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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

The Florida Auto Collision Alliance's (FACA) Jacksonville Chapter held their 13th annual golf outing at Fleming Island Golf Course on May 26. The event was a huge winner for the group and another opportunity for owners, managers, support staff, insurance adjusters and vendors to build new relationships and rekindle old ones.

FACA’s generous vendors were particularly noteworthy participants and stocked the entire course with the very best food and drink.
FACA did an outstanding job with prize giveaways and ensured everything ran smoothly. The tee time was only delayed by 15 minutes—-not bad when you consider that more than 150 golfers had to be checked in and assigned golf carts before putting could begin. A big surprise was ex-NFL player Jeff Lageman defending the 16th hole, challenging all that came through to raise money for charity.

In the end, all went well and everyone had a great time and is looking forward to next year’s event. FACA issued a big thank you to Steve Carey, Cathy Mills and Dave McBroom for all their efforts.

For more information please visit

The Broward County (Florida) Board of County Commissioners presented the Emerald Award to Uniweld Products Inc., designating the company as Broward County's Environmental Business of the Year for 2010.

Uniweld Products, a U.S. manufacturing company, is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Established in 1949 on farmland in the Dania Beach area, the company has grown and expanded into one of the major manufacturers in the welding, HVAC/R (Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration), plumbing, and alloys markets.

The Award commends Uniweld for its continuing adherence to strict environmental friendly business practices and green initiatives. David Pearl II, Uniweld's president, accepted the award on Tuesday, April 12th, 2011.

Sikes & Stowe Downtown Collision, the oldest independent, family-owned body shop in downtown Jacksonville, is currently celebrating its 85th anniversary.

Founder John E. Sikes Sr. started the business in 1926, his son John E. Sikes Jr. took over in the 1960s until his death in 1999 and grandson, John E. “Bud” Sikes III is the current owner.

The owners have always credited their loyal customer base throughout the years for their longevity of success, and are, as always, committed to the growth and development of downtown Jacksonville.

For more information please visit

The Georgia Collision Industry Association (GCIA) July meeting was held on July 14th at the Crowne Plaza Perimeter Atlanta NW.

Patrick Delaney from Summit Consulting International was the night's guest presenter. The presentation centered on how to improve performance in your collision shop.

Delaney’s presentation covered how to measurably improve the processes that impact the most vital areas of your business—profitability and customer loyalty.

Delaney spoke about Production Management Foundations, Measuring in Order to Manage and Making an Impact. He also discussed how to set up production controls to address the following four areas; customer interaction, managing repairs, production processes, and administrative processes.

He explained the impact each area has on the production process and how these area can affect the repair planning process.  Summit Consulting has a computer program to help shops with their production management.

Refreshments and food began at 6:30 pm.

The group also discussed the upcoming 15th Annual GCIA Golf tournament and the Property and Casualty Insurance Stakeholder Advisory committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday, August 10th at 1:30PM in Atlanta (Location yet to be determined).

Please visit for more information about Summit Consulting International. Visit for updates on the GCIA.

According to the legal team for Gunder’s Auto Center in their well-known battle with State Farm Insurance, limited documentation surrendered by State Farm in response to a court’s discovery order revealed the results of the insurer’s infamous labor rate survey have been altered.

While the nation’s largest private auto insurer has not provided all the information demanded in the court’s order; the information they did provide is seen by many as the proverbial “smoking gun” and a strong indicator of an even more pervasive nationwide practice.

In review of surrendered documents it was found that response to State Farm’s labor rate survey submitted by Gunder’s Auto Center, along with other local competitors, had been altered by State Farm’s Estimatics Team Manager, Robert “Bob” Davis in an apparent effort to skew the results to best serve the insurer by lowering rates and allowances.

Ray Gunder states: “I am confident this is not an isolated instance and that this is the likely the reason they have failed to supply us all the surveys and other information as ordered by the court. For years, across the entire country, monies have been withheld from repairers under the guise of the so-called survey and “Prevailing Competitive Pricing” by State Farm and all those insurers who follow their lead. Such deceit and unethical business practices have earned State Farm many Billions of dollars in unjust profits. Billions that the consumer never received benefit of through proper and thorough repairs.”

Wednesday, 06 July 2011 15:33

Kia Hires 1,000 New Employees for US Plant

Kia Motors America is ramping up its U.S. production at the manufacturer’s West Point, Georgia, plant. The plant will increase output from the current 300,000 vehicles per year to 360,000 beginning this September.

In a public statement made June 2 President and CEO of Kia Motors America, Ahn Byung-mo, said, "Kia is experiencing unprecedented growth in the U.S., led by the best-selling Sorento. And with demand for the critically acclaimed Optima currently outpacing supply we are proud to add the popular sedan as the second Kia vehicle on the production line."

In anticipation of the increase, Kia has just hired 1,000 new U.S. worker. Byung-mo hopes this expansion will keep up with the high demand for Kia’s Optima sedan and Sorento SUV, best-sellers for the brand. Kia’s Georgia plant will begin producing both models exclusively.