for I-CAR, shared, “We rely on the expertise of our volunteers, instructors and assessors to help grow I-CAR in the industry. There is a tremendous amount of passion for training and doing things the right way among our volunteers, instructors and assessors, and they focus on providing everyone in the industry with high-quality education. We are always looking to find better ways to support them and serve the whole industry.”
I-CAR is seeking additional volunteers who are passionate about the industry.
For more information on how to volunteer for I-CAR, visit i-car.com/home/i-car-volunteers.