On Nov. 14, the Central Massachusetts I-CAR Committee hosted its Inaugural Axe Tournament at Half Axe in Marlborough, MA, raising funds to support collision education programs through the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF).
According to Joshua Fuller, committee chair, “We had over 30 industry participants attend, including paint companies, jobbers, parts vendors, equipment vendors, collision center owners and managers. We raised over $3,500 for the local schools. It was an all-around great event.”
At the committee’s September meeting, the group was discussing possible event ideas, and I-CAR’s Paul Hill suggested axe throwing since he had recently helped facilitate similar events for other groups. Fuller stated, “We started with an hour of networking and then proceeded to the axe throwing portion of the evening. We added in a little friendly competition with mini tournaments throughout. Everyone enjoyed the benefit of getting to know one another on a personal level, while also enjoying a spirit of collaboration for the future of our industry.”
Although axe throwing provided an entertaining evening, the primary function of the event was to promote and support CREF because “the future of our industry is in the hands of these vocational school collision repair curriculums,” Fuller stressed. “As industry professionals, we’re struggling to keep up with changing technology, but that is multiplied when you consider the numerous challenges these high school programs face with limited budgets and resources.”
The Central Massachusetts I-CAR Committee is currently working with Worchester Vocational to help them obtain additional funding and an updated curriculum through I-CAR and CREF. “They are often working with antiquated equipment and outdated guidelines on collision repair,” Fuller said. “Due to the number of revolutionary changes in the last three years, it can be challenging for schools to keep up.”
Fuller continued, “Collision repair is more technical and computerized — far different than it was years ago. Therefore, we need to provide as much guidance and assistance as possible to the facilities and instructors who are shaping our next generation of technicians.”