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1HomePageMap small se 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and West Virginia

David Smith of Auto Damage Experts (ADE) was recently called upon in criminal court in Oregon to render expert opinion on behalf of the defendant in an Oregon state criminal case.

The matter involved the accusation and ensuing assault charges filed by the state of Oregon against a man who broke the side glass of his estranged wife’s vehicle. The accusation was made that the accused struck the window with his fist out of anger to gain entry of the vehicle.

Conversely, the defendant stated he merely tapped on the glass with the tip of his key asking that the window be rolled down and upon doing so the glass broke.

The defense counsel called upon Auto Damage Experts to research and to testify as to what would be required to break the side glass. David Smith, with the aid of demonstrative evidence showed that breakage of the side glass could occur with as little as twelve pounds of force when applied with the tip of a pointed metal object such as the tip of a key.

The sitting jury found the testimony and evidence to support the defense and finding the accused man not guilty.

Attorney Ryan Colbridge of Corbridge & Kroll Attorneys at Law, LLC, and the lead defense attorney in the case stated: “I have had the chance to work with David Smith from Auto Damage Experts in multiple trials both civil and criminal. Most recently his testimony on the stand and expertise in the auto industry was a primary factor in getting my client acquitted in a criminal matter for which he was wrongfully charged. David’s clear and professional presentation to the jury was a key factor in their understanding of facts relevant to the case. I would, and do, recommend Mr. Smith and Auto Damage Experts freely and liberally to anyone who is need of such services.”

Barrett Smith, founder and President of Auto Damage Experts, Inc. stated; “with the many services ADE provides, we never know what we’ll be called upon to assist with next. This was a unique case and we are pleased that we were able to aid the jury and the court in rendering a sound and proper verdict.”

In 1971, Mike Gatto started Gatto’s Tires & Auto Service in Melbourne, FL. The business is now celebrating its 40th anniversary, according to Florida Today.

There are other numbers to note: Seven, as in how many stores the family-run business has on the Space Coast. And three, as in generations now involved in the business. It’s run by Mike’s daughter, Pam Gatto, with her two sons, Scott McHenry and Mike McHenry, and son-in-law, Mike “Kiwi” Nevin.

During their 40 years in Brevard County, the family has learned a lot about providing good customer service. Pam Gatto said the No. 1 rule is to hire quality people.

“We have a lot of good people who work for us,” said Gatto, whose is president of the company. “And they often tell me that they love working with us because they can be honest and straightforward and do the right thing when they take care of the customer.”

Mike Gatto spent 22 years in sales and marketing for Goodyear before striking out on his own in 1971. Pam soon joined him, and the family business grew from there.

She said, “Dad always told me, ‘We don’t sell tires and auto service. We sell safety and peace of mind.’ “

To help celebrate the 40th anniversary, Gatto’s is offering a few novel promotions.

“Anyone still driving a 1971 vintage vehicle can bring it in to one of our stores and get a free oil change,” Pam Gatto said. “Obviously, a 40-year-old car has received a lot of TLC to keep it going, and we want to make sure that trend continues into the future.”

And if customers stop by wearing paisley bell bottoms or other ‘70s attire, such fringe jackets, headbands or love beads, they will get a coupon for $19.71 off their next purchase.

“We really look forward to seeing them,” she said.

Gatto’s Tires & Auto Service stores are in Cocoa, Merritt Island, Viera, Palm Bay and Melbourne in the state of Florida. Learn more about Gattos (and about what happened back in 1971) at gattos.com.

The Florida Auto Collision Alliance is looking to reinvigorate two chapters in the state's largest metro areas--Orlando and Miami.

The group's current active chapters include Jacksonville, South Florida, Tampa, Lakeland and Space/Treasure Coast.

According to FACA's Executive Director Cathy Mills the Orlando chapter was active several years ago but has fallen away from that currently.

"Orlando is such a large market. They have reached out to me and expressed a desire and need to bring the association back," said Mills.

The FACA has been actively strengthening their membership since Mills' appointment in January of this year.

"We also are looking at expanding in Miami where they too have reached out and expressed a need and desire to start a chapter there," said Mills.

Interested parties can contact Cathy Mills at Cathy@facafl.com. For more information about the FACA please visit www.facafl.com.

Thursday, 22 September 2011 17:09

AL Immigration Law & Vehicle Registration

Motor vehicle registration procedures will change when the new immigration law signed by Gov. Robert Bentley goes into effect Sept. 1, according to The Clanton Advertiser. According to an Aug. 26 press release, Act 2011-535 of the Alabama Legislature, also known as the Immigration Act, will require everyone to show proof of U.S. citizenship for every business transaction made through the Alabama Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division and County Licensing Offices.

“Business transactions” include applying for or renewing a license plate, a driver’s license, a non-driver identification card or a certificate of title.

“It’s really going to change the way we do everything in our office,” said Tim Little, Chilton County tax collector. “Just be patient with us. We’re going to suffer along with the public until we can get the wrinkles ironed out.”

Beginning Sept. 1, any person applying for or renewing a license plate, driver’s license, non-driver identification card or certificate of title must come into the Motor Vehicle Registration Office and present documents proving U.S. citizenship or lawful presence in the U.S.

“You will have to go in and show the proper I.D.,” Little said. “No more online renewals. It’s going to be bad.”

Examples of acceptable documents for U.S. citizenship, original or photocopied clearly, include:
● A valid, unexpired driver’s license or non-driver identification card issued by the Alabama Department of Public Safety.
● A U.S. birth certificate.
● A valid or expired passport with I.D. and passport number.
● Naturalization documents or the certificate of naturalization number.

According to the press release, applicants trying to prove lawful presence must present one document for verification each year, such as a valid, unexpired Alabama driver’s license, a valid, unexpired non-driver identification card or a valid tribal enrollment card.

Safelite AutoGlass on August 30 announced the company will relocate its SuperCenter warehouse in Tampa, Fla. to a larger facility in northern Tampa. The move is scheduled for Sept. 15.

The new 33,000 square foot facility will house an inventory of 10,000 parts. The SuperCenter also has a service shop with four service bays. The company plans to hire more service representatives, dispatchers, seasonal repair specialists and technicians, according to Safelite. The existing store will continue to serve the South area of Tampa.

“Safelite AutoGlass is committed to serving customers in the Tampa area, and this larger SuperCenter will allow us to have more inventory on hand to service customers,” said Amiee Nickerauer, Safelite’s local general manager. “Keeping people safe while they are in their vehicles is a key component to Safelite’s approach to the business. Vehicle glass is an important element of a car’s structural integrity, and we are happy to perform inspections to identify any risky chips or provide a quote on glass damage.”

Seung Chang Airtech, Inc. (SCA) is announcing the completion of a 95,000 plus square-foot expansion to its manufacturing operation in Auburn Technology Park North in Alabama, according to WLTZ News Columbus.

The 214,800 square-foot large manufacturing facility will help the company respond to the growing demand for its products.

“Our decision to expand our production is the result of additional business and increased demand from our clients KMMG in West Point, Georgia, and HMMA in Montgomery, Alabama. Our Auburn manufacturing facility strategically places us in a position to grow our company, and provide additional jobs in the community,” said Dr. Daniel Yu, CEO of SCA.

SCA is also announcing another major project coming to Auburn. SCA has already began occupying a 20,000 square-foot facility in the Auburn Industrial Park where it will produce vibration and noise dampening materials used in the automotive, industrial, and construction industries.

With these two projects SCA will have invested $16.8 million and will have created approximately 200 additional jobs in Auburn.

“We are excited about the announcement by SCA,” Mayor Bill Ham said. “SCA became a corporate citizen to Auburn in 2004, creating 40 jobs. In the near future, the company will employ 400 workers. I want to congratulate the leadership of the company and its employees for this achievement,” Ham added.

The Auburn automotive parts manufacturer serves the automotive industry with black plastic injection molding parts and the assembly of heater and blower modules.