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
The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Minnesota, an association of nearly 640 independently-owned mechanical and collision repair shops and industry suppliers, works to improve the state's automotive service industry and the success of its members' businesses.
In 2012, AASP-MN passed legislation to increase the damage disclosure threshold for salvage title from 70% to 80% to allow for more vehicles to be repaired and fewer to be totaled. Other issues addressed this past year include: sales tax on paint and materials, "Right to Repair," insurer steering, DRP contract provisions for parts procurement, and air quality permits.
A Michigan auto supplier, Continental Structural Plastics, which makes exterior body panels and structural composites components, announced Nov. 13 that it plans to expand its operations in Huntington, IN, creating up to 50 new jobs by 2015.
The West Michigan Body Shop Association recently elected and welcomed the new 2013 Board of Directors.
Serving as Chairperson is Cheryl Blish, Star Collision Carstar; President Scott Baker, Pfeiffer Collision Centers; Vice-President Tim Jones, Quality Collision Services, Treasurer Diane Rodenhouse, Rodenhouse Body Shop; and Secretary Heather Odren, Ed Koehn Chevrolet.
The Northern Michigan Body Shop Association recently hosted repair advocate attorney Erica Eversman at its annual membership meeting Oct. 26 in Traverse City, MI. The presentation focused on “Parts Procurement” and the impact it will have on the collision industry. According to Eversman, the State Farm parts procurement pilot program has recently expanded and while there have been many associations speaking out against the program, many shop owners are still unaware of the negative consequences.
Approximately 45 collision repairers and vendors heard Eversman describe how the parts procurement process would further affect the repairers’ loss of business control, reduce facility profit margins, and potentially lead to other types of “procurement type processes.” Expansion of this process into other profit centers within a repair facility, such as paint and material, will only further erode shop operations and margins. She explained the future of the industry hinges on what happens now and those who participate in these types of programs have little or no concern for the future of this industry.
In Hermantown, MN, the fire chief’s official car is sporting a new paint job, thanks to Auto Care Collision Center, who donated their services to spiff up the service vehicle.
Fire Chief Mike Marshall had originally contacted Auto Care for a quote for repainting a de-commissioned police vehicle they had received to match the current fire department fleet colors. When owner Dennis Adamski heard it was for the fire department, he decided to donate the service.
The Indiana Autobody Association will host several meetings in November to roll-out their new consumer program, "A Shop You Can Trust." The program begins Jan. 1 "and we expect it will change the industry in Indiana," said Tony Passwater, IABA director. The meetings will discuss how "steering" or deceptive referrals affect your business and how shops can create stronger customer loyalty and consumer awareness in today's environment. The meetings will also introduce the association's "short pay process" and explain the process to collect those items insurers refuse to pay that shops are entitled to and that are required for a proper repair.
The special guest speaker will be Michael Stacy from Verifacts. He will provide insight in facility verification and consumer trust.
The IABA will hold these upcoming meetings for its members in the following locations:
Fort Wayne - Nov. 13, 6:30 - 9:30 at the Lucky Moose
New Albany - Nov. 14, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Sam's Food and Spirits
Bloomington, Nov. 14, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Mr. Hibachi Buffet
Merrillville - Nov. 15, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Gino's Steakhouse
Indianapolis - Nov. 15, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at The Library Restaurant
Register online at IABAmeetings.com by November 7. For more information, contact Tony Passwater at (317) 290-0611.
St. Cloud Technical & Community College in Saint Cloud, MN, is bringing a 37-year-old program into the 21st century with the help of a $4 million bonding allocation from the state.
The money is being used to renovate the auto body lab and add a new medium-heavy truck lab allowing the school to train more students in newer technologies, making them more employable.
The new facility will be 17,372 square feet and have eight truck stalls with an entrance and exit designated for 18-wheelers with attached trailers and a large enough area to turn big trucks around.
With the additional space, the engines and machines stored outside will have a place inside, and it also will incorporate an overhead crane.
In the past, only 24 students could be admitted each fall into the auto body collision technology and medium-heavy truck technician programs.
The college expects to double the number of students in the medium truck program and expects a 48% increase in students in the auto body program.
Of the 100 or so NATEF-qualified secondary and post-secondary programs in Ohio, three outstanding programs are at Woodridge High School, through the Faber Foundation, Auburn Career Center, and the post-secondary Ohio Technical College.
In 2000, when collision-repair-shop owner Jack Faber died after 50 years leading Faber Body Shop, his wife Carla helped build The Faber Foundation to assist the young men and woman of the Cuyahoga Falls area.
Guys Klapp, who managed his shop while coaching basketball at Woodridge, first coordinated the renovation of the Fabers’ 12,000-foot shop, recalls Todd Jones, the one teacher at the foundation school. The building is five miles from Woodridge.
The office manager and bookkeeper for First Choice Auto Body was recently arraigned in the 97th District Court in L’Anse, MI. Cindy Wadaga, 45, of Baraga, MI, is charged with embezzlement of $20,000 or more but less than $50,000, a 10-year felony. Charges were brought by Wadaga’s employer, Will Ross, owner of First Choice Auto Body. According to Ross, she worked for the company as office manager and bookkeeper from June 2009 through June 2011. Wadaga was released on a $5,000 bond. She was also ordered not to enter First Choice Auto Body.
Wadaga, who is also treasurer for the village of Baraga and treasurer of the Baraga Area Schools Boosters, had a preliminary hearing scheduled for Oct. 23. The charges are unrelated to the village and booster club.
“There was nothing to indicate anything inappropriate took place,” said Roy Kemppainen, Baraga village manager.