Midwestern News

1HomePageMap small mw 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin

Bill Wright, an auto dealer and philanthropist in Kalamazoo, MI, died suddenly in Fort Myers, FL, on Dec. 28. He was 55. A family member, quoted by local news, said the cause of death was believed to be heart failure.

Wright sold his stake in the Seelye-Wright Automotive Group in October, of which he had been a partner since 1989. The group owns and operates six dealerships in western Michigan and has since shortened its name to the Seelye Automotive Group. He was known in western Michigan for his slogan “Yes We Can,” which he would use to end every commercial and emblazoned billboards in the area.

He also founded the Wright for Kids foundation, which raises money to help abused and neglected children in the Kalamazoo area.

His business partner, Mike Seelye , says in a statement, “Obviously I have a long history with him. We have worked together and been partners for 30-plus years. So it’s shocking to me and a sad situation. It’s hard to believe that a guy who was as big as life as him is dead.”

On Tuesday, December 10, a jury verdict was returned for $200,000 against State Farm Insurance Company and in favor of a man who had been employed by State Farm for 25 years (Dennis L. Brady v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Hamilton County Circuit Court).

The plaintiff’s attorney, Mike Stephenson, said his client, a former Indiana Mr. Basketball (1964), was satisfied with the outcome.

“Unfortunately, although the case took only two days to try, it was at significant expense to the plaintiff, who had been willing to settle for a reasonable amount,” Stephenson said.

According to the complaint, Stephenson’s client was in a car accident in 2007 and thereafter made an underinsured motorist claim under his policy; he requested that State Farm, his insurer as well as his employer, allow him to arbitrate the matter and not be required to take the matter to a jury.

“This request was denied,” Stephenson said, “and so we filed a civil case and let a jury decide the damages.”

Structural work on a $45 million transportation-training center will begin soon at Chicago’s Olive Harvey College. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman to break ground on the $45 million project. The Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Center will be at Olive-Harvey College and will be the first of its kind in Illinois. It is designed to prepare students for more than 100,000 jobs expected in the Chicago area over the next decade. The construction project itself will create 150 jobs. The center will have space for training students in automotive technology and training, collision repair, diesel engine technology and aviation mechanics. It will also have an area for supply chain management, including a warehouse and simulation labs; and taxi, truck driver and forklift training. Gov. Pat Quinn announced that $4.6 million from the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program for structural work. The building should be completed by fall 2015. The center is being funded by $31 million in state funds, $13 million from the City Colleges of Chicago and $1 million from the Illinois Community College.

Friday, 07 February 2014 02:32

MN Media Reports Increased Body Shop Traffic

Freezing rain and low temperatures turned Northland roadways into a skating rink  causing many accidents.

Winter weather travel advisories have lifted and shops are seeing increased traffic in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
For Kelley Auto Group Collision, technicians have just begun to receive these vehicles, according to Nathan Nix, manager of body shops at 500 E. State Blvd. and at 633 Avenue of Autos in the 14/69 Auto Mall in Ft. Wayne.
Since the company services drivable and nondrivable vehicles, technicians have worked hard to get drivable vehicles finished in order to begin work on the nondrivable vehicles.
“The question is, how soon can we get to them without giving someone an expectation that’s too great?” Nix asked.

ABRA Auto Body & Glass announced the acquisition of X2 Collision in Southern Illinois, just outside St. Louis, MO. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.