“Never stop learning” is the mantra of Justin Clubb at Deery Collision Center in Burlington, IA.
It explains why the 35-year-old collision center manager uses an I-CAR subscription plan to always makes sure his crew gets the right training.
Clubb entered the collision repair industry unexpectedly.
Company At A Glance...
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 11
In Business Since: 2004
Number of Locations: One
Production Space: 8,200 square feet
“I took a job at the local newspaper selling advertising, and the dealership I work for now was one of my accounts,” he said. “I was looking for a better job right after I met my wife, figuring I needed to get a career. The Deery Auto Group had an opening, so I interviewed for it, but didn’t get the job. And then they called me and said---hey, do you want to be a production manager for a body shop? I was a little hesitant because I knew very little about cars at the time. But I took the job and that’s how I entered the industry. I will be celebrating my ninth anniversary here soon, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Learning on the job has never been foreign to him, Clubb said. “Everything I’ve done has been headfirst. Sink or swim. I’m still learning every day because this industry is changing rapidly. It’s not going to slow down for you, so you better continually be up on your training and expand your knowledge base.”
Generalists are a dying breed because now it’s all about specialized training.
“Things like diagnostics and aluminum repair, for example, have dramatically increased the amount of training that’s necessary to be successful,” he said. “I think about the technician of today versus the ones of tomorrow; it’s going to be completely different. The amount of specialized knowledge you will need to work on the future cars---it’s not going to be easy.”
For that reason, Clubb is working with Southeastern Community College in West Burlington, IA, to prepare the next generation of technicians.
“I’m passionate about trying to get young folks into this industry because there is no doubt that we need a lot of them. Right now, these kids are being pushed to go to four-year schools and that’s not for everybody,” he said. “So, if we can get some of these kids to see how great a career this can be and how much money they can make in really a short period, we have a fighting chance.”
To stay ahead of the curve with his crew’s training, Clubb is 100% dedicated to his I-CAR subscription.
“We signed up for their monthly plan, so we can pay a flat fee every month and the training is unlimited. We can take one class if we need or if it takes 20 or 30, it’s not a problem.
“It’s awesome for some of my new hires. A while back, I hired three guys who all started at around the same time. They all knew cars fairly well; they all like to work with their hands and have some sort of experience. They worked on vehicles in their back yards or garages, but nothing professionally,” Clubb said. “So, I’ve taken those skills and built a training path, that is carefully broken down week by week. So now we fast forward, and these three guys are ProLevel™ 3 and they’ve got welding certifications. And in the process, I now have an I-CAR technician training path that is ideal for new hires.”
Many members of his crew have embraced the unlimited I-CAR training.
“Some of them have been able to take things that they’ve learned from I-CAR and educate me about them. We want them constantly learning, so they can better themselves, which helps us in the end,” Clubb said. “It’s great to see them develop and grow while finding their own little niche. Maybe someone isn’t a superstar when it comes to plastic welding, but they might be a good at aluminum repair. They develop their own path as they progress, and I-CAR enables them to do it that way.”
Clubb appreciates his I-CAR subscription from a price standpoint too.
“It was better for us as a shop. It’s built so I always know what I need to pay. I know my budget exactly every month for the training. We never have to say you can’t take this class because we can’t afford it or if it’s not in their wheelhouse,” he said. “If a tech starts asking about taking some painting classes and he will likely never paint a car, that’s fine. It helps to make them a more diversified technician with a broader knowledge base.”
Clubb can’t say enough positive things about I-CAR.
“They’re doing a lot of great things for the industry,” he said. “I’m really excited about their new training facility in Chicago and delighted to be an I-CAR subscriber. With ADAS, electric cars and autonomous travel on the way or already here, we are happy to be associated with I-CAR.”
To read more auto body shop profiles from the October 2022 Shop and Product Showcase, click here.