• AAI Charges Forward with Future Driven Forum: “Accelerating the Electric Vehicle Market in the U.S.”

    By Chasidy Rae Sisk “What’s driving EVs, and what will it take to drive the EV market in the U.S.?” asked John Bozzella, President and CEO of the Alliance for  Automotive Innovation (AAI), who moderated AAI’s April 15th Future Driven Forum installment on “Charging Forward: Accelerating the Electric Vehicle Market in the U.S.” Panelists included Swati Daji, senior vice president of customer solutions and strategies at Duke Energy; Dustin Krause, director, e-mobility North America for VW; and Celina Mikolajczak, vice president, battery technology for Panasonic. Bozzella jumped in by asking panelists about what is driving momentum and creating the move to invest in EV. Krause identified the main drivers as…

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  • WyoTech Enrollment Increases by Nearly 6,000% in Three Years

    By Chasidy Rae Sisk When a new local ownership group purchased the Laramie, Wyoming campus in July 2018, only 11 students were enrolled in WyoTech’s automotive, diesel and collision programs. After just three years, WyoTech expects to “see approximately 650 students on our campus by our October 2021 start,” according to Cindy Barlow, director of industrial outreach at WyoTech. Specializing in educating students for careers in the automotive, diesel and collision industries, WyoTech was founded in 1966 to “provide a top-notch concentrated training program that prepared students for the growing demand for technicians,” according to the school’s website. WyoTech underwent several changes in ownership since the turn of the century,…

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  • St. Louis I-CAR Committee Adopts Three High Schools

    By Chasidy Rae Sisk The St. Louis I-CAR Committee’s April 8th meeting featured the excitement of planning for its upcoming helicopter golf ball drop fundraiser as well as updates on the group’s Adopt a School program. According to Shelly Jones, St. Louis I-CAR Committee Chair, “We had another great turnout with 25 people attending our virtual meeting.” I-CAR’s Robbie Saladino started the meeting by sharing results from the I-CAR volunteer survey, and he also provided information on the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s Benchmark Grants. John Helterbrand, the committee’s Training Vice-Chair, offered an update on the Adopt a School goal and the two projects they’ve planned. “The St. Louis I-CAR Committee…

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  • MCRA Enjoys Return to Normalcy with 2021 Spring Educational Conference

    By Chasidy Rae Sisk On April 9 and 10, the Montana Collision Repair Association (MCRA) hosted its 2021 Spring Educational Conference, “2035: Looking Ahead at What the Collision Industry Might Look Like,” held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Great Falls, Montana. According to MCRA President Paul Flores, “The 2021 conference was great! We called our members months in advance to gauge their responses to make sure we were being sensitive to their needs and beliefs. Given the nature of the past year, it was a welcome rebound to normalcy for a lot of people, and we had a great turnout.” “For the first event in over a year and…

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  • Women in Wrenching: How Can We Attract More Women to the Industry? A WrenchWay Roundtable

    By Chasidy Rae Sisk “How can the automotive and collision repair industries attract more women to these fields?” That’s the question Christen Battaglia, director of strategic partnerships at WrenchWay, posed during the organization’s “Women in Wrenching” roundtable on March 24th. Four female industry professionals shared their thoughts on this complex problem: Carolyn Coquillette, founder and CEO of Shop-Ware; Audra Fordin, owner of Great Bear Auto Repair and founder of Women Auto Know; Cheryl Thompson, founder and CEO of the Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion and Advancement (CADIA); and Brittany Parker, Master Subaru technician at Maple Hill Auto Group. After introducing the panelists, Battaglia explained the reason for the roundtable: “We’re…

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  • Getting to Know WIN’s 2021 Most Influential Women

    By Chasidy Rae Sisk The Women’s Industry Network (WIN®) recently announced that TEN collision repair industry professionals will be honored as Most Influential Women (MIW) in 2021. This year’s list of honorees is the largest group to be recognized in the 22 years since the award’s inception. “This year presented the panel with 10 high scoring individuals.  This is a testament to the caliber of women in a wide variety of roles who are extreme shining examples of opportunities in the collision industry,” said Kathy Mello, Chair of WIN’s MIW committee. WIN’s 2021 MIW honorees are: Jennifer Boyer, director of strategy, customer service division, Ford Motor Company Kelly Broderick, global…

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  • St. Louis I-CAR Committee Plans Helicopter Golf Ball Drop as 2021 Fundraiser

    by Chasidy Rae Sisk The St. Louis I-CAR Committee held its first virtual meeting of 2021 on February 17, attracting “a great turnout with 18 people in attendance,” Chair Shelly Jones said. During the meeting, Robbie Saladino shared I-CAR Updates and provided an overview of the committee’s 2021 goals, which were explored in-depth during the group’s discussion. Gene Slattery, the committee’s education coordinator, also provided an update on their previous fundraisers and how the money raised has been allocated. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the St. Louis I-CAR Committee is uncertain whether they will be able to hold their annual job fair in October. “As an option this year, we…

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  • WrenchWay Connects Schools with Collision Repair Industry

    The collision repair industry has been contending with a massive technician shortage for years, as few students enroll in educational programs and existing technician leave the industry. Last year, Find A Wrench started a sister company, WrenchWay, to help “solve the automotive, diesel and collision technician shortage.” Although the organization started with only one product, Top Shops, they quickly expanded to add WrenchWay Insiders, a mobile app for technicians to share feedback about the industry. The debut of WrenchWay School Connect followed shortly after, as part of the organization’s continued efforts to connect industry employers, technicians, and the schools training the industry’s future technicians. According to Christen Battaglia, Director of…

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  • Dream It, Brand It, Own It: Jan Griffiths Shares Tips on Converting Dreams into Reality

    By Chasidy Rae Sisk “Dream more, fear less,” Jan Griffiths, president and founder of Gravitas Detroit, told members of the Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation (AWAF) on Jan. 14. During “Dream It! Brand It! Own It!,” Griffiths provided useful tips that can help automotive and collision professionals turn dreams into reality by crafting and executing a vision, staying focused, saying ‘no’, and managing distractions. The presentation, according to Griffiths, was “the origin of my story and breaking through barriers to move from being a farmer’s daughter in a small town in Wales to becoming one of the top 100 women in the automotive industry and now an entrepreneur.” Beginning with dreaming,…

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  • Opportunities in the Automotive Industry: Professionals Urge Students to Consider Career Options in WAC Video Series

    “Industry professionals promoting automotive careers” – that’s the mission of Women in Automotive and Collision (WAC), and many of the association’s efforts are geared towards inspiring young people to consider occupations in the automotive and collision repair industries. Typically, WAC members educate students and parents about the industry’s great career options during job fairs and other in-person events, but the challenges of social distancing led WAC to get creative in 2020. They appealed to the industry, asking for short video clip contributions which the association compiled into an awareness-raising series: Opportunities in the Automotive Industry. “Our mission has been accomplished in the past by members’ participation throughout the year: setting…

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  • IGONC Members Discussed Thoughts on Employee Benefits During January Tireside Chat

    By Chasidy Rae Sisk During the association’s monthly Tireside Chat on January 21, members of the Independent Garage Owners of North Carolina discussed employee benefits. According to IGONC Marketing and Membership Services Director Maddi Hennessey, “We discussed 401k and retirement planning, the impact of a minimum wage increase, and some of the unique benefits and perks different shops offer. The conversation went well.” Hennessey moderated, beginning by facilitating attendee introductions. She also offered the first example of a unique benefit, time off for volunteering. IGONC Vice President Todd Compton of Compton Automotive in Charlotte, NC, explained that his shop pays for 50% of employees’ healthcare policies, plus 100% of their…

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  • Women Encouraging Women in the 2021 Collision Repair Industry

    by Chasidy Rae Sisk Although the automotive industry is typically considered “a man’s world,” women have been impacting the automotive sphere since it began. In addition to financing the development of the Benz Patent-Motorwagen in 1885, Bertha Benz promoted the first automobile by taking the first long-distance road trip, proving the vehicle’s capability. She also proved her capability, contributing to the vehicle’s design by inventing brake lining, suggesting extra gears, and identifying solutions to other problems she encountered during her field test. Mary Anderson created the first functional windshield wiper in 1903, and Florence Lawrence invented the first turn signal seven years later. In more recent years, Danica Patrick was…

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  • Itech Brings All the Business Tools You Need to Your Shop’s Toolbox

    By Chasidy Rae Sisk Running a successful collision repair shop requires a lot more than just fixing vehicles – shop owners are running a business! Health insurance for employees, scheduling ongoing training, and recruiting new talent for the organization are just some of the responsibilities that present challenges, and exploring options in each category can be confusing and time-consuming. After repeatedly witnessing member shops’ frustrations with these matters, Mary Steele, executive director of ASA Florida, envisioned a way to help; she founded Itech “to put all of the business ‘tools’ in one toolbox, everything a shop owner needs from a business perspective, all in one place. The vision is to…

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  • ASA Colorado Builds Bikes for Toys for Tots

    By Chasidy Rae Sisk As part of ASA Colorado’s Annual Meeting on Dec. 14th, the association’s member shops donated bikes to Toys for Tots, an annual contribution with a slight twist due to the complexities of 2020. ASA Colorado Executive Director Julie Massaro explained, “Leading up to the meeting, we asked shops to build a bike or two to donate to Toys for Tots. Every year, when we normally hold the meeting in-person, we build the bikes as a group, but we wanted to make sure that we were still doing our part for the community during this chaotic year.” Over two dozen automotive and collision repair industry professionals attended…

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  • Customers Need Connections, Not Facades: Rick White Teaches IGONC to “See the Unseeable”

    By Chasidy Rae Sisk On Dec. 3, Rick White of 180BIZ provided members of the Independent Garage Owners of North Carolina (IGONC) with valuable insights on how to have a discovery conversation. “A common question I hear from shops is: What can I do to improve my closing skills?” White posed, explaining, “You’re asking the wrong question! It’s not something you’re putting out that impacts your closing ratio; it’s about what you’re taking in – if you want to increase sales, you need to ask customers the right questions!” Shops’ struggles with sales, according to White, begins with the fact that shops aren’t in control of the conversation because they…

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  • ARA’s 77th Annual Convention and Expo is a Virtual Success

    The Automotive Recycling Association (ARA) hosted its 77th Annual Convention and Expo on November 11-13. “After many discussions, serious consideration, and with the safety of all attendees at the forefront, ARA announced in August that the 77th Annual ARA Convention and Exposition would transition into a virtual conference,” said ARA Executive Director Sandy Blalock. “We were hopeful that this year’s Convention could remain a live event, but the current state-of-affairs simply presents too much uncertainty and risk at this time.”  “For 76 years, the ARA Annual Convention and Exposition has been the gathering place for the professional automotive recycling industry and an incredible place to network, learn and conduct business,”…

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  • Paving the Path: Industry Organizations Collaborate to Produce the Ultimate Virtual Training Event

    by Chasidy Rae Sisk Few collision repair industry events have taken place this year, leaving a gap in training and networking opportunities for many shop owners and their employees. Seeking to close this gap, over a dozen automotive industry organizations collaborated to create the Professional Automotive Virtual Education (PAVE) Training event, scheduled for January 8-10, 2021. Jeff Lovell, PAVE event chair, President/Executive Director of ASA Northwest, said, “By providing this event virtually, more industry professionals can take advantage of the training without the cost or risk of travel and lodging, especially during these uncertain times.” “This ULTIMATE training event brings quality training to the comfort and safety of your shop…

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  • What’s Required for PPP Loan Forgiveness? A Lot!

    “The PPP loan forgiveness process doesn’t happen automatically,” explained Brad Mewes of Supplement Advisory, during ASA’s November 11th Webinar Wednesday presentation on “Taxation and PPP Loan Forgiveness.” Attendees learned about common mistakes in PPP tax planning and loan forgiveness, as well as ways to potentially reduce their taxes. As he began his presentation, Mewes emphasized, “We’re on a mission to help as many business owners as we can survive this crisis.” “The foundation of avoiding costly mistakes comes down to proper planning. Adjustments for forgiveness are made in increments of 10%, so planning is crucial because small percentage changes can result in large monetary increases,” he added, posing the question,…

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  • Insider Threats Pose Greater Risk Than Cyberattacks

    With many companies utilizing more remote workforce strategies, recent months have exposed a variety of risks within workplaces that should be considered. Chris Jones, Cybersecurity Director at DELL Technologies discussed “Remote Threats:  Inside Risks and the Remote Work Paradigm” during ASA’s Bonus Webinar Wednesday on August 27th, sharing “strategies to protect your company, your employees, your customers and your bottom line.” Jones began by quoting Dr. Larry Poneman, Chairman of the Ponemon Institute: “We discovered in our research that insider threats are not viewed as seriously as external threats, like a cyberattack. But when companies had an insider threat, in general, they were much more costly than external incidents. This…

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  • Protect Customers and Employees with Touchless Payments

    During Kukui’s 2020 Virtual Conference, Shane Bonno of 360 Payments discussed “Touch-less Payments” as it pertains to interaction points while accepting payments. In addition to fears related to the spread of COVID-19, modern customers prefer remote payment options such as Text-to-Pay. Bonno stressed, “It’s your responsibility to protect your employees and your customers. How will you adapt to the new normal? Right now, you need to do everything you can to ensure everyone’s safety. The world is an ever-evolving place, and it can be difficult to decipher what’s the latest and greatest technology, and what’s going to be right for your business. One thing we can always count on is…

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  • NY Shop Reopens After Self-Imposed COVID-19 Shutdown

    When New York Governor Andre Cuomo closed schools on March 16th to prevent the continued spread of COVID-19 in one of the country’s hardest hit regions, Frog Hollow Collision in Bethpage, NY closed its doors for over six weeks. The decision was made by owner Anthony DeMieri whose goal was protecting his employees, his customers, and his own family from the virus. On May 4th, Frog Hollow Collision reopened to a whole new world. Prior to reopening, DeMieri shared his fears with Autobody News readers: “It’s terrifying to know that everything I’ve worked for could be gone when we reopen. I may not be reopening to what I had; I…

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  • Vo-Techs Promote Collision Programs in a Virtual World: WAC Meeting

    During the August 19th meeting of Women in Automotive and Collision (WAC), held via Zoom, Sally Difani, Administrator of Partnerships and Instructors, Special School District, North and South Tech, spoke about current enrollment numbers, automotive education instructors’ plans for remote learning this fall, and how the schools are promoting recruitment efforts virtually. According to Shelly Jones, President of WAC, “We learned how schools are promoting their programs in a virtual world and to learn more about a Collision national pilot program. The speakers were awesome, which led to really good conversations. The schools that spoke said enrollment is good this year, including more female students. Teachers shared ideas and resources…

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  • AASPI Holds Slightly Modified Golf Outing in 2020

    On September 3rd, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Illinois (AASPI) held its annual golf outing, though this year’s event was “slightly modified,” according to AASPI Executive Director Brian Wojcicki. “While Illinois like most of the nation has certain requirements and recommendations for gatherings, the golf course was great to work with and members were understanding. Sponsors and suppliers were still able to exhibit and connect with golfers out on the course, and we were ultimately able to provide an opportunity for the industry to come together in a safe, enjoyable day.” The 18-hole golf outing was held at Old Orchard Country Club in Mt. Prospect, Ill. and attracted…

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  • Kinderhook Adds Original One Parts to Collision Industry Portfolio

    Kinderhook Industries, the private equity firm that owns asTech and ProCare Automotive & Collision, announced its purchase of Original One Parts, which “represents Kinderhook’s 86th acquisition in the automotive aftermarket,” according to Kinderhook’s June 4th release. Paul Cifelli, Managing Director at Kinderhook, stated, “We have followed Original One Parts’ story since its inception and are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Wade and Jerry as the Company embarks on its next stage of growth. Original One Parts has developed an innovative business model, with a proven track record of success, that has the potential to significantly ‘bend the cost curve’ of vehicle repair in the US. We are…

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  • AASP-MO: A Little Thing Like a Global Pandemic Can’t Cancel Christmas

    By Chasidy Rae Sisk Most automotive and collision repair events scheduled for 2020 were postponed or canceled, and although AASP-MO members have been unable to meet for six months, the association refuses to let COVID-19 ruin the holidays. Ron Reiling, Executive Director of AASP-MO, explained, “Due to coronavirus rules, we won’t be able to enjoy our annual Christmas social and toy collecting like we have in the past, but we can’t let a little thing like a global pandemic cancel Christmas and the annual AASP-Missouri U.S. Marines Toys for Tots toy drive!” “Our Toys for Tots Chairman Doug Slattery, President of ATI, is going above and beyond to make the…

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  • Spot Welder Donation Helps Paulding County High School Kick Off Collision Program Start Up

    By Chasidy Rae Sisk As schools gear up for the next year of learning in a brand-new world, Paulding County High School in Dallas, Georgia will be unveiling a brand-new program for collision repair education. According to Leroy Goodwin, automotive program instructor for the past six years, “This is the first time ever that we’ve been able to teach collision repair in Paulding County. Our students were graduating without any experience in auto body repair, and when we polled students, we found that there was plenty of interest. They can’t wait to get started!” Students at Paulding County High School will begin with one year of a basic introduction to…

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  • SBA Clarifies Guidance on PPP, Issues Forgiveness Application

    By Chasidy Rae Sisk When Congress passed the CARES Act near the end of March, there was a lot of optimism about how the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) could benefit collision repair shops and other small businesses. Unfortunately, a lack of guidance on the forgivable portion of the PPP and a shortage of funds have since dimmed many people’s hopes. The SBA has responded by issuing clarification and additional guidance on the PPP program as well as an application for forgiveness that details the exact parameters that must be met to avoid repayment. The SBA had originally vowed, on April 28, to audit…

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  • Psychologist Provides Tips for Shop Owners and Employees to Cope in Distressing Times

    By Chasidy Rae Sisk Rachael Bell, MS, MS, LPC, of Bell & Associates, LLC explored how shop owners and employees can cope with the depression and anxiety that may be exacerbated during distressing situations, such as the circumstances where many people have found themselves in 2020. During the June 18th Shop Owner Success webinar from Kukui, hosted by Jimmy Lea, Bell discussed maintaining mental health and how stressors can impact shop owners, their employees and their businesses. “These are very challenging times,” Bell began. “On top of the COVID-19 pandemic and the social unrest, being a shop owner adds to that anxiety. It’s important to learn how to cope in…

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  • How to Drive Sales with Contactless Service Explained by Jamie Cuthbert of AutoServe1

    “The key to succeeding in this market is to deliver ‘contactless’ or ‘touchless’ service fast. The customer drops off the vehicle outside. The shop inspects the vehicle, sends a digital inspection report, gets approval, does the work, takes mobile payment, and returns the car. Contactless service delivered,” AutoServe1 Founder and President Jamie Cuthbert expressed in his “Contactless Service” presentation during Kukui’s 2020 Virtual Conference. Cuthbert began by explaining that increasing sales is the best way to drive up profits in a short amount of time. Citing the “Exceptional Company” research conducted by Deloitte Research, he shared the three rules that govern how exceptional companies think: Better before cheaper. Be known…

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  • Don’t Gamble with Counterfeit Parts!

    Most collision repair facilities utilize original, aftermarket, recycled and reconditioned parts, but with concerns about parts sourcing increasing in proportion to the influx of repair jobs needed, many industry professionals are concerned about the potential hazards of receiving counterfeit parts in lieu of what is requested. Counterfeit parts, which are willfully misrepresented by the supplier in terms of material, performance or other characteristics, are dangerous because they may not function as the OEM equivalent was intended, causing hard to the vehicle occupants as well as others on the road. Tracing the percentage of counterfeit parts is extremely difficult, according to the Automotive Anti-Counterfeiting Council (A2C2) during a recent VeriFacts Guild…

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  • Earn Her Business: A Guide to the Female Consumer for Collision Repair Shops

    “You have to look at the female as a consumer and recognize the differences between men and women – why do men buy compared to why do women buy,” said Katie Mares, Author, Keynote Speaker, and Brand Experience Expert, during ASA’s Bonus Webinar Wednesday on June 3, entitled “Earning Her Business: A Guide to the Female Customer.” Mares discussed women’s impact on businesses, the physiological differences between men and women, and how to provide the connect that women crave as well as how to cultivate a culture that female employees want to work in. Women are the biggest consumers and chief purchasers in most households, influencing 90% of household purchases,…

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  • DCR Systems Shops Offer Complimentary Clean-Up for Healthcare Workers

    July 2020 – To express gratitude to front-line healthcare workers who are risking their lives to care for patients of COVID-19 and other ailments, DCR Systems LLC joined the “Freshen Up the Front Lines” initiative. Since May 5th, DCR shops are offering complimentary clean-up for healthcare workers. The Collision Center in Rockland, Massachusetts recently explained the initiative in a Facebook post: “To show our appreciation [for healthcare workers], we want to clean up your ride, for nothing! For all you do, this one is for you… a complimentary clean up and sanitization of your vehicle. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!” On May 5th, DCR’s Arynne Giarrizzo joined…

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  • ATI’s Keith Manich Discusses the Opportunity for Mechanical and Collision Shop Synergy for ADAS

    By Chasidy Rae Sisk Identifying a general increase in the use of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), ATI’s Keith Manich proposed that there is great opportunity for collision and mechanical repair shop synergy during Kukui’s 2020 Virtual Conference. Exploring “The Opportunity for Mechanical & Collision Shop Synergy,” Manich stated, “In the case of mechanical repairs, requirements may include calibrations because of part removal and replacement without collision damage. With collision-damaged vehicles, scanning and calibrations are needed on minor impacts as identified by the OEMs.” “Dealership knowledge is currently limited,” Manich continued. “Insurers, the third-party payers, are reluctant to pay for scanning unless it can be proven to be ‘accident-related’ in…

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  • Changing of the Guard: IGONC Welcomes New Executive Director

    After 15 years of serving as the Executive Director of the Independent Garage Owners of North Carolina (IGONC), industry veteran Bob Pulverenti has announced his retirement, effective August 1st. Although Pulverenti intends to continue with IGONC as a consultant on special projects, he’s ready for retirement: “After 50 years in the industry, I just felt it was the right time to leave. Many executive directors stay on too long and are ultimately fired. I wanted to leave the position on my own terms. After I take a few months off, I’d love to get involved with professional motorsports.” Tricia Sauls, formerly IGONC’s Associate Executive Director, will be stepping into the…

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  • St. Louis Collision Industry Ventures Out for MV-TAP Golf Outing

    Nearly 50 collision repair professionals, along with jobbers and educators, gathered for the MV-TAP Golf Outing at Meramec Lakes Golf Course in St. Clair, MO, on July 8th, to support the collision repair training programs at several local vo-tech schools. According to MV-TAP Secretary Gene Slattery, “We had a good turnout, and although it was very hot and humid, we had a great time. This was our first get-together since January when the coronavirus took our lives over.” The 2020 MV-TAP Golf Outing generated nearly $3200, and proceeds benefit the collision repair programs at North Tech, South Tech, Lewis & Clark Career Center, and Ranken Technical College. “The golfers were great and…

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  • Control and Protect Shop and Personal Information from Cybercriminals

    As technology advances, cybercriminal attacks evolve, necessitating the creation of new cybersecurity methods. In May, David Willett, underwriting value creation executive at ProSight Specialty Insurance, alluded to his involvement with beta testing a new risk management tool, and he agreed to share more details: “ShadowNet measures beacons that are transmitted while using certain applications. I believe that everyone in the collision and automotive industries need this level of protection because they are exactly the type of people who are targeted by cybercriminals.” Willett was joined by his “favorite cyber security engineer,” Jeff Stull, founder and CEO of RiskAnalytics, which manufactures ShadowNet. “The cyber security landscape mirrors history – the bad…

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  • Collision Edge Creates Visual Cling to Help Shops Control COVID Cleaning and Disinfection

    Collision Edge announced the development of a new visual window cling in mid-May, designed to help shops document the processes completed on a vehicle as it pertains to cleaning and disinfecting for COVID-19. The company released a Facebook video on May 19, explaining the new product which was designed to help shop owners, their employees and their customers feel safe. Shops can be certain that all necessary processes related to COVID-19 sanitization have been completed by using the 6” by 6” window cling. According to the CDC, “Thorough cleaning is required before high-level disinfection and sterilization because inorganic and organic materials that remain on the surfaces of instruments interfere with…

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  • IGONC’s “Don’t Panic, Pivot!” Focuses on Marketing Strategies for the Rest of 2020

    On May 19, the Independent Garage Owners of North Carolina (IGONC) hosted a Zoom discussion on the topic of innovating vs. surviving with PJ Leslie of Tekmetric and Autoshop Solution’s Tony Mercury explaining “Don’t Panic, Pivot!” Nearly 30 automotive and collision repair industry professionals logged in to learn about marketing strategies for the rest of 2020 and ways to stay ahead of the curve. Mercury began by encouraging attendees to continue marketing. “Take advantage of less saturated marketplaces by being active and engaging on social media. Use videos to demonstrate your sanitization and social distancing processes. Make sure you keep your marketing budget; reallocating it to a different medium is…

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  • Blue Ridge Community College Expands Collision Repair Program with ARC Grant and Support from Local I-CAR Committee

    Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC), located in Henderson and Transylvania counties in North Carolina, was recently awarded a transportation program grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), a regional economic development agency dedicated to innovating, partnering and investing to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia. According to Joe Shook, M.A. Ed., Dean of Advanced Technologies for BRCC, “We have a very robust transportation program, and collision repair is a large part of that.” The total ARC grant funding that BRCC will receive totals $589,000, and around half of that is specifically earmarked for the school’s collision repair program, but a large portion of the amount left over…

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  • AASP-MO State President Runs for State Legislature

    AASP-Missouri State President Mike Moehlenkamp (D), of Gary’s Auto Service in Florissant, MO, has announced that he will be running for the State House of Representatives for District 68, against incumbent Representative Jay Mosley (D). In a video announcing his candidacy, Moehlenkamp promised, “I am honored to announce my candidacy for the Missouri House of Representatives, 68th District. I will work hard every day to represent you and your interests. I’ll listen to understand the issues that are important to you and your neighbors, and I’ll take your input to Jefferson City and work to sponsor legislation that makes a difference.” “I want to stabilize the neighborhood by working to…

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  • Rick White of 180BIZ Provides IGONC with Virtual Advice for “Dealing with the Virus Crisis”

    On April 21st, the Independent Garage Owners of North Carolina (IGONC) hosted a webinar featuring Rick White of 180BIZ who discussed “Dealing with the Virus Crisis.” Held virtually in order to respect the requirements of social distancing, the meeting provided tips and information for running a shop during this stressful time. Over two dozen industry professionals tuned in to share their thoughts and ideas with their peers. Associate Executive Director Tricia Sauls welcomed attendees and shared some association announcements before introducing White who began by stating, “Right now, we’re in a situation that has never before happened, and it can really rock your world. This has changed how folks feel…

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  • Getting to Know WIN’s 2020 Most Influential Women

    The Women’s Industry Network (WIN®) recently announced that three collision repair industry professionals will be honored as Most Influential Women (MIW) in 2020. Although WIN’s 2020 Educational Conference has been cancelled due to the coronavirus, the association plans to recognize these women within the next year. Originally established by AkzoNobel in 1999 and taken on by WIN in 2013, the MIW program aims to recognize women whose leadership, vision and commitment to excellence have enriched the collision repair industry. “It is an honor to recognize these three women this year as the Most Influential Women in the Collision Repair Industry,” said Marie Peevy, President Automotive Training Coordinators, a 2018 MIW…

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  • Richard Flint Teaches WIN Members to Have the Great Year of Their Lives

    On Tuesday, February 11, the Women’s Industry Network (WIN®) hosted its first webinar of 2020, featuring Richard Flint who discussed “Having the Greatest Year of Your Life.” Flint focused on the three D’s: Desire, Determination and Discipline, which “build the foundation to having your greatest year ever!” Flint said. Flint began the webinar by talking about how much he enjoyed presenting at the 2019 WIN Educational Conference and how he’d been looking forward to the webinar. “During this year, your life is going to go in four different directions, and one will determine how your year goes.” The four possible directions are growth, maintenance, retreat and self-destruction. Regarding growth, Flint…

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  • ABAC March Meeting Featured Local Tech School Department Head and LiftNow Presentation

    On March 10th, the Auto Body Association of Connecticut (ABAC) held a membership meeting at the Seasons Restaurant in East Haven, CT with nearly 100 attendees. The meeting commenced with ABAC President Bob Amendola expressing gratitude to sponsors and welcoming new association members. “Please consider them when making your decisions to purchase anything that they offer. Remember to support those who support you,” he said. Attorney John Parese provided a legislative update regarding a recent Rhode Island law entitling consumers to OEM parts during the first four years of the vehicle’s life. Parese explained, “The ABAC sought to do something similar. Unlike Rhode Island’s law, which seemed to give insurers…

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  • Auto Care Association Hosts Informative Virtual Town Hall on COVID-19 and the Auto Care Industry as an “Essential Service”

    On March 25, the Auto Care Association (ACA) hosted a virtual town hall entitled “COVID-19 and the Auto Care Industry as an ‘Essential Service’” to address the daily disruptions to operations that the automotive and collision industries are experiencing as a result of the ongoing pandemic and the resulting government regulations. Auto Care’s Stacey Miller summarized the intention of the webinar and introduced Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association. Hanvey welcomed attendees to “our new reality, or virtual reality as it were,” noting that he’s been encouraged by the amount of collaboration within the automotive, collision and auto care industries over the past couple weeks as…

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  • CIECA Founder Erick Bickett Predicts Next Ten Years of Collision Repair

    by Chasidy Rae Sisk CIECA’s June 30th CIECAstfeaturedErick Bickett, the founder of CIECA and the past CEO and co-founder of ACAB Automotive Group and FixAuto USA,who presented”Back to the Future of Collision Repair & How CIECA Brings All Industry Segments Together.” Paul Barry, executive director of CIECA, kicked off the webinar by welcoming attendees and introducing Bickett. “Today, we’re going to talk about the technological advancements that have powered much of the change over past years,” Bickett began. “I believe you can look back to predict the future; wisdom comes from experience.” Traveling back to 1991, Bickett recounted the early days of DRPs, when shops were required to subscribe to…

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  • Frank Terlep Explains Test Drives Done Right During Webinar Introducing Test Drive CoPilot™ Platform

    On March 19, long-time collision repair industry professional Frank Terlep presented an introductory webinar to the TestDrive CoPilot™ Platform, entitled “Test Drives Done Right! A New and Better Way to Perform, Manage, Document and Get Paid for Test Drives.” In addition to demonstrating how the platform operates, Terlep’s goal during the webinar was to introduce attendees “to the best way to perform, manage, document and get reimbursed for test drives.” After sharing his experiences and successes in the collision repair industry, beginning in the 1980s, Terlep explained why the Test Drive CoPilot Platform presents a realistic return on investment. “Test drives are becoming more complicated due to advanced technology in…

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  • March CIECAst Features Information on Swagger, OpenAPI Technical Tools

    The March CIECAst webinar, presented on Tuesday, March 17, featured Michael Ortega, senior director of Application Development at Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc. (IAA). Ortega discussed effective collaboration using the right technical tools, including Swagger, OpenAPI. CIECA Executive Director Ed Weidmann welcomed attendees and introduced Ortega who presented “The Key to Collaboration: Combining Technology and Communication.” During the webinar, Ortega strove to help information technology leaders better understand the Swagger, OpenAPI interfaces, including when to use this technology and how to align company teams. IAA “really sees technology as an enabler,” according to Ortega. “We drive to innovate to enhance efficiency in what we do every day and deliver value to…

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  • WIN Discusses 2020 Hiring Trends in the Collision Repair Industry

    On March 11, the Women’s Industry Network (WIN®) held a regional event in Fairlawn, OH, offering an informative presentation in collaboration with BodyShop Business, who hosted the event at Babcox Media’s headquarters and presented results from its recent nationwide study of tomorrow’s technicians. This was the first WIN event to ever be streamed live on Facebook as panelists explored why techs choose a collision repair career, what their priorities are when thinking of a career, and why women are becoming a significant presence in the industry. WIN Chair Cheryl Boswell kicked things off by welcoming attendees and thanking the event hosts. She introduced attendees to WIN as an organization, sharing…

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