Each member of the second-place team received $1,000, plus their company received a Chief MultiMig 190 welder. Parnell believes, “Mentoring is important because quality body repair is a dying art that we must pass along to the younger generation.”
Mentee Ian Chambers and mentor Ralph Gonzales of Service King in Dallas came in third place. Currently, a student at Collin College, Chambers has been a mentee for less than a year, and 20-year Service King employee Gonzales has been mentoring for four years. Both members of the bronze team received $500, plus their company received a Chief MultiMig 190 welder.
Gonzales explained why he became a mentor: “It is important to me to show the next generation how to complete a quality repair. It also gives me an opportunity to change a person’s life for the better.”
Additional competitors included two teams from Gerber Collision, a team from CARSTAR, competitors from Fix Auto, and a team consisting of a recent graduate who started his own company and partnered with his former instructor from Metropolitan Community College.
Ivan Albright, technician development program manager at Gerber Collision, stated, “Mentored training is critical to developing our future technicians. When industry and schools work together, we will enable entry-level trainees to build the skills and proficiency required to become journey-level technicians. I am proud to lead a program that allows newer entrants to the collision repair workforce to provide high-quality repairs through a structured mentor training program. A critical foundation for our success is working with these schools that provide the most current education.”
“I want to congratulate all the teams that competed in the Top Tech Mentor/Mentee competition,” Battaglia said. “Their energy and expertise is a shining example of how collision industry mentoring programs help new technicians succeed.”
Sponsors for the event included Axalta Coating Systems, Gerber Collision & Glass, Chief Automotive Technologies, Norton/Saint Gobain, Service King Collision Repair Centers, Caliber Collision, Ranken Technical College, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Polyvance, SAS Safety Corp, Automotive Technology, Inc. and SP/2. Battaglia noted, “Without [the event sponsors’] generous support, we would not have been able to celebrate the success of these talented technicians and their mentors.”