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Western News

1HomePageMap small w 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in California, NevadaOregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, Alaska and Wyoming

Anchor Auto Body of Sunnyvale, CA, announced that it won the Talk of the Town Satisfaction Award in the Automotive—Auto Service & Repair category.

It was the fourth straight year Anchor Auto Body won the award, presented jointly by Talk of the Town News, Customer Care News magazine and Celebration Media US.

The Talk of the Town Awards honor companies and professionals that provide excellent customer service as reported by their customers through no-cost, user-review websites, blogs, social networks, business rating services and other honors and accolades. The data is then analyzed by a team of researchers. Anchor Auto Body earned the highest possible rating of five stars for the third year in a row.

"Our staff is committed to ensuring your satisfaction with our courteous customer service and quality repairs," said Betsy Trago, Anchor’s co-owner with husband Tom Trago. "We are passionate about performing our best," she says. "We partner with customers to produce a mutually beneficial performance."

The comprehensive auto body repair shop employs I-CAR-certified employees and is an I-CAR Gold Class Shop, which Trago says is one of the essential parts to giving every customer excellent service.

Amenities offered by Anchor Auto Body include "car check" via the shop's website, where customers can watch the progress of their vehicle's repairs; pick-up and delivery service; rental car assistance; and a clean, comfortable customer lounge.

A body was found early Friday, Nov. 1, at an auto body shop that burned, authorities said.

The discovery was said to be made at Earl Scheib Paint and Body, 3252 W. Rosecrans Ave. in Hawthorne, west of Crenshaw, according to Los Angeles County fire dispatcher Rey Dong. The fire broke out around 4:15 a.m. at the shop near Rosecrans Boulevard and Lemoli Avenue. The victim has still not yet been identified, and a cause of the fire was not clear. Officials do not suspect arson as a cause.

The fire took 15-20 minutes to extinguish. It was reported at 4:14 a.m. and was knocked down by 4:43 a.m., the fire dispatcher said.

“Upon performing search and rescue operations, we did find one victim that was a fatality inside,” Batt. Chief Brian Askari told local news.

Hawthorne police said they were conducting a homicide investigation.

 

When body shop professionals in Northern California yell “Show me the Money!” they’re probably not quoting from Jerry Maguire, the 1996 film starring Tom Cruise. No, it’s more likely that they’re referencing Kurt Money, a body technician who is renowned for being an especially skilled instructor for the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR). Virtually all repairers know I-CAR is a not-for-profit training organization focused on education, knowledge and solutions for the Collision Repair Inter-Industry and developing and delivering technical training programs to professionals in all areas of the Collision Repair Inter-Industry.

Money is celebrating 20 years as an I-CAR instructor this year, but he’s surely not resting on his laurels. As a full-time body man working at Larkfield Body and Paint in Santa Rosa, CA, and teaching a wide range of I-CAR courses, Money’s schedule is jam-packed. If he’s not mentoring body techs and fixing cars, he’s enjoying his Harley motorcycle. Money is all about teaching people, helping them and making a better industry; by volunteering his time when possible and showing that he cares.

Money, 56, came to northern California from Spanish Fork, UT—just outside of Provo—in 1979. After graduating from Utah Valley Technical College, Money decided to start his own shop and later hired two of his classmates to work for him. It was called Money’s Body & Paint and before long the shop was doing well. But Kurt was not ready to own and operate his own business at that point in his life. “The business was fine, but I was more into having a good time, playing a lot of golf, bowling and not paying attention to the shop. I was playing when I should have been working and pretty soon I ran it into the ground. It was a useful lesson and what I learned was, I don’t want to own my own shop!”

After working briefly for a Chevy dealership’s collision center in Provo, UT and supervising a crew of nine, Money decided to go west. “I loaded my tools in my van and headed to California,” Money said. “I was actually going to San Diego, but my voltage regulator failed and caused my vehicle to break down in Santa Rosa. I took it to a dealership and they told me that the van made it all the way from Utah on the charge that was left in the battery, which was very surprising.”

After working for a decade as a body tech at a Cadillac dealership in Santa Rosa, Money got a job at Larkfield Body and Paint in 1990, where he still works today. “It’s a third-generation shop and they treat all of us like family,” he explained. “Dave Hartman is the owner and he’s an exceptional individual. He’s the best boss I’ve ever had, because he cares about us and doesn’t treat us like employees.”

In 1985, Money started taking I-CAR classes, to learn as much as he could about his profession and improve his skills, he said. “When I first found out about I-CAR, some of the older guys told me that I didn’t need to take those classes. But, I found out that I-CAR was offering information I couldn’t find anywhere else. Back then, they had approximately 16 classes and I took them all. My instructor was a guy named Bob Puckett and he’s retired now. When I saw him in action, I thought to myself, I can do this.”

His I-CAR teaching career started over a gentleman’s bet, Money said. “I told one of my fellow techs that I was thinking of becoming an instructor for I-CAR. But he said, ‘You can’t talk in front of two people, how are you going to get up there and talk to a group?’ So, we made a bet and it actually provided me with additional motivation. I jumped in there and started teaching and I’ve been doing it now for 20 years.”

To see what he could do, I-CAR sent Money to Orange County to meet with Lead Instructor Ronnie Swaggert. “I admit, it was a little intimidating,” Money said. “I had to make a presentation in front of him and it wasn’t easy. I learned a lot from that and now I integrate it into my teaching. I use humor and I try to present the information in a way that the students can absorb easily. I’m hands-on and I like to teach visually. My approach is I teach the way I would want to be taught. I come up with scenarios that the techs can relate to and that way they get involved and retain the information.”

By using his proven techniques, a wide range of people within the collision industry have grown to know and respect Money for his uncanny ability to connect with his students. One of these is Dan Welsh, the owner of Crockett’s Premier Auto Body in Pinole, CA and a former I-CAR instructor who currently sits on the organization’s board. “All I can say is Kurt Money is a special individual,” Welsh said. “I keep waiting to run into his twin, because the man gets so much done there must be two of them. He’s very methodical and exceedingly fair and in everything he does, he puts other people first. He never takes credit and makes himself accessible to all his students, by giving them his cell phone number and even his home phone number.”

Peter Lock, the head instructor at Contra Costa College’s auto tech department has been working with Kurt Money since day one. Money periodically teaches Lock’s students welding classes and uses the Contra Costa College’s classroom to teach I-CAR classes on Saturdays, he said. “When I first met Kurt, I was expecting someone completely different. He pulled up on his Harley with the long hair and he had a Harley T-shirt on (he owns 86 HD T-shirts). I thought, what is going on with this guy? But after spending a day with him, I realized he’s pretty amazing. He’s a special person and he lives to teach. Kurt gives his time freely and has helped us in so many ways.”

Jim Boyle, the owner of Regal Collision in Vallejo, CA, also goes way back with Money and like everyone else, has nothing but good things to say about the man. “He is a unique individual and the one thing I can say is that his passion for teaching and helping people really stands out,” Boyle said. “When he gets up there in front of a class, you want to listen to him. I most appreciate his sense of humor and his attention for detail. He inspires people to be better, and that’s what teaching is all about.”

Gene Lopez, a regional manager for I-CAR is yet another Money fan, for several reasons. “Kurt is a tech, so he can deliver the information in a way that other techs can relate to,” Lopez said. “With 20 years of teaching experience at I-CAR, he is an integral part of the Santa Rosa market. He is a self-starter and works wells with other people, including Maria Reynaga, our chairman in that region. For him, it’s his life, not just a profession and that’s why we value him so greatly at I-CAR.”

Charlotte-based Maaco has acquired 1-Day Paint & Body Centers of Torrance, Calif., for an undisclosed sum.

During a meeting with the area State Farm Estimatics Manager, Ron Reichen, President of Precision Body and Paint in Beaverton Oregon, chose not to re-negotiate his company’s Select Service agreement with State Farm Insurance, the nation’s largest personal auto insurer—a relationship which lasted over 17 years and of which accounted for $2 million dollars in business over the past year.

“It was actually a business decision we had been considering for some time” stated Reichen. “Discussions came to an impasse over fair and reasonable rates and allowances for aluminum repair.  Our terminating the Select Service agreement stems from our company being a certified Tesla repair facility and the investments in time, equipment, training, specialized equipment and facilities which we could not offer for the rates State Farm was willing to pay. This will no doubt enable our company to re-evaluate and revise our pricing on other goods and services for the other manufacturers of which we are a certified repairer for including Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Nissan, Volvo, GM, Chrysler and several others.”

Along with all other insurers, State Farm has paid Precision’s posted aluminum labor rates in the past. With Precision being the only certified Tesla repairer in the state, it is believed that with its growing popularity and its all aluminum construction, that State Farm has now elected to deny Precision’s aluminum rates under the Select Service Program.  As a result, like all other insurers, State Farm will no longer be provided the concessions (e.g. storage) Precision offered in the past.

Reichen stated: “While insurers continue to adjust their rates based upon economic pressures; as vehicle technology advances with new sophisticated metals, manufacturing and repair techniques, repairers, party to such programs as Select Service are precluded from keeping pace with their increasing costs. We found attempting to do so, while maintaining the highest level of quality and service, to be both unreasonable and unsustainable, and as a business decision we elected to resign from the insurer’s program.

“This was Precision’s last insurer Direct Repair relationship, and as in the past, we will continue to work with all insurers on our customer’s behalf. Precision is committed to its customers and our community and will continue to work diligently to serve them with the highest quality repairs and service in an expeditious manner regardless of which insurer is involved.”

Thursday, 24 October 2013 11:54

19 arrested in Arizona's Operation Tin Man

State and local authorities served search warrants at several locations in Phoenix, Coolidge and Tucson as part of a 15-month investigation into an alleged auto theft ring.

According to authorities, car thieves took stolen vehicles to the "Hendrix & Co." salvage yard where the cars would be reduced to scrap, no questions asked.

"They provided opportunities for people that steal cars to dispose of those vehicles," said DPS Capt. Bruce Campbell.

"Word gets out... if you've got stolen silverware, people know where the crooked pawn shops are. Same thing with recyclables and salvage yards."

15 search warrants related to the Hendrix company were served at businesses and homes. Investigators raided three scrap yards in Phoenix, one in Coolidge, and one in Tucson.

About a dozen people were arrested. It's not clear if the owner of the company was one of those arrested. Hendrix, located at 9th St and Broadway, has been in the area for years.

"Specifically the investigation targeted trafficking in stolen property, fraudulent schemes, money laundering, narcotics sales, conspiracy, and operation of a criminal enterprise," said Robert Halliday, DPS.

The Phoenix Police Department says multiple agencies participated in the investigation dubbed Operation Tin Man.

Those included the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the state Automobile Theft Authority, the state Attorney General's Office and the county attorney offices for Maricopa and Pinal counties.

The sheriff's offices in Pima and Pinal counties and the Glendale and Goodyear police departments were among agencies that helped execute the warrants.

More arrests could be on the way. The investigation is ongoing.