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Stacey Phillips

Stacey Phillips photoStacey Phillips is a freelance writer for the automotive industry based in Southern California. She has 20 years of experience as an editor including writing in a number of businesses and fields.

 

She can be reached at sphillips.autobodynews@gmail.com. 

 
Friday, 07 May 2021 22:38

Collision Repair Veteran Brings I-CAR Training to Collision Industry in China

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Pictured, left to right, are Sue Zheng; Zhang Jingwei, vice president of the China Automobile Maintenance and Repair Association; Ron Olsson, president of Pro Spot International; and Tony Simon, during a student skills competition in Wu Xi, China, in 2013. Pictured, left to right, are Sue Zheng; Zhang Jingwei, vice president of the China Automobile Maintenance and Repair Association; Ron Olsson, president of Pro Spot International; and Tony Simon, during a student skills competition in Wu Xi, China, in 2013.

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Like many others who work in the collision repair industry, you could say Tony Simon grew up in a body shop. His great-grandpa, grandpa, dad and brothers all worked on vehicles, in some form or another.

Simon had a passion for cars and turned that into a long-term career where he had the opportunity to work internationally, bring I-CAR training to China and meet some of the most dedicated collision repairers along the way. Here is his story, as told to Stacey Phillips.

 

I was born in Dallas, TX. After World War II, my dad worked on John Deere tractors until he was hired at Ed Mauer Ford repairing and painting vehicles. We lived in a house with a very large garage where he repaired what they called “re-builders.”

 

Working nights and weekends at his home shop, Dad saved enough money to open his first body shop. I spent my free time on weekends and summers at his facility. I swept the floor, cleaned the toilets, anything to be there. I admired the way people repaired and painted vehicles.

 

When I was about 10 years old, I proudly announced to my dad that I had sanded a vehicle and it was ready to paint. Not having any vehicles that needed to be painted, my dad rushed into the shop and found that I had used an air sander on the entire body of a customer’s freshly-painted vehicle waiting for delivery. To say the least, he wasn’t thrilled.

 

My dad hired young guys from the local Dallas tech school---Industrial Training Co-operation (ICT). Rudy, a painter and body man at the shop, had attended this program. He taught me how to paint, along with my dad and older brother and mentor, Fred.

 

Fred was my inspiration. We worked together for 20 years and he provided me with the skills and knowledge that I have depended on throughout my life.

 

In 1956, my dad built three custom pickups out of passenger vehicles, one of which was a 1956 Mercury. I bought that vehicle and...


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