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Friday, 02 October 2020 20:54

CREF Scholarships, Industry Support Enable Body Shop Estimator to Move Up the Ladder Faster

 Justin Furman credits his career successes to the support he received from CREF and PPG.  Justin Furman credits his career successes to the support he received from CREF and PPG.

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Justin Furman, an estimator at Bill Brown Ford in Livonia, MI, on the fast track to becoming a manager, largely credits his career successes to the support he received from the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) and PPG.

"The scholarships I received from the industry enabled me to graduate college with a bachelor's degree in technology management, virtually debt-free," Furman said.

 

"Unburdened by worries about college debt, I was able to focus my attention on my passion for the automotive industry," Furman added. "Additionally, my relationship with CREF provided a solid foundation to show the industry that I'm seriously invested in pushing myself to the utmost limits of success, including by having the proper tools and equipment, which were funded by CREF's Tool Grant."

 

Furman's passion for cars began when he was a young boy, playing with Hot Wheels and building model cars.

 

"My desire to pursue a career in the collision repair industry reached the tipping point when I purchased my first vehicle, a 2000 Dodge Dakota Sport. I didn't even have my license yet, just my permit, and I backed into a fence post while pulling out of the driveway," he recalled. "My uncle, who does restoration, showed me how to restore the vehicle back to pre-accident condition. From there, I was hooked and knew I wanted to learn all I could about the auto body industry."

 

Although Furman traded his first truck for a 1999 Dodge Dakota R/T, he continued experimenting with repairs.

 

"The R/T trim model has a V8 and some other upgrades as well and I completely refinished it back in 2011," he shared. "This truck was the starting point for increasing my knowledge for customization, mechanical, body and refinish work. To this day, I still own this vehicle."

 

While pursuing his degree in technology management through the 3+1 program at Eastern Michigan University (EMU), Furman applied for various scholarships from CREF and other industry organizations. The 3+1 program allows students to complete three years at Washtenaw Community College and transfer to EMU for one year before graduating.


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