Collision Repair Industry Consultant Won’t Let Health Issues Stop Him

Chris Maimone has had health issues that might force many people to early retirement, but they only inspired him to work harder and do a better job. Now he works as a consultant for CARSTAR and is exceeding everyone’s expectations with his knowledge and experience.

What happens when your body starts to fail you, but your mind is as sharp as ever? Do you quit or do you re-invent yourself?

This is a question many people in every industry---including collision repair---have to answer at some point in their careers, but it usually when approaching retirement.

Chis Maimone has had to face these life-changing issues at the young age of 38 due to some serious health issues requiring more than 30 surgeries. Many people would have understandably thrown in the towel after experiencing a plethora of medical issues like the ones Maimone has encountered.

But he apparently doesn’t know the word “quit,” and instead of stepping aside, he is embracing his new role as an industry consultant focusing primarily on auto body shops.

Maimone comes from a body shop business family well-known throughout southern California. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from California Lutheran University, and entered the industry began by working at Marco's Collision Centers, which has seven locations.

He’s extremely proud of the fact he played an integral role in the company’s success with a mission passion of improving the collision repair industry from the front office to the paint booth and everywhere in between.

Maimone started his career in collision repair from the bottom by washing vehicles, but was learning every facet of operating the shop since day one and progressed quickly, he said.

“After a short time, they put me in charge of the San Gabriel shop, where I supervised 50 employees, produced an average daily output of $32,000, generating a 50% gross profit and earned a Customer Service Index (CSI) between 98% and 100%, while keeping all of our DRPs happy,” Maimone said. “I oversaw our production process, which required every department to achieve a successful daily output while keeping our quality standards. This required knowing every vehicle's in-process and coordinating with each member who came in contact with the car."

The most challenging part of Maimone’s position was checking for quality during every repair, he said.

“I am a perfectionist and everyone who works with me knows it," he said. "If something was not 100% perfect, I sent it back. To be totally transparent, there were many times I wasn't the most well-loved person at the shop because I often send vehicles back due to quality issues. It was my task to protect the company's name and reputation, which meant making sure each customer's car was repaired to absolute perfection. Our goal was to affirm that the vehicle was always repaired ‘Once, Right, the First Time.’" 

Maimone hasn’t let his health issues get in the way of performing his job at a high level.

“I used to think that to be successful it required a perfect presentation of how I appeared and carried myself,” he said. “I went from being a typical 35-year-old to a man who now uses a walker, but this did not define my success. I'm knew that I was still damn good at what I do, and now there was an unexpected ingredient of inspiration. When people see the diligence and commitment I give them, it inspires them to go the extra mile and commit to change despite my hurdles. Within my field, this is what I've always aimed to do.”

As a consultant, Maimone loves motivating people to do amazing things, he said.

“I've been continually drawn to my consultant role solely because I offer an approach that goes beyond the result of what other consultants may offer," he said. "My job is to advance the mindset of the entire company from I should make changes to I want to make changes! This means we aren't looking for a temporary fix but a permanent one. I am only successful if the entire team embraces the change, from the owner to the porter. When the company adopts it, the results will last."

In 2014, Marco's became the first California acquisition for Service King Collision Centers.

“They then chose me to be one of the first members of their Southern California market's quality assurance team,” Maimone said. “This team started with eight locations and grew to 30 locations within two years. I was meticulous when inspecting each vehicle, like I had at Marco's, but my most important role was coaching the teammates in embodying the same quality standards.”

Maimone was promoted to Service King’s quality assurance team lead for the entire Southern California market within two years.

“Many of my days were spent on quality inspections for different locations, which involved one-to-one training, group meetings, customized presentations and hosting national calls to help educate the entire team,” he said. “In addition to these, I was on the Pack Board for the Universal Technical Institute from 2016-2018. As an avid advocate for bringing more women into our industry, I also helped one of the UTI students become the first woman accepted into Service King's technician apprentice program."

Everything changed in 2018 for Maimone.

“My body started having problems, and I didn't know why. The changes were subtle at first---tingling in the legs, numbness in my feet, etc. Then my balance began to suffer, and I had difficulty walking normally. My symptoms quickly advanced, so much so that I had to leave Service King.” 

He was diagnosed with a tethered spinal cord, meaning he had excessive scar tissue wrapped around his spinal cord, essentially suffocating it.

“Within two years, I had five spine surgeries and seven brain surgeries," Maimone said. "I lost all of my feeling from the waist down, yet the amazing thing is that I'm still able to walk with the assistance of a walker. I should be wheelchair-bound, but I continually fight and push my body's boundaries to where I know they can be. That includes fighting for my capability to get back in the field.”

In December 2020, Maimone successfully returned to the workforce, albeit through a different avenue due to his spine issues. He landed a job with CARSTAR.

“Coaching and making people better has always been my passion, so I decided consulting would be a perfect fit,” he said. “I was invited to be a motivational speaker at the VeriFacts Symposium within that same month. Figureheads and leaders throughout the collision repair industry were in attendance, and they learned not only my story but also the framework needed to instill a higher-than-standard collision company.”

Integrating into three locations for CARSTAR and moving through their production areas on a walker seemed like a daunting task at first.

“I had just spent the last 24 months battling a condition that could have made me completely paralyzed, and now I am being entrusted again with the task of guiding companies to success," he said. “What ended up surprising me was how my refusal to let my body stand in the way of my work ethic had prevented my walker from becoming a hindrance.

"It was an amazing experience working with the corporate staff, shop management and shop teammates," Maimone said. "I know the processes we implemented will help increase their capture rate and help them fulfill their long-term goals. Just as how I am determined to walk one day without assistance again, I too am determined to do exactly what I had done for years---make people and companies better.”

Ed Attanasio

Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist and Autobody News columnist based in San Francisco.

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