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TCRA Welcomes Josh Kent as Executive Director, Establishes Interim Board of Directors

Printed in Autobody News

The Tennessee Collision Repairers Association (TCRA) was established in 2007 but has hit a lull in recent years. That’s about to change with the appointment of Josh Kent as the association’s executive director. “I heard from some Tennessee shops that they needed an association, and when I reached out to [TCRA admin coordinator] Georgia Thorson, I volunteered to help out,” Kent said.

Kent has served as the executive director of NCACAR and SCACAR since the associations were founded four and two years ago, respectively, until the groups combined to become the Carolinas Collision Association (CCA) earlier this year. CCA and TCRA will continue to operate separately with Kent extending his obligations to include TCRA.

According to Kent, “It’s no secret that I’ve never worked at a shop, but I attend events and training classes to ensure I know what’s most relevant to the industry right now. Most importantly, I bring passion and drive to this new role with TCRA as well as my experience with CCA which has grown to nearly 100 members. I have a lot of ideas to bring to TCRA. Because I’m not working in a body shop all day, it’s easier for me to build the association up than it would be for a shop owner attempting to run their business and the association.”

This claim is substantiated by the fact that, in just two weeks, TCRA’s membership has nearly tripled. Because of the geography of Tennessee, attempts at collaboration have previously been unsuccessful, but although TCRA has been focused on the western portion of the state in  the past, Kent hopes to unite the state by organizing educational classes, quarterly meetings, chapter meetings and “anything we can do to help shops be better. We need to establish our mission and our by-laws for TCRA, and then we want to set up trade show, consumer and legal committees. We are going to have meetings in all parts of the state because we want TCRA to offer statewide coverage.”

In order to secure Kent’s appointment and to move forward with strengthening the association, TCRA also appointed an interim board. JMark Smith of JMark Smith Body Shop will serve as president, Debbie Haxton of Dentsmart, Inc. will fill the role of vice president, David White from David White Body Shop is acting as treasurer, and Georgia Thorson from Refinish Distributors Alliance is TCRA’s secretary. Five members-at-large were also appointed: Andy Spence of Mitchell’s Body Shop; Randy Todd from Todd’s Body Shop; John Baker of Wallace Collision; Jerry Dalton from Dalton Collision Centers; and Graham Adams of Harper Collision.

TCRA was incorporated, established and originally operated by Bob Mitchell of Mitchell’s Body Shop.

For now, Kent and the board are focused on building TCRA’s foundation since they cannot host meetings due to COVID-19, but once they are able to gather, they plan to host a series of meetings around the state. “Our focus is on fixing vehicles correctly to ensure the customer has a safe vehicle. TCRA will provide training to show shops how to document repairs and protect their shops from liability concerns. We also want to be a resource for consumer education and develop a plan to support the trade schools offering collision repair programs.”

Kent has received much of his industry education at the hands of other association leaders, and he believes, “We all can, and should, work together to accomplish some really big things for our industry. We need to get on the same page, combine our resources and work together, even as we work individually within our organizations. This industry is getting tougher, and shops needs to come together to share their voice; this industry needs to amplify its voice because it’s not loud enough, and that’s exactly what TCRA hopes to do in Tennessee.”

For more information on TCRA, visit mytcra.com.