Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin
Collision Systems and 1Collision Network are hosting a Thriving in a Consolidating Collision Marketplace workshop at the Wingate by Wyndam in Indianapolis, IN, on June 10, 2014, and at the Holiday Inn in Rolling Meadows, IL, on June 12, 2014. The program is designed for progressive, forward-thinking, independent and dealer, single- and multiple-location collision shop owners, managers, and marketing staff who are interested in discovering new ways to thrive in a consolidated, DRP, web, social, and mobile world.
Attendees will be introduced to strategies, tactics, and technology that will help them be more successful in gaining market share and competing with the regional and national chains. Attendees will also learn how they can use the latest sales, marketing, customer retention, and referral technologies and techniques to capture, service, and retain more customers, revenue, and profit in a consolidating marketplace.
In addition, attendees will receive 14 credits from the Automotive Management Institute (AMI) toward the AMI Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) designation and a 30-minute marketing consultation.
Early bird registration is $149 until May 19, 2014, and $179 from May 20 through June 5, 2014. Registation includes continental breakfast, lunch, refreshments, and a 30-minute marketing consultation. For special guest room rates, contact the hotels directly and ask for collision industry program rate.
Attendance will be limited to 50 independent and dealership body shops to maintain program quality. Register now.
Josh’s Collision, formerly Mike’s Truck and Auto Body repair on the western side of Park Rapids, MN, on Highway 34 west, has come a long way for a building that has essentially stayed within the same family, writes Nick Longworth at Parkrapidsenterprise.com
Owner Josh Kruchowski was at one point a worker for two-and-a-half years at the building when it was Mike’s, only to branch off on his own for the same amount of time. But then the opportunity came to come back, this time as the boss.
What started with racing her go karts and snowmobiles has turned into a full-time dream come true for Sierra Lantz, a student in the Auto Collision Repair program at the Kent Career Technical Center (KCTC) in Grand Rapids, MI. A recent class project was her own 1989 Mustang, which she’ll race at the Kalamazoo Speedway for the 2014 summer season.
“I want to go as far as I can,” said Lantz about her future. “I like Indi cars, but I will race anything.”
R. Jones Collision 1 has been repairing damaged vehicles in central Iowa for almost 50 years. The business, formerly R. Jones BodyPros, focuses on repairs to all models of passenger vehicles and employs ten. Jones spoke with The Des Moines Register about her family’s business.
“We don’t work on large trucks, semis, or motorcycles,” said Christy Jones, collision repair concierge and daughter to co-owner Bob Jones. “We also don’t just repair vehicles, but try to educate customers about the repair process, especially since the average time between claims is 10 years now, so things have changed.
We see a fairly even split between males and females, although it’s trending more toward females because they’re making more of the household decisions. We also see a lot of Drake students who are from out of state and don’t know where to go. We can help make them and their parents feel better, to know that they’ll be taken care of.
We have developed a ladies-only class that we offer quarterly. I partnered with a mechanics shop and an insurance agent, then we together educate women about owning a vehicle and the repair process. We want to make them feel more comfortable about walking into a facility, to have some knowledge behind them so they aren’t taken advantage of. We see a lot of divorcees, Red Hat Club members, young females out on their own. A little bit of knowledge will go a long way. Women leave surprised at what they’ve learned, such as what they need to do and say at the scene of an accident.
We are busy year-round, but business will pick up when there’s a hail storm in the summertime, for example. Winter has been pretty rough on drivers, and we’ve been extremely busy like most body shops across the Midwest. We also see an uptick in the fall and spring with deer collisions.
I went to school to become a teacher and taught for a year, but decided it wasn’t for me. Then I moved to North Carolina to pursue a job in the NASCAR field. I came back to help when my mom became ill. She was the front office manager. I’ve been here since 2001, and I’ve never left. I plan to purchase the business in the next year or so. It’s neat to be the second generation involved with the business.”
CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts has added a new location in St. Louis, MO, the company announced.
CARSTAR Collision North is owned by John and Cynthia Timmerman and managed by Jeff Barnes.
“Speaking with experience of what a strong brand can do for a company, we are proud and excited to be a new member of the CARSTAR family,” said John Timmerman. “We look forward to building this into something that can be passed on for generations to come.”
Dave Tritz is the well-known owner of Don’s Auto Body in St. Charles, MO, and a former president of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Missouri (AASP-MO) from 2006–2008. A second-generation body shop owner and with his son Adam now working in the shop, Tritz has a 40-year perspective on the collision industry and approaches the business with a commonsense approach. His consulting business, Business Forward, helps body shops all over the country by advising them on what Tritz calls “the big three,” sales, operations, and profit. AASP-MO executive director Ron Reiling calls Tritz “one of the best body shop operators not just in Missouri, but in the country.” Autobody News recently sat down with Tritz to tap into his huge reservoir of knowledge and experience in the collision industry in Missouri.
The Indiana Autobody Association (IABA) and fourteen Indiana collision repair shops filed legal action against twelve property and casualty insurance companies and their subsidiaries on April 2, 2014.
Spanesi Americas has donated a Multibench 12, valued at $25,000, to the Waubonsee Community College Auto Body Repair program of Sugar Grove, IL, winner of the 2013 Ultimate Collision Education Makeover grant from the Collision Repair Education Foundation. In addition to the company’s in-kind equipment donation to the school, Spanesi Americas managing director Timothy Morgan has also made a $1,000 personal donation to the organization.
“The Spanesi family has always been dedicated to education, as I am myself. And knowing that over 80 percent of the repairs performed today in a collision facility don’t need the traditional ‘frame rack,’ we felt it necessary to donate to the Education Foundation what shops are making ‘real world’ repairs on now and in the future,” said Morgan.
“Helping give students and a school equipment that meets today's and tomorrow’s needs through the Foundation’s Makeover is something I am no stranger to, participating through past companies I managed and continuing to support personally.”
On February 14, 2014, 13 students from Penta Career Center in Perrysburg, OH, earned top awards at the SkillsUSA Regional Competition in Tiffin, OH.
All award winners will advance to the SkillsUSA Ohio State Leadership and Skills Conference in Columbus, OH, on April 15 and 16, 2014. First-place (gold medal) winners included: Charles McCaw (Swanton), Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, for the Precision Machining contest and Jared Coker (Genoa), Welding, for the Welding contest.
Seven students earned second-place (silver medals), including Derrick Perry (Perrysburg), Automotive Collision Repair, for the Automotive Refinishing contest, and Colby Roseman (Otsego), Automotive Collision Repair, for the Collision Repair contest.
SkillsUSA is a national organization for high school students who are training for careers in trade, industrial, technical, and health-related occupations. The organization provides quality educational experiences such as leadership, teamwork, citizenship, and character-development skills.