Drive Collision Centers
Location: Freeland, MI
Company At A Glance...
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 14
In Business Since: 1982
Number of Locations: One
Combined Production Space: 13,000 square feet
Back in 2010, he started a great relationship with his SATA spray guns.
As the head painter at Drive Collision Centers, located at McDonald Ford of Freeland, MI, Valliere, 39, started painting when opportunity knocked randomly one day when he was 18 and fresh out of high school.
“I was working as a parts delivery guy, and one day I painted a few bumper covers for a friend of my father’s and when I was done, the parts manager where I was working saw my work and was surprised to see that I could do it,” he said.
“Without my knowledge, my boss recommended me to the collision center there and before I knew it, I was working as a painter’s helper. That is how it began.”
Valliere experienced the SATA way and hasn’t looked back since.
“I was using another type of gun initially, but I always had my eye on getting a SATA gun,” he said.
“A painter I worked with had never used anything other than a SATA, and one day he let me try one of his guns.
“I absolutely fell in love with it right away and went out and bought one without hesitation for base coat. Then later, I tried his RP clear coat SATA gun, and a few months later I got one of those too.
“From that moment on, I decided that I would only use SATA guns, and now I have five and want to buy a few more.”
When the people at SATA were looking for a top painter to profile for this article, they reached out to Jeremy Winters, painter and host of the popular podcast “Booth Talk.”
Winters also has a Facebook page called Ask the Painter.
“He talks about paint and I love his show,” Valliere said.
“Jeremy’s show has quite a following, and he has awesome guests all the time.
“Painters from all over the world discuss things such as painting processes and equipment on his podcast, and I never miss it.”
Winters had been communicating with Valliere for a while through his Facebook page and respects him for his knowledge about his craft and willingness to help others.
“I chose Chad because he has always been great during discussions online, and I know that he’s a hardcore SATA guy like me,” Winters said.
“I started using SATA 15 years ago. Dan-Am is an incredible company. They keep their eyes on the industry and listen to our feedback, and that’s what I really like about them.
Top: Chad Valliere painted his own truck with his SATA guns, which is the only way he’d ever do it. Bottom: Known for his quality and eye for detail, Valliere is a shining star at Drive Collision Centers.
“Chad is someone who really cares about his work and is always looking for a better way to achieve top results.”
When it comes to a spray gun, Valliere definitely has a lengthy wish list, and SATA meets all of his requirements, he said.
“A good gun has to be comfortable in my hands and easy to adjust to suit the job,” he said.
“Of course, atomization and consistent material transfer are a big deal, and I need to be able to find the trigger every time.
“I paint roughly 50 vehicles every month as the only painter here, so I often rely on muscle memory, but SATA makes it all a lot easier because of the way they’re designed.
“When I get busy, I just grab the gun and know exactly what it’s going to do.”
The fact that his SATA guns never fail him or break down is a big plus as well, which means he really hasn’t had to call on Dan-Am’s support, Valliere said.
“I have never had to re-build a SATA gun, and as long as I do some general maintenance, they don’t need any special attention,” he said.
“The plastic ring inside the air cap has needed to be replaced a few times, but it’s easy enough to do. I use these guns a lot, so that will happen, but other than that, I have had zero issues.”
Always looking to be a better painter, Valliere will never deviate from using his SATA guns, even though he tried them all before being introduced to what he called “the best in the industry.”
He may refine his technique over time, but he will always stick to his guns when it comes to SATA.
“I’m only 39 years old and I love what I do,” he said.
“I want to work as long as I can, so maybe one day I can be that veteran painter who gave some young kid his very first SATA gun to use.
“To be the best painter I can be, I need to use the best equipment and products available in the industry, and without a doubt I know SATA is doing that for me.
“As long as my employer and the customers are happy with my work and the finished product, why would I ever consider using anything else?”
To download a PDF of this article, click here.
One Sata Drive
P.O. Box 46
Spring Valley, MN 55973
To read more auto body shop profiles from the October 2018 Shop & Product Showcase, click here.