SHOP AND PRODUCT
SHOWCASE TOOLS // TECHNIQUES // TESTIMONIALS
June 2020 // autobodynews.com Brought to you by:
Inside this Issue: Accudraft
Auto Body Concepts
Gainesville, TX & Ardmore, OK
Island Fender Honolulu, HI
Automotive Art Paints
Pimentel Innovations Hayward, CA
CCC Information Services
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Newell’s Auto Body, Inc. Decatur, IL
Ed’s Custom Collision
Spanesi Americas 24-25
Kapa’s Auto Body
USI of North America
MobileSoft Technology Superior Replacement
Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes
Matrix Edge Mill Village, PA
SATA Dan-Am Company
Mill Run Collision Center
Crash Champions Collision Repair
Rick Worley & Son, Inc.
Schoonover Bodyworks and Glass Shoreview, MN
Version EX Auto Body
CARSTAR Waldron’s Auto Body
Hall Buick GMC Collision Center
Axalta Coating Systems
Rick’s Auto Body, Inc
Network N k1S Solutions l i
Manuel Collision Center
Sonny’s Collision Specialists Ozone Park, NY
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Auto Body Concepts Guarantees “Best of the Best” for Clients with Accudraft Paint Booths Auto Body Concepts
by Autobody News Staff
Crossing state lines between its two locations in Texas and Oklahoma, Auto Body Concepts must comply with each state’s requirements and ensure clients in both markets are pleased with the high-quality repairs the shops perform. “The main thing that sets our shop apart from others is our dedication to our customers,” said Dan Ott, owner. “We aren’t here for the insurance companies or the tow companies—we are here for our customers, first and foremost. We are a local business, so these are our neighbors, friends and family, and we treat them as such.” In order to guarantee customer satisfaction on each repair, Ott understands he must invest in the industry’s most advanced tools and equipment, such as Car-O-Liner frame and welding equipment and Accudraft Italia downdraft paint booths, installed in both facilities. “We only use the best of the best for our clients,” Ott said. Ott and his wife, Wendy, began using Accudraft’s paint booths in 2012 after touring other shops that used the product. “The shop owners had great things to say about it, so we purchased and installed the booths in our shops,” Ott said. “Accudraft made the purchase and installation easy and efficient. Everything was installed properly and worked well from our first use.” According to Ott, the painters at Auto Body Concepts “really like the booth because it is very clean, efficient, and their final product is excellent.” “In fact, Sherwin Williams uses the Accudraft booths to train technicians, so they use the same equipment in training that we use here,” Ott said. “I think it speaks very highly of the company when Sherwin Williams uses their equipment for training purposes.” Ott said the Accudraft paint booths have drastically increased productivity. “The drying time is cut to 45 minutes, saving us several hours, because we use the Accudraft Xcelerator Fans. We also do not have to use heavy cleaners and solvents any longer because we use the Sherwin Williams WaterBorne 9K Ultra paint,” he said. By using Accudraft’s downdraft paint booths in conjunction with the Ultra 9K paint line, Auto
Location: Gainesville, TX & Ardmore, OK (940) 668-1300 Texas location (580) 319-4742 Oklahoma location www.autobodyconcepts.net
Dan Ott, owner of Auto Body Concepts, has enjoyed increased productivity and an excellent finish since installing Accudraft’s paint booths.
Body Concepts has drastically reduced its emissions and impact on the environment. “We use Waterborne paint with PPS liners to filter out contaminants and to cut down on waste, and because we use Waterborne paint, we don’t have to use as much chemical cleaning product,” Ott said. “We recycle all cardboard, plastic and metal waste from our shop. We strive to have the cleanest environmental footprint possible with a 96% green rating.” Ott grew up in the Cooke County body shop his father owned and operated for 52 years. He founded Auto Body Concepts in Gainesville, TX, in 2002, and in 2012, he opened his second location in Ardmore, OK. Between both facilities, 35 collision repair professionals restore nearly 200 vehicles per month to their pre-accident condition, and the shops participate in 18 DRP relationships. In addition to employing I-CAR Platinum technicians, Auto Body Concepts is I-CAR Gold Class, I-MAC and ASE Certified, plus they are certified to spray with Sherwin-Williams and have received OEM certifications from Kia, Ford, Hyundai, FCA, Dodge, Chrysler, Ram, Jeep, Fiat, GM and Nissan. Auto Body Concepts consistently invests in training and education because it’s so important to Ott repairs exceed customer expectations. “We walk each customer through the insurance claim process from start to finish,” Ott said. “We set up rentals for them, help contact insurance companies and explain the repair process. “We provide free loaner cars
for customers who do not have rental coverage, and we offer free concierge service to take customers home, to the rental location or back to work,” he said. “We will also pick them up and set up towing assistance if necessary. We detail every vehicle before it leaves the shop, regardless of how large or small the job is.” Ott expects the same consideration when he’s the customer in the relationship, and his Accudraft distributor, Chris Curran of EcoTech Systems, has delivered. “The customer service is excellent—Chris Curran has been phenomenal!” Ott said. “Any time we have even the smallest issue, he is at the shop that day to make it right. We couldn’t ask for a better customer service/sales rep.” “We were thrilled that Car-OLiner Southwest and Sherwin Williams were so impressed with the quality and efficiency of our Accudraft paint booths that they recommended a top-tier company like Auto Body Concepts to us,” Curran said. “Their focus on quality and commitment to exceeding customers’ expectations is what sets Auto Body Concepts apart, and we are proud to be a partner in that.” Overall, Ott is confident he made a superb business decision when he invested in Accudraft’s paint booths. “There is no comparison between what we have used in the past and what Accudraft does for us,” Ott said. “We save time and money, and our customer satisfaction rating speaks for itself. We are extremely pleased with the Accudraft Italia downdraft paint booths.”
Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair Facility Employees: 35 In Business Since: 2002 Number of Locations: Two DRP Programs: 18 Combined Production Space: 55,000 square feet
Founded in 2002, Auto Body Concepts promises clients the “best of the best,” which is why Ott’s two facilities utilize Accudraft Italia downdraft paint booths.
Auto Body Concepts’ customer focus extends to the local communities they serve in Texas and Oklahoma, and the shop has always been a large supporter of local charities, schools and churches.
Accudraft 961 Rt. 10 E, Ste 2K Randolph, NJ 07869 (800) 524-0340 x112 Info@accudraftpaintbooths.com www.accudraftpaintbooths.com
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83-Year-Old Shop Increases Net Profit with AkzoNobel’s Acoat Selected Performance Group and Autowave® Island Fender
by Autobody News Staff
Since 1937, Island Fender has been providing high-quality collision repairs to Honolulu, HI, and the surrounding area. Using the latest technology in collision repair, framework, alignment and painting, Island Fender offers superior workmanship and service. Owner Van Takemoto said the key ingredient to his shop’s success is his involvement with AkzoNobel’s Acoat Selected Performance Group. “The Acoat Selected Performance Group helped me build my body shop from $50,000 monthly sales to $250,000 and increased our net profit,” Takemoto said. “With the profit generated from the shop, we were able to invest in the real estate instead of paying rent. Over the years, the cash flow from the shop and real estate investments have continued to increase.” Takemoto’s father, Takeo, and uncle, Harry, founded Island Fender more than 80 years ago, beginning their auto body business by repairing cars in the garage behind their house. Van Takemoto began working in the shop when he was in school; he began running the business in 1980, officially assuming ownership in 1992. In the early 1980s, Takemoto attended the International Autobody Conference in Stuttgart, Germany, as part of his ongoing efforts to ensure Island Fender performs the safest repairs possible. After the conference, AkzoNobel hosted a tour, taking U.S. attendees to Holland to introduce its Sikkens paint line. It didn’t take long for Takemoto to realize Sikkens was the missing component to running a more successful collision repair business. “At that time, the industry was using lacquers, and the more progressive shops were using acrylic enamel,” Takemoto said. “Sikkens acrylic urethane was so much better and more advanced than anything else available in the United States at that time. I knew it was the right fit for Island Fender.” During the trip to Holland, AkzoNobel also took attendees on a tour to visit Acoat Selected shops. “Acoat’s business consulting for body shop customers was such a great concept for successful, well-managed body shops,”
Location: Honolulu, HI (808) 592-8757 www.islandfender.com
Island Fender’s painters love spraying with Sikkens Autowave® paint system because it’s so easy to apply a flawless finish. (Pictured: Jaron Abran, paint and body trainee and newest member of the Island Fender team.)
Takemoto said. “I knew then that Sikkens was the partner I needed, not only for the quality of paint, but more importantly for their Acoat Selected Performance Group that develops the management skills necessary to grow my business.” Island Fender boasts a 9,000square foot production space, where its 11 employees repair damaged vehicles, but the shop’s emphasis on safe and proper repairs is what makes it stand out from other shops in the area. The shop is OEM-certified by more than a half dozen manufacturers, and the technicians performing the repairs are also educated on OEM procedures and certified accordingly. “Vehicle technology is moving at an exponential rate, making collision repair much more complex and requiring technician training and OE repair research on every repair,” Takemoto said. “At Island Fender, all repairs are done to OE repair procedures. OE research is done on every repair, and we save the documents for our repair file,” he said. “Preand post-repair scans are conducted on every repair, and no aftermarket parts are used.” Looking forward to the future of the collision repair industry, Takemoto predicted OE repair procedures will require substantial investment in equipment and training. “As we move forward, there will be fewer shops able to make the investment to repair the cars of today and the future,” he said. Takemoto also believes it is important to monitor outside factors that impact the collision repair industry, which is why he stays in-
volved with his local association, the Automotive Body and Painting Association of Hawaii, where he has served as a past president. He also assists with lobbying activities to ensure that new legislation will not have a negative impact on the Hawaiian industry. Island Fender also takes its role seriously when it comes to protecting the environment for future generations. The shop invested in skylights, eliminating electrical lighting 80% of the time. Additionally, Island Fender’s painters spray with Sikkens Autowave® waterborne paint system, which delivers excellent color accuracy, ease of application, superior coverage, fadeout and cost effectiveness, allowing shops like Island Fender to contribute to the conservation of the environment without sacrificing quality and customer service. “Being the first shop in Hawaii to start using Sikkens, we were able to deliver a much higher quality paint finish than our competitors,” Takemoto said. “Sikkens was so much better than what existed in the U.S. market. It was night and day. Both quality and productivity at Island Fender increased greatly. My employees love Sikkens’ Autowave paint system.” Still, Takemoto feels the largest impact to Island Fender results from his decision to join AkzoNobel’s Acoat Selected Performance Group. “We would not be where we are today as a business without the support that we have gotten from AkzoNobel in terms of both product development and the availability of technical and business support,” he said.
Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair Facility Employees: 11 In Business Since: 1937 Number of Locations: One DRP Programs: One Combined Production Space: 9,000 square feet
Van Takemoto took ownership of Island Fender in 1992 and credits the growth of his business to his involvement with AkzoNobel’s Acoat Selected Performance Group. (Pictured: Kiana Abran, customer service; Thomas Uyeda, repair process manager; Camille Phillips, process auditor/manager.)
Sikkens Autowave® boosts the quality of repairs at Island Fender by providing excellent color matching and coverage. (Pictured: Technician Kalvene Lorenzo mixes paint.)
AkzoNobel 1845 Maxwell Drive Troy, MI 48084 www.akzonobel.com
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Precision Diagnostics Calls Upon Autel to Succeed Precision Diagnostics
by Autobody News Staff
For years, automotive diagnostics were a practical in-house function. A body shop could buy a couple of scanners and use them primarily to clear airbag codes at the conclusion of a repair and perform other basic operations. Today, with an ever-increasing number of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) in all newer vehicles, diagnostics can easily cause nightmares for body shop owners and managers nationwide every night. It’s often the same story — they took the car to the dealership three days ago and now the customer is calling. Shops are now contracting out their automotive diagnostics to companies such as Precision Diagnostics, with two locations in Madison and Milwaukee, WI. Precision Diagnostics features the only full-service OE-compliant calibration center in Wisconsin, and has eight service vehicles to do its mobile work. The company is fully invested in the finest equipment and tools on the market today, as well as hiring some of the top diagnosticians in the country. One of Precision’s main technical partners is Autel, among the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of professional diagnostic tools, equipment and accessories in the automotive aftermarket since 2004. By becoming a collision-sublet partner with body shops of all sizes, Precision Diagnostics has become a one-stop solution for automotive diagnostics and related services. It offers complete Autel technology, OE-compliant ADAS resolutions, module programming, full electronics system diagnostics, 1234YF Refrigerant systems, wiring harness repair, airbag and Tire Pressure Monitoring Service (TPMS) diagnostics, and key and key fob programming. Everything Precision Diagnostics does is with its body shop customers in mind. Chief Operating Officer Tom McGuire has a varied 35-year background within the collision repair industry, managing multi-shop operations (MSOs) for the past decade. He and his partner, David Zielke, have created a company that was designed by collision people for collision people, who realize the impor-
Location: Madison, WI (608) 318-4497 www.precisiondiagnosticsco.com
The team at Precision Diagnostics uses Autel tools to excel for its customers in Wisconsin. (Chief Operating Officer Tom McGuire is second from left and Chief Executive Officer Dave Zielke is third from left.)
tance of placating their insurance partners while also providing them with metrics and driving cycle time and throughput. Leading the way in the collision industry sublet sector, Precision Diagnostics is addressing the common and uncommon sublet requirements of modern collision repair and OEM standards. By becoming “technical partners” with its shops, Precision Diagnostics is becoming an integral part of their businesses. “We’ve removed the barriers and delays associated with diagnostics by ensuring that the very best diagnostics tools are in the hands of a high-level technician,” McGuire said. “Our people are highly experienced, fully trained and focus on customer service.” To effectively serve its ever-growing customer base, Precision Diagnostics’ arsenal includes five full Autel MaxiSYS ADAS Calibration tool packages, nine Autel MaxiSYS MS906TS, two MaxilM IM608 key and remote programming tools, four MA600 Autel Mobile ADAS Calibration System for glasswork and five TS608 TPMS tools. It’s a huge investment in Autel, but McGuire and Zielke didn’t hesitate when the time came to sign on the dotted line. “Autel has exceeded our expectations in every area,” McGuire said. “Their tools and systems have enabled us to actually pull bottlenecks out of shops and really make them so much more efficient. I think we’re raising the bar and changing the game here and Autel is doing the same — so it’s an ideal partnership.” As a collision sublet partner, Precision Diagnostics knows the clock starts ticking the minute a vehicle enters a shop.
“Cycle times are more crucial now than ever,” McGuire said. “We expect our mobile guys to get in and out within one to two hours, and if we need to dig a little deeper, we can transport the car on one of our flatbed trucks to our lab. It’s ideal for shops whose floor is stacked with cars. Once there, we do everything we can to get the job done within 24 to 48 hours max.” When it comes to diagnostic tools, technical support and updates are almost as important as the products themselves, McGuire said. “Autel’s updates happen automatically so that when my techs power on the tools in the morning, they’re ready to receive the updates,” he said. “The Autel tools and systems are extremely interactive and their technical support team is easy to work with. If we ever have any questions, they respond promptly and provide us with the answers we need, so that we can proceed and finish the job.” To stay on the cutting-edge of this industry, Precision Diagnostics knows the importance of working with a company like Autel. “We’re only as good as the tools we’re working with and that’s why we appreciate a company that shares our passion for this industry,” McGuire said. “These cars are changing at a rapid rate, so the information we had yesterday may not be relevant today. We are always looking ahead and by partnering with Autel, our future here is bright.” So, if you’re a shop owner in Wisconsin who keeps waking up in a cold sweat worrying about automotive diagnostics — don’t fret. Precision Diagnostics and Autel are poised and prepared to help by making diagnostics an advantage instead of a liability.
Company At A Glance... Type: Vehicle Diagnostics Facility Employees: 13 In Business Since: 2019 Number of Locations: Two Production Space: 12,000 square feet (combined)
Autel enables Precision Diagnostics to become technical partners with their customers and serve them at a high level.
Autel is an integral part of almost everything Precision Diagnostics does.
Autel 175 Central Avenue Farmingdale, NY 11735 (855) 288-3587 www.Autel.com
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Pimentel Innovations Uses Automotive Art Paints to Create 4-Wheel Masterpieces Pimentel Innovations
by Autobody News Staff
There is no doubt car painters and vehicle restorers are artists just like Picasso, Van Gogh and Andy Warhol. Their creative passions are not displayed on canvas or in clay, but rather on old cars that are brought back to their glory days by creativity and passion. Ryan Pimentel, 40, the owner of Pimentel Innovations in Hayward, CA, has been restoring many of the world’s rarest and most exotic vehicles during his 20-plus years in the field of vehicle restoration. Whether he’s doing a customization, a fresh paint job, some repairs or touch ups or a full restoration, Pimentel is always looking for that next exciting product, while relying on the tried and true products he has used throughout his career. To achieve breathtaking results and wow his customers each and every time, Pimentel has relied heavily on Automotive Art Paints for the past five years. As a global manufacturer and distributor of automotive refinish systems, Automotive Art Paints sells high-performance paint products in 70 countries all over the planet and meets all VOC regulations worldwide. Several of Pimentel’s award-winning vehicles were featured and awarded First In Class at the biggest of them all—Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance, as well as Amelia Island Concours d’ Elegance. He’s well-known for his work on vintage Ferraris and both preand post-war French automobiles, but loves restoring classic American vehicles as well. Pimentel is also known for being a historian about many of the vehicles he restores, and isn’t afraid to learn as much as he can about each car he touches. “We’re constantly researching and developing sources for information or parts because having the right contacts is important in this business. I make certain that all our projects are 100% historically accurate down to the smallest detail,” Pimentel said. “We take the client’s vision and use all of our experience, skills and resources to produce award-winning vehicles.” After attending classes offered by the Eden Valley ROP in Hayward during his junior and se-
Location: Hayward, CA (510) 295-7593 Company At A Glance... Type: Vehicle Restoration Facility Employees: Three In Business Since: 2015 Number of Locations: One Combined Production Space: 12,000 square feet
Pimentel Innovations in Hayward, CA, restores many of the world’s rarest and most exotic vehicles.
nior years, Pimentel landed a job at a high-end restoration company at age 17. “They decided to give me a test by wet sanding a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud,” he said. “It was a job audition and when I passed it, I was so happy, because I thought this is what I want to do.” After learning the trade firsthand and having the opportunity to work on high-end exotic cars for 19 years, Pimentel took a giant leap and established Pimentel Innovations. Business is very good, to say the least. “We have 18 jobs right now and 10 of them are complete restorations,” he said. “I have three combo techs working for me and they’re very talented, but I paint all the vehicles myself.” After spraying a product made by a major manufacturer for a short time, Pimentel was introduced to Automotive Art Paints and hasn’t looked back. “The coverage is very good and the product is ideal for the way I paint,” Pimentel said. “Everyone has their own technique and, in some cases, you have to change to use a certain type of paint. Cars that I painted 20 years ago are still looking great and that’s very satisfying.” Pimentel knows all too well that without solid customer support backed by accurate and timely technical assistance, the product is almost secondary. That’s why he values his relationship with Automotive Art Paints and his distributor, Hayward Color. “If I have a question and I
need some information, they are on it,” he said. “We never run out of anything—basecoats, sealers, fillers, toners, clearcoats—which means we don’t have to stop or slow down.” When it comes to color-matching, Pimentel often creates his own formulas from scratch using the system provided by Automotive Art Paints. “In many cases, I will make a color and then slowly dial it in using their toners, or we can also use their camera to get in the ballpark to start with,” he said. As a responsible business member of the City of Hayward, Pimentel is psyched to be spraying a Low VOC product that is OK in California. “That means a lot to me and something that was important when we began looking for a new paint company to work with,” he said. “Sometimes a customer will request a specific type of paint. But, when we show them cars here at the shop painted with Automotive Art Paints, they often change their minds.” Pimentel is only 40 years old, so he has a lot of career left, but he does want to retire at some point. “I love what I do, so I don’t think I’ll ever stop restoring cars. But I would like to step away at some point and do more traveling with my wife,” he said. Until retirement rolls around, Pimentel will be creating award-winning vehicles for the rich and wealthy. But, most of the traveling he’ll be doing with his wife will be to top-tier car shows all over the world!
Ryan Pimentel and his crew rely on Automotive Art Paints to create vehicles with that “wow” factor.
Pimentel Innovations uses all of the basecoats, sealers, fillers, toners and clearcoats featured by Automotive Art Paints for amazing finishes.
Automotive Art Paints 1361 NW 155th Drive Miami FL 33169 (888) 815-2278 email@example.com www.automotiveartpaints.com
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Rick’s Auto Body Committed to Axalta’s Top Notch Products Rick’s Auto Body Inc.
by Autobody News Staff
The collision repair industry holds a plethora of challenges for body shop owners who intend to deliver high-quality repairs. With OEM certifications rapidly becoming more important and technical, shops like Rick’s Auto Body in Missoula, MT, rely on paint suppliers to remain steadfast and provide value beyond the products they sell. Rick’s Auto Body sprays with Cromax® CHROMAPREMIER®, and owner Paul Flores shares, “We have used Axalta products since the 1990s. They were leading the industry and we wanted to do the same in our market.” “Axalta’s products are top notch, but the business development aspect, especially the business councils, has brought tremendous value to our organization,” Flores added. “Our local rep, Gene Fenske, as well as every Axalta client under his service, has been great to work with. Whenever we had complications with a product, Axalta has helped us navigate the situation as quickly as possible.” Rick’s Auto Body was founded in 1976 by Rick Booth as a part-time business doing total-loss rebuilds, custom painting and restoration work, before he expanded his hours to full-time status in 1979. Over the decades, Booth focused on growing his brand and reputation, until beginning the process of selling the shop to Flores in 2013. He officially retired in 2019 after completing the transaction of selling the entire business to Flores. The shop is an 18,000-square foot facility employing 34 collision repair professionals who repair an average of 200 vehicles each month. In addition, Rick’s Auto Body holds nine DRP contracts and is certified in FCA, Ford, Ford Aluminum, Nissan, Hyundai, Honda ProFirst and Subaru. According to Flores, “I believe our production model sets us apart from other shops. We have dedicated disassembly/blueprint teams, body teams and paint teams. This increases our production capacity and provides greater benefits to our customers in reduced wait times to schedule for repairs and to de-
Location: Missoula, MT (406) 549-5400 www.ricksautobodymissoula.com Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair Facility Employees: 34 In Business Since: 1979 Number of Locations: One DRP Programs: Nine Combined Production Space: 18,000 square feet Rick’s Auto Body has been using Axalta products since the 1990s and can’t imagine wanting to switch brands.
crease repair cycle times.” “Our focus on OEM certifications and providing our customers with OEM certified repairs is important. This involves a heavy commitment to ongoing training, equipping and tooling in every area of the business. Our team is also highly dedicated to improving upon our communication skills—both internally and with our customers and business associates,” Flores said. “OEM certifications are huge. First notice of loss has been captured by insurers; however, advanced telematics will transfer first notice of loss to the OEMs. This has the potential to decrease the value of direct repair programs and put emphasis on OEM certification, or at least bring equal value to the two.” Looking to the future, Flores adds, “I see the potential of the all-makes, all-models type of shop going away. Specialization in the form of OEM certification will be the primary focus. The cost of correctly repairing multiple brands may limit shops to only selecting certifications with the largest OEMs represented in their market place. The threat of liability for repairing a vehicle that you are not approved to repair may also lead to specialization with specific OEMs.” Flores notes, “The landscape’s changing rapidly, and the information necessary for all parties to make the right decision is moving much slower. Access to the necessary information is a road block due to insurers’ unwillingness to
acknowledge the need for the subscription fee. To accurately repair a vehicle, you must access the repair information from the OEM sites, as they are the only ones who have the most up-to-date information. Understanding OEM repair procedures on every repair is also a culture change that requires communication, education, time, patience and a consistent commitment to our technical development.” Rick’s Auto Body is also committed to lessening its impact on the environment through best practice processes and procedures, in addition to using fully integrated UV primers to reduce the amount of coverage necessary to achieve a better quality product. Flores recalls, “We tested new primer products for Axalta in the mid-2000s and then integrated the products into our daily production. Axalta was outstanding in helping us field test, and they continued to provide excellent support if we had any questions when we rolled out for full production. Implementing new Axalta products has traditionally been a seamless process.” The technicians working at Rick’s Auto Body love Cromax® CHROMAPREMIER® because it’s so easy to spray and produces a flawless finish, and their experiences with other Axalta products have also been very favorable. Flores points out, “We’ve been partners too long now to remember anything but Axalta, but with all the benefits they offer, why would we want to?”
Axalta’s flawless finishes allows Rick’s Auto Body to produce superior repairs that keep customers coming back.
Rick’s Auto Body employs 34 collision repair professionals who repair an average of 200 vehicles each month.
Axalta Coating Systems Company Contact: Heidi Stillwell Heidi.firstname.lastname@example.org (610) 358-5353 www.axalta.us
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CARSTAR Owner Shares Vision for Success CARSTAR Waldron’s Auto Body
by Autobody News Staff
Bob Waldron, owner of Waldron’s Auto Body in Marlboro, MA, was among the first shop owners to join the CARSTAR franchise network in 1989. “It’s hard to go it alone. CARSTAR does tons of research and development, and while I must be the driving force behind implementation, what they do for shops is huge — I can’t quantify how greatly it has benefitted my business!” Waldron said. “Joining CARSTAR has given me a wonderful quality of life, and I believe it will someday give me a really good retirement.” Waldron entered the collision repair industry as a votech student in 1975, working in the field part-time after graduation until an opportunity to purchase his own shop presented itself in 1981. “I started as a one-man crew, and it grew from there,” he recalled. In the mid-1980s, Waldron attended courses taught by Lirel Holt of Auto Repair Management Systems (ARMS), and when Holt branched off to found CARSTAR, Waldron was right with him. “Lirel’s classes caught my attention because he was the first one to show us how to manage a body shop. When he founded CARSTAR, I joined the organization because I believed in him,” Waldron said. Waldron’s confidence was not misplaced. With the success enjoyed as a CARSTAR facility and an excellent reputation for customer service, he opened CARSTAR Waldron’s A-1 Auto Body in Lancaster in 2000. In 2010, he added CARSTAR Henna Color Auto Body in Clinton, and CARSTAR Thomas Auto Body joined his list of facilities in 2013. Waldron’s growth hasn’t yet reached its full potential, though. “We have another repair center on the horizon,” he said. Boasting more than 31,000 square feet of combined production space between them, Waldron’s four CARSTAR facilities employ 50 collision repair professionals who repair an average of 350 vehicles each month. The shops are all I-CAR Gold certified, and the shops’ technicians have obtained welding certifications, as well as BASF painting certifications. Waldron’s CARSTAR A-1 Auto Body is Honda/Acura ProFirst cer-
Location: Marlboro, MA (508) 485-9426 www.carstar.com/locations/ma/ marlborough-15010/
Bob Waldron was recognized as a 30-year member of the CARSTAR family during the 2019 Conference in Chicago.
tified and offers aluminum repair as well as storage and towing services. While there are multiple factors contributing to Waldron’s success, he largely credits CARSTAR for his growth into new markets. “As part of the CARSTAR franchise, we have the advantage of better research and development which keeps us well-informed about what’s going on in the industry,” Waldron said. “Insurance companies are more comfortable dealing with us because they know our repairs are backed by corporate, and customers enjoy knowing that CARSTAR offers a nationwide warranty, which the average body shop just can’t match.” As a longtime leader in the collision repair industry, Waldron has seen many changes over the years, mostly on the technology side of the business. “We didn’t have information at our fingertips 30 years ago like we do today. Collision repair consisted of a lot of trial and error, and while we repaired almost everything in the 1980s, replacement is more prevalent today,” he said. “Vehicles have become so hightech and complex that it’s no longer possible to repair them like we used to.” Fortunately, as vehicle technology has advanced, so has access to information as well as the tools and equipment needed to perform safe and proper repairs. Waldron’s shops have stayed abreast of changes in the industry by investing in training through I-CAR and keeping up to date on the equipment necessary to repair modern vehicles. CARSTAR also provides educational opportunities for its franchise partners, and Waldron believes one of the most valuable
benefits they offer is access to their EDGE Performance Groups (EPG.) “The CARSTAR EPG internal groups provide a chance to meet with other owners within the CARSTAR organization multiple times each year,” Waldron said. “The organized format provides an excellent forum for exchanging business practices, seeing how other owners operate their businesses and sharing ideas to benefit the industry as a whole. The networking aspect has also allowed me to develop wonderful longterm friendships with industry professionals around the country, and it’s great knowing I’m not in this alone.” The solidarity and collaboration with other franchise partners, as well as the support received from CARSTAR, has been invaluable to Waldron, and he cannot imagine operating a facility in today’s industry without that foundation upon which he’s grown his business. “Independent shop owners are going to need to align themselves somehow,” Waldron said. “Between developing vendor and insurer relationships, getting referrals, marketing and keeping up with changes in technology, I just don’t know how any individual facility can do it alone these days. “CARSTAR has been really fantastic for me, but it depends on your business model because the purpose is to run your repair center like a business and take advantage of the education and opportunities available in the collision repair industry,” Waldron said. “There are just so many factors that have to be considered— why try to do it alone when the resources of CARSTAR make it so much easier and more effective?”
Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair Facility Employees: 50+ In Business Since: 1981 Number of Locations: Four Combined Production Space: 31,000 square feet
Waldron operates four CARSTAR facilities in Massachusetts.
Waldron with Gary Boesel at the CARSTAR EPG meeting.
CARSTAR (888) 638-5062 www.CARSTARFranchise.com
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CCC ONE® Integration Helps Top Shop Handle Credit Card Payments Schoonover Bodyworks and Glass
by Autobody News Staff
Mike Schoonover, third-generation owner of Schoonover Bodyworks and Glass in Shoreview, MN, is celebrating his company’s 82nd anniversary. When Mike’s grandfather Chuck (aka “Red”) got out of the Navy after the Korean War, he borrowed $50 to start a body shop, and the rest is history. The 50 bucks was all “Red” needed, because damaged vehicles began coming into the tiny one-man shop that first week, and the shop grew every year. In the 1970s, Mike’s father, Dick, took over the business, before passing it on to his son in the early 1980s. Mike had no desire to pursue a livelihood in collision repair after living in that world his entire childhood. But his career path was re-routed along the way, and he ended up back in the family business after bracing for the change. “I was attending the University of Minnesota in Duluth and studying to be an orthodontist, but I realized pretty fast that it wasn’t suited for me,” he said. “Around the same time, my dad called and said he needed help. It was the 1980s and unibody cars were changing the industry, plus the shop was busy, so it seemed like a good time to jump in.” Father and son share a passion for representing their industry by being involved in state trade organizations. “Dad taught me that I should make a difference in this industry by serving in some way,” he said. “We have both been active members and officers in groups like I-CAR and ASC, among others. We feel that it’s an obligation to give back to an industry that has been good to our family for three generations over an 80-year period.” When it comes to any type of new technology, Mike and his father are known as “early adopters.” This means they’re not afraid to use the newest tools, equipment and repair processes on the market, but only if they make good sense for their shop. That’s why Schoonover Bodyworks and Glass began using CCC ONE for all of its daily operations more than a decade ago, he said, and didn’t hesitate when asked to be a test shop for CCC® Payments, their new credit card pro-
Location: Shoreview, MN (651) 483-6756 www.schoonoverbodyworks.com Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair Facility Employees: 16 In Business Since: 1938 Number of Locations: One Combined Production Space: 32,000 square feet Schoonover Bodyworks and Glass in Shoreview, MN, relies on the CCC ONE Payments credit card processing system to save time and increase efficiency.
cessing integration. “We got it late last year and we loved it right away,” Mike said. “As part of a test group, they told us it might have a few hiccups, but it never did. “CCC® Payments simplifies the way we handle customer-to-shop payments through an integration with Clearent, the credit card processor, and they make us look good,” Mike continued. “We have only been using it for six months and it is already our go-to choice for credit card payments. “It has made all of our lives a whole lot easier with things like invoice reconciliation, for example. Before we had it, we had to manually input information, and now CCC® Payments has eliminated a bunch of steps. That’s a big deal, especially when we’re busy.” The front office people at Schoonover Bodyworks, led by Mike’s wife, Gayle, are now able to initiate and reconcile credit card payments within CCC ONE® through Clearent’s credit card payments system, while providing visibility and oversight into its accounting processes. According to CCC’s website, any shop with CCC® Repair Workflow can start accessing the integration immediately after contracting with Clearent to establish a direct processing relationship and to activate their point-of-sale terminal. Once activated, a “Pay Now” button will appear within the CCC ONE® receipts screen, where users can easily initiate the transaction. Payments made through a shop’s
credit card point-of-sale terminal can be assigned to the appropriate repair order and automated reporting flows into CCC ONE, thereby significantly reducing the need for manual reconciliation. With nearly 100% of his transactions being performed via credit cards, streamlining this part of his business was crucial for Mike and his operation, he said. “We are now truly paperless,” he said. “Before, we had issues with different card readers, but this works seamlessly now. We work off of the work order and then we post the final invoice inside the customer file, and when it’s paid, it automatically issues a receipt electronically. We have more control now over our financials, which is essential.” To maintain an impressive 4.9 Google rating and keep the fivestar reviews rolling in, Mike knows customer service and quality have to be paramount. Tools like CCC® Repair Workflow and its new CCC® Payments credit card payment integration with Clearent can help position his business for continued success. “By making all of the processes associated with credit cards seamless for our customers and our front office people,” he said, “we don’t have to input anything manually anymore and it’s really easy to use. “We’re saving a significant amount of time and money while providing a better experience for our customers, while becoming more efficient overall.”
Since almost all of the shop’s transactions involve credit cards, CCC ONE Payments is a valuable tool at Schoonover Bodyworks and Glass.
The shop recently celebrated its 82nd anniversary.
CCC Information Services, Inc. Company Contact: Michael Boeke (877) 208-6155 www.cccis.com
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Equalizer® Glass Tools Help Shop to Say Goodbye to Outside Vendor Manuel Collision Center
by Autobody News Staff
If you’re a body shop owner and in your 30s, then it’s likely your father or grandfather started the shop or you won the lottery. In this case, Arron Manuel, 32, owner of Manuel Collision Center in Ada, OK, didn’t need any assistance when he opened his own shop in 2008 with approximately $11,000 he saved or borrowed. By working for a body shop while still in high school, Manuel was confident he could make the leap to ownership without falling. The timing to open a new shop was unfortunate when the stock market bottomed out and finding a new facility was problematic. “My first shop was at my folks’ house,” Manuel said. “We already had a family shop with two bays, so I doubled it in size and purchased a new paint booth, so I was set. “At first it was just me doing it all—estimating, body work, glass work, parts procurement, painting and customer service. I was good at fixing cars, but didn’t have much experience dealing with customers,” he said. “But after a while, I started liking it and then I hired a painter part-time. Things took off from there and we never looked back. “Once we get a customer, we keep them, and most of our clients came from word of mouth, because we stress service.” In just 12 years, Manuel Collision Center has grown from repairing 80 cars annually to more than 1,200 every year, with 25 employees in a spacious 30,000-square foot facility. Now he has a lot of key people, including his brother, Steven, to help him handle the shop’s operations. “His passion is diving into things such as troubleshooting, analytics and assisting the techs with any problems they may be having,” Manuel said. One area where Manuel regained control and benefited as a result was his glass work. After it became more of a chore than a profit center, he decided to out-
Location: Ada, OK (580) 310-9335
Equipped and adept at using them all, every technician at Manuel Collision Center has their own Equalizer glass tools.
source it. “We decided to sub out our glass work for one to two years, hoping it would make things easier,” Manuel said. “We realized eventually that we could not control the quality and if something went wrong, we’re liable. In some cases, they were doing damage to other components and scratching surfaces.” Luckily, around that same time, Manuel and his brother discovered Equalizer and its Glass Removal Kits. “We began using the Raptor™, an awesome tool,” he said. “So, we brought our glass work back in-house and it’s been good since then. Without the Equalizer tools, we would never have been able to do it all ourselves.” The two Equalizer glass tools that have become integral to Manuel’s production today are the Viper™ and the Ambush™. “We remove and replace a fair number of windshields monthly, so we use these tools a lot and they never let us down,” he said. “The Equalizer® Viper™ is a wire removal device designed for small quarter glass removals, but can also be used on windshields and back glasses,” he said. “It’s small, light and easy to maneuver. It enables us to do our work without damaging the pinch welds or anything else.” Manuel’s techs use a 1/2-in. drive ratchet with a 1-1/8-in. socket slipped over the shaft of the Viper™ to rotate the wire reel. The double direction capability of the reel allows for optimum use, and the magnetic points on the ratchet
shaft ensure the ratchet stays firmly attached to the tool, even in steep/ vertical situations. Equipped and ready to act in a moment, all of Manuel’s technicians have their own Equalizer tools in their arsenal* and know how to use them. “In their toolboxes, they have Equalizer tools designed specifically for every type of application they may encounter,” Manuel said. “We never scratch panels or break anything, even when we work on side windows where there isn’t always a lot of space to operate in.” Getting all of his techs up to speed with their Equalizer glass tools involved a lot of training, Manuel said. “We showed my guys how to use the Viper™ and Ambush™ while they were working on cars, and it was really effective because they became very proficient with each tool rather quickly,” he said. “If they ever have any questions, there are several videos on YouTube right now that are worth their weight in gold. “It’s like anything else, practice makes perfect. We used to have to stop the repair process or blueprinting at the glass stage, but not anymore.” The glass tools from Equalizer have enabled Manuel and his techs to do things they couldn’t do quickly and efficiently before. Now he can list “auto glass repair” on his shop’s menu of services confidently, knowing he is using the finest glass tools available in the collision repair industry today.
Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair Facility Employees: 25 In Business Since: 2008 Number of Locations: One Production Space: 30,000 square feet
Owner Arron Manuel at Manuel Collision Center with one of his youngest employees, son Carter.
Manuel Collision Center has grown rapidly since it opened its doors in 2008 and credits much of its success to vendors such as Equalizer.
Equalizer (512) 388-7715 email@example.com www.equalizer.com * Add to your Arsenal with an Arsenal Box Subscription! www.thearsenalbox.com
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Collision Repair Facility Improves Efficiency, Accuracy with New Evercoat Repair Process Products Hall Buick GMC Collision Center
by Autobody News Staff
Thanks to ongoing innovation, there could always be a new product ready to improve a body shop’s efficiency and performance. That has proven to be the case at Hall Buick GMC’s Collision Center in Tyler, TX, which recently switched to Evercoat’s Rage OPTEX® 440 Express™ repair process. Mark Smith, collision center director, said the shop has been a longtime user of Evercoat’s Rage line of products, at least since he joined it as director 11 years ago. Smith said he was sold on the new body filler and primer pre-treatment in the Rage OPTEX 440 Express repair process after seeing them in action, when Evercoat representative Tom Lowry brought them around for a demonstration in 2019, before they were available for sale. As soon as they became available a couple months later, the collision center started using the product. “We were looking for something more productive,” Smith said. “We felt it would be beneficial, and it really has been.” The first product in the process, Evercoat Rage OPTEX premium body filler, features color-changing technology—it goes on pink, then turns green when it’s properly catalyzed and ready for sanding. The body filler has excellent adhesion to a variety of surfaces, including steel, stainless steel, galvanized steel, aluminum, SMC, fiberglass and silicon bronze welds, and can be directly applied to sanded OEM clearcoat. It also uses Evercoat’s ECORESIN technology, which is both environmentally friendly and provides superior sanding capabilities. The product even won SEMA’s 2018 New Product Award in the best new collision repair and refinish category. Smith said Rage OPTEX is easy to use and saves employees’ time. “The tech can be working on other things, glance over and see when it’s ready,” he said. “It’s also led to better repairs,” he added. “From time to time, we
Location: Tyler, TX (903) 771-2886 www.hallhasitall.com
The collision center at Hall Buick GMC in Tyler, TX, services all makes and models.
had pinholes with other products. This process has mostly eliminated pinholes, and eliminated micro-porosity all together.” Rage OPTEX is also more economical in the long run, because the shop needs fewer products to complete repairs. “In the past, we were using a putty over top of body filler,” Smith said. “Now that’s not required, because it leaves a fine enough finished product, we don’t feel it requires a putty.” The second product in the process is Evercoat’s 440 Express, a one-step primer pre-treatment that doesn’t require sanding. Smith said switching to the new primer pre-treatment also contributed to eliminating micro-pinholes, saving the shop time and money on repainting. “On occasion, micro-pinholes would show up after paint, and that is a very expensive redo.” Smith said he’s been happy with the switch as it’s been beneficial in making their shop more productive. He also commented on the great support from Evercoat his shop has always enjoyed, and the new product information and training he and his employees have always taken advantage of, offered by Evercoat and Lowry, its local representative. “Here at the repair (shop) level, we don’t see the new products coming out, like the manufacturer reps do,” Smith said. “Having
someone like (Lowry) to make us aware of new products is a big plus. Tom may be aware of a new product today, and it could be a year before I find out it exists (without him.)” “Training on a new product provided by the manufacturer also makes a big difference,” Smith continued. “If guys aren’t trained on it, we’re not as successful with it.” Smith noted Hall Buick GMC has had a collision center since the dealership was founded 16 years ago, but it has grown. The original collision center was 8,000 square feet. About three years ago, a new collision center was needed, more than doubling in size to 18,000 square feet. It now employs 14 people, who repair about 125 vehicles a month. Its technicians are I-CAR certified and trained by GM, though they work on all makes and models. Smith, who has been with Hall Buick GMC for 11 years, has a total of 26 years of experience in the industry, and a degree in auto collision repair from Texas State Technical College. “I’ve always enjoyed working with something that was damaged and being able to make it whole again,” Smith said. He also commented on the best part of his career: “The people around me, the team I’ve been able to assemble in the area and the relationships with the other employees.”
Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair Facility Employees: 14 In Business Since: 2004 Number of Locations: One DRP Programs: 10 Combined Production Space: 18,000 square feet
Hall Buick GMC Collision Center Technician James Savering uses Evercoat products to repair a pickup truck.
Hall Buick GMC Collision Center Technician Tony Hopson uses Evercoat Rage OPTEX premium body filler.
Evercoat 6600 Cornell Road Cincinnati, OH 45242 (513) 489-7600 www.evercoat.com
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Family Shop is All-in with Power Trio: LKQ, Keystone and Axalta Rick Worley & Son, Inc.
by Autobody News Staff
Anyone who has been in the body shop business for any period of time has likely ordered recycled parts from LKQ or aftermarket parts from Keystone Automotive Industries, and maybe even sprayed Axalta waterborne at one point. Under the same umbrella, these three companies are leaders in their own right, but together their nationwide coverage and deep inventories are unparalleled. LKQ and Keystone merged into an industry goliath in 2008, becoming North America’s leading distributor of aftermarket and recycled parts. And Axalta—distributed by LKQ/Keystone—has 150 years of experience in the coatings industry and serves more than 100,000 customers in 130 countries. Second-generation owner Rick Worley at Rick Worley & Son in Ringgold, GA, has been able to thrive in a tiny town of 3,500 people. He learned the trade from his father, Alvin, working at the family shop starting at an early age. “This is the only industry I’ve ever worked in, and I’ve loved every minute of it,” Worley said. “I tell people that I was born into this business; when I was 10, I painted my first car, a 1969 International pickup—and then I was hooked!” After working for another company restoring vehicles for a few years, Worley opened a modest shop with 1,000 square feet of space and started with one employee—himself. “It was a one-man show and the shop was so small, I had to work on one vehicle at a time,” Worley said. “Now we repair 80 to 100 cars every month in a 20,000-squarefoot facility and 15 employees.” 2011 was a memorable year for the Worleys on several levels. “We hit $1 million in sales that year and went through an expansion,” Worley said. “Things were progressing nicely, and a lot of the good things we were doing were paying off.” But on April 27, 2011, an EF4 tornado touched down on Ringgold and changed Worley’s world in an instant. “It destroyed 70% of our town, but it also brought in a ton of work,”
Location: Ringgold, GA (706) 965-9082 Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair Facility Employees: 15 In Business Since: 1994 Number of Locations: One Production Space: 17,500 sq. ft.
Led by Rick’s son 7-year-old River, the future looks bright at Rick Worley & Son in Ringgold, GA.
Worley said. “We had no power for a week, so we used generators and worked 60-plus hours every week to get it done. Other shops in our area could not handle the workload, but we excelled under pressure. I believe we established a reputation for being a top shop during that storm because we stepped up and served the community.” Worley knows his shop needs top vendors to provide the right parts and products needed on a daily basis to repair 80 to 100 vehicles every month. “We’ve been able to build great alliances with our vendors, the insurance companies, car rental companies and the community,” Worley said. “The Worley name is well-known here because my family has been associated with collision repair for the past 50 years.” To stay on top, Worley works closely with Ralph Hairsine, general manager at Keystone Automotive Industries, Inc., in Chattanooga, TN, and Keystone paint representatives Jonathon Tipton and Jeff Graham; together, they’ve established a long and fruitful partnership, Worley said. “We were ordering parts from Keystone and then when they merged with LKQ, we began working with them too,” he said. “If we need a part fast, LKQ/Keystone is reliable and they back the quality 100 percent.” Worley said he is continually impressed with LKQ’s guarantee and Promise of Protection. Essentially, LKQ indemnifies licensed auto repair shops that purchase and install
any LKQ recycled OEM, aftermarket or remanufactured product on private passenger vehicles and light trucks. “If the insurance company wants to use LKQ, we are confident that they will find something that everyone will be happy with,” Worley said. “In many cases, when the part arrives, we can’t even tell the difference between an LKQ part and an OE part. And with their Promise of Protection, we know they always have our back.” By using Axalta, Worley is tapping into the power of the trio. “We tried at least 10 paint companies, but there was nothing that came even close,” he said. “Their color matching is excellent and the cars look amazing right out of the booth.” When it comes to customer service and follow-through, Worley praised LKQ, Axalta and Keystone across the board. “I have three separate reps and they are always available to us,” he said. “They aren’t just salespeople; they are more like business consultants. When you work with these companies, you also get all of the other great things that come with it, including product knowledge and industry experience.” Now doing more than $3 million in sales annually, Worley hopes that one day his young son will take over the business and help it to grow. “I can see he’s already showing some interest, so the future looks bright with blue skies and no tornadoes in sight,” he said.
Parts Manager Chuck Gentry orders used and recycled parts from LKQ and aftermarket parts from Keystone every day.
Building strong business partnerships and customer service are priorities at Rick Worley & Son.
LKQ Corp. 500 West Madison St., Suite 2800 Chicago, IL 60661 (877) LKQ-CORP www.lkqcorp.com
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VersionEX Auto Body Hooked on GenRock by Lusid Technologies VersionEX Auto Body
by Autobody News Staff
Devin Hansen, owner of VersionEX Auto Body in Eugene, OR, was raised in Okinawa, Japan, and immigrated to the U.S. when he was 15 years old. “I always had a passion for cars because that was a big part of my culture,” he shared. “When I moved to America, I bought a 1996 Nissan in honor of my heritage. I started working on the car in my parents’ driveway, but the cold, rainy weather in Oregon wasn’t ideal, so a friend and I invested in a small, 300-square foot shop space where we could work on cars.” After tinting his own windows, Hansen began offering the service to friends who recommended him to their networks. “I was super busy, and the profit margins were great,” Hansen recalled. “In addition to detailing and other types of customizations, people started asking for custom paint jobs, but I didn’t have a paint booth. When my current facility was offered for sale, including its eight bays and the paint booth I needed, I didn’t know anything about collision repair.” Still, Hansen made a “huge jump” and purchased the auto body shop. Fortunately, the shop was staffed with collision repair professionals who helped the new owner get up to speed. “I was very lucky that my guys trained me, but there was also a lot of trial and error in the beginning,” Hansen said. “I lost a lot of money in 2016 because I didn’t know what I was doing, but I just kept learning—that’s the biggest thing; if you’re willing to keep at it, you’ll improve each year. You have to pay for experience one way or another; if not through college, you’ll learn the hard way.” In 2018, a new customer drove into VersionEX Autobody seeking window tint for his 1993 Nissan, a vehicle similar to Hansen’s ongoing project. “As I was looking at the car, I noticed that it looked like it had been freshly painted. It looked amazing, and I was particularly interested in the clearcoat because it looked super flat,” Hansen stated. “I asked what was on his car, and he told me that it was cleared
Location: Eugene, OR (541) 393-6549 www.VersionEX.com Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair Facility Employees: Eight In Business Since: 2016 Number of Locations: One Combined Production Space: 13,000 square feet VersionEX Auto Body’s growth and successes wouldn’t be possible without the support of Lusid and the dedication of his employees, according to owner Devin Hansen.
with the GT211 2.1 VOC Automotive Clear manufactured by Lusid Technologies.” The new customer, Bill Gillespie, works as a sales representative for Lusid Technologies and offered to provide a sample of the GT211. Once VersionEX tried the product, “we were hooked. The clearcoat is awesome, and my guys love it,” Hansen said. “After we started using the GT211, we evolved and converted to the entire GenRock paint line. Converting was really easy since their system was similar to our previous system. It was really just a matter of switching cans.” “I really admired the fact that Bill didn’t try to sell Lusid’s products at all—he didn’t have to because the clearcoat sold itself,” Hansen continued. “I asked him about it, and he just offered to let us try it without a big sales pitch. Bill has been a great support for VersionEX, and he’s an awesome rep for Lusid. The customer service we receive from Lusid’s headquarters is also excellent. Whenever we have any questions or concerns, Lusid is very attentive and quick to address it. We have no complaints whatsoever.” VersionEX Autobody also uses many liquid products from Lusid, including lacquer, adhesion promoters, wax and greases, as well as the full GenRock paint line. Additionally, Hansen praised Lusid’s four angle spectrophotometer. “Their digital camera system is
really good, and their color matches are excellent,” he noted. “GenRock also covers really well, and Lusid offers a lifetime warranty on their products. The increase in profitability has been huge since GenRock costs 30% less than our previous paint brand. There are just positives all around. Lusid is a really great paint brand.” Thanks to Lusid’s support and his own initiative, Hansen has learned a lot in the past few years. “I’ve learned what to do, what not to do, how to handle insurers, and how to treat customers,” he said. “It’s crazy how many factors are involved in running a business and doing what I do. I’ve progressed as a person and as a shop owner. We’re not just a body shop; we do a little of everything, so customers can drop off their car and have everything done under one roof. If you provide excellent customer service and put out quality work that speaks for itself, the business grows from there.” Hansen also largely credits his team at VersionEX for the shop’s growth and success. “The biggest part of running any business is the people working for you. I’ve been fortunate and have a team of seven people who genuinely care about what they do,” Hansen said. “It’s not just a 9-to-5 for them—it’s their reputation on the line, and they’re proud of what they do. Most of your adult life is spent working, so why do something you hate doing? It’s not all about the money. You need to enjoy what you do.”
The car that started it all for Hansen is still his project car. “My car has evolved with me as I’ve learned more about the industry; it’s basically my resume,” he said.
VersionEX Autobody offers a variety of customizations and prides itself on being a one-stop shop.
Lusid Technologies (801) 966-5300 www.lusid.biz
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Mill R the q PA, in cated owne thing S avera the fa with t techn equip T in Mil trome ish sy brand “ Matrix excel plicat for ou “This lent c came M Matrix and s ber, L “ ber is itself, of the ment of th Valsp and L W ment DeBra the ne out lo the s tive a “ week our s fortab contin techn “ comp While ease perior savin rakele mode as we times and c “ with E extrem 24 June 2020 Autobody News / SHOP AND PRODUCT SHOWCASE
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Mill Run Collision Praises Matrix Edge as Asset to Business Due to Cost, Coverage and Ease of Application Mill Run Collision Center
by Autobody News Staff
Mill Run Collision Center opened in the quaint borough of Mill Village, PA, in 1984, but despite being located in a historic district, the shop owned by Lee DeBrakeleer is anything but dated. Six employees work on an average of 40 vehicles a month in the facility’s two buildings, outfitted with the industry’s latest and most technologically advanced tools and equipment. Two of the most valuable tools in Mill Run’s arsenal are the Spectrometer and the Matrix Edge™ refinish system, a Valspar Automotive® brand. “The reasonable cost of the Matrix Edge system, as well as the excellent coverage and ease of application, make the product an asset for our business” DeBrakeleer said. “This is complemented by an excellent color match, supported by the camera.” Mill Run Collision began using Matrix Edge due to encouragement and support from DeBrakeleer’s jobber, Lake City Paint. “I believe the support of a jobber is as important as the product itself,” DeBrakeleer said. “The value of the Matrix Edge system is augmented by the additional benefit of the support received from the Valspar Automotive representatives and Lake City Paint.” When Mill Run Collision implemented the Matrix Edge system, DeBrakeleer said, transitioning to the new system was effortless without loss of production time, due to the service from Valspar Automotive and Lake City Paint. “Two representatives spent a week working with the painter in our shop to ensure he was comfortable with the system, and they continue to provide support to our technicians and painter,” he said. “We were previously using a competitor’s waterborne system. While the color match is similar, the ease of use of Matrix Edge is superior, plus there’s a significant cost savings when using Matrix,” DeBrakeleer said. “There was an initial modest cost savings on materials, as well as an improvement in cycle times due to the excellent coverage and color match. “My employees are pleased with Matrix Edge,” he said. Employee job satisfaction is extremely important to DeBrakeleer.
Location: Mill Village, PA (814) 796-4384 www.millruncollisioncenter.com
“Our employees remain the most vital part of our business,” says Lee DeBrakeleer, owner of Mill Run Collision. Credit: Megan Christine Photography
All four collision technicians at Mill Run Collision have received I-CAR training, including welding certifications; in addition, they are all ASE Certified Master Technicians. “Our employees remain the most vital part of our business, and that relationship has been cultivated through communication and developing a lucrative incentive plan that rewards employees for efficiency, not just monetarily but also with flexible work schedules and days off,” DeBrakeleer said. “This allows us to retain the area’s finest Master Technicians.” Mill Run Collision Center consists of a 4,000-square foot main building as well as a 3,200-square foot aluminum and PDR building, but Mill Run Collision is currently breaking ground on a two-stage addition that will provide an additional 12,000 square feet of production space to meet customers’ needs. DeBrakeleer said he believes his success is largely due to the relationships developed with clients. “Our relationships with customers make our shop unique, and most of our work is from repeat customers,” he said. “We see our customers as our greatest asset; they are the force that drives our business, so we take every opportunity to improve the repair process and the customer’s experience to maintain our high customer satisfaction rating. “Rather than worrying about what other shops in the area are doing, we put our energy back into our facility, equipment and customers,” he said. “In return, we have enjoyed consistent growth.” Mill Run Collision is also very active in the community, supporting
the local fire department, sponsoring a variety of local sports teams and participating in multiple community fundraising events throughout the year. “We value our community and actively give back,” DeBrakeleer said. DeBrakeleer also strongly believes in giving back to the collision repair industry by supporting future technicians. In addition to proctoring the collision repair NOCTI hands-on testing each year for the local career center, he sits on the advisory boards for several local tech schools and career centers. “It is crucial to update vocational instructors about new products and technology to ensure that they can better educate and prepare students for an entry-level job opportunity in the collision repair industry,” DeBrakeleer said. Mill Run Collision also allows students to visit the shop and become acquainted with the modern equipment many schools cannot afford. “I believe in giving back to our industry by providing this service to local students,” DeBrakeleer said. DeBrakeleer said he is dedicated to helping local collision repair students because a shortage of qualified technicians is eminent. “Keeping up with the fast pace of technology remains a challenge for us all, and with such an accelerated pace of technology, we aren’t filling the current job opportunities in the industry,” he said. “I feel strongly that supporting our local career and technical schools is vital to the future of the collision repair industry.”
Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair Facility Employees: Six In Business Since: 1984 Number of Locations: One DRP Programs: Four Combined Production Space: 7,200 square feet
Matrix Edge color tools, including a spectrometer, ensure accurate color matching at Mill Run Collision. Credit: Megan Christine Photography
Mill Run Collision Center’s painters love the Matrix Edge paint system for its easy application and excellent coverage. Credit: Megan Christine Photography
Matrix Edge™, a Valspar® Automotive Brand 4440 Warrensville Center Road Warrensville Hts., OH 44128 (800) 321-0672 www.matrixsystem.com Facebook.com/matrixsystem Instagram.com/matrixautomotiveﬁnishes Youtube.com/matrixautomotiveﬁnishes
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Diagnostics Company Develops In-House App with MobileSoft Technology Superior Replacement
by Autobody News Staff
Smart business people know what they’re good at and then hire other people to do the rest. A body shop owner would not be expected to remodel his shop, build a website or design an app, but some have tried with varied results. In this case, Jack Perea, owner of Superior Replacement, an auto diagnostics company, needed an app to streamline his in-house communications. He contracted MobileSoft™ Technology, a global leader in mobile marketing and application development for the automotive collision industry. Instead of going outside his wheelhouse and trying it himself, Perea hired the experts, and that is why he’s smiling from ear to ear. Perea started in the world of automotive diagnostics serving collision, mechanical and tire shops in southern California two decades ago. Today, the lion’s share of his work is performing ADAS calibrations, mechanical pigtail and wire repair A/C services almost exclusively for body shops, many of which are MSOs. Before that, Perea was in the car stereo business in the mid-90s, which quickly evolved into a company that installed and repaired alarm systems and dashboards as well as re-calibrating airbags. Last summer, Perea leveraged his excellent reputation to open his own 20,000-square foot testing facility in Riverside, CA, to complement his other location in Victorville, CA. With five vans in his fleet and using some of the finest OE diagnostics tools available on the planet today, Perea is succeeding in an industry that is changing at lightning speed. One advantage Superior Replacement has over many of its competitors is the fact it uses only OE diagnostics systems and tools. With two standalone systems, one in each facility and one that can go mobile, Perea and his team are adding to their growing client list all the time. Superior Replacement serves a 50-mile area and provides a large menu of services, including ADAS calibration, supplemental restraint systems (SRS), steering angle sensors, OEM programming, calibrations module programming, Nis-
Location: Riverside, CA (909) 518-7269 www.superiorreplacement.com
Company At A Glance... Type: Auto Diagnostics Facility Employees: 14 In Business Since: 1997 Number of Locations: Two Production Space: 20,000 square feet Superior Replacement provides auto diagnostics for independent shops and MSOs using only OE equipment and tools.
san/Infiniti ICC systems, windshield cameras, adaptive headlights, blind spot monitors, pre-collision systems and adaptive cruise controls. Auto diagnostics is hot right now and every shop owner in the country will need to answer this question if they haven’t already— should I go in-house or contract it out? Maybe a few years ago, it was no problem getting a few scanners and doing it yourself, but no more, according to Perea. “We have been doing diagnostics since day one and now a lot of new companies are entering the market,” he said. “They figure they’ll get the newest equipment and a few vehicles, but you will need more than that. We work on 40-plus makes and models of foreign and domestic cars and the information changes literally every day. So, if you’re going to work with any auto diagnostics company, make sure they know what they’re doing and have the necessary training and experience.” With so many diagnosticians on the road serving the Inland Empire—Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange counties—Perea knew he needed a platform on which he and his managers could communicate with his people out in the field using their iPhones or tablets. Perea found out about MobileSoft Technology in Las Vegas, after joining the Automotive Service Association (ASA) and discovering MobileSoft is a preferred business partner that had developed apps for other shops. After doing all of its due diligence, Superior Replacement con-
tracted them to successfully design and launch an app available for Android and iPhone. MobileSoft Technology has a mobile application platform that launches apps on 100 million smartphones every month worldwide. The company motto is “We know technology and love what we do.” Because he also loves what he does, Perea decided to go with MobileSoft Technology, and he can safely say the development stage was much easier and less expensive than he anticipated. “We love the app because it’s quick and easy, and streamlines our scheduling and service requests,” Perea said. “My technicians have to be in constant contact with my office staff. Phone calls are time-consuming and it’s so much easier to send texts to multiple people. We can attach notes and photos and we don’t have to physically talk to anyone except for in special circumstances anymore. I used to take 200-plus calls every day and now I takes less than 60. “In addition, we are saving at least two hours every day because my front office people are more efficient and can get so much more done in an eight-hour period now.” The process of developing the app with MobileSoft Technology was simple and direct, Perea said. “We knew what we wanted and they knew how to do it, so what more can you ask?” Perea said. “There were no bugs and we’ve been able to tweak it since launching in January just to fine tune it. This app has made our lives so much easier, it’s one of the best business investments we have ever made.”
Owner Jack Perea from Superior Replacement contracted MobileSoft Technology to build an in-house app that streamlines his scheduling and service requests and keeps him in constant communication with his crew.
Prior to using MobileSoft Technology, Perea made 200-plus calls every day and now he’s down to less than 60, thanks to his new app.
MobileSoft Technology 101 Convention Center Drive, Suite 650 Las Vegas, NV 89109 (702) 805-8500 GM Jason Soto firstname.lastname@example.org
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Fast-Growing MSO Uses Lift King to Save Money and Time Crash Champions
by Autobody News Staff
Peter Callaway is the director of process and training at Crash Champions, one of the largest MSOs in the country, with a current total of 39 locations in Ohio, Illinois and California. He has been in the industry for four decades, so he loves discussing the body shop business and everything that goes with it. When you talk to Callaway, you sense his passion for collision repair. He is delighted to be working for one of the fastest-growing MSOs. One piece of equipment Callaway believes in is The Lift King from Network 1 Solutions, as it helps his teams significantly. “We have one Lift King in all of our facilities, so we obviously believe in the equipment,” he said. “When selecting tools, we do our due diligence and look at many factors. We consider four main things—ease of use, serviceability, warranty and support. The support from Network 1 is outstanding and the maintenance is almost non-existent.” Crash Champions’ introduction to the Lift King happened at SEMA a few years back. They say what happens in Las Vegas stays there, but in this case, Callaway returned to Illinois with six lifts. “We walked past their booth and said—wow! The Lift King is definitely a head-turner, so we worked out a deal. It has been a smart move in every way because this device saves us time and money.” The Lift King is designed to simplify truck bed removals and installs, and make repairs considerably safer for heavy-duty truck and medium/ light-duty vehicles, according to the company’s website. Shops nationwide are using this lift to minimize damage while keeping their techs on task, making for quicker and more profitable repairs. Greg Ziegler, president at Network 1, which distributes the machine, outlined The Lift King Lift’s capabilities and advantages. “It is designed to make the shop safer, allowing techs to simply perform the repair without assistance from other techs, so that everyone can be more productive,” Ziegler said. “It was created to minimize the need for shop space as well. For
Location: Crestwood, IL (877) 846-9500 www.crashchampions.com Company At A Glance... Type: MSO In Business Since: 1999 Number of Locations: 39
The Lift King enables one tech to perform a repair without any assistance, so everyone can be more productive.
example, the Lift King Lift stores in a 3-by-3-foot area and our fender stands and bed dolly are made to be stored on the wall! “By reducing the risk of injury to the shop personnel, as well as stopping further damage to the vehicle, repair time decreases and the shop can be more profitable. “We eliminated the need for ropes and pulleys or four techs stopping what they’re doing to help take off a bed or a hood. In addition, we’re excited to be adding some new attachments for the machine soon, so that we can further help shops to stay safe and productive.” To see the product demonstrated, Network 1 Solutions has a YouTube video, “Introducing the Fast and Safe Lift King Lift.” To get an idea of how long it takes to use the lift, the video is a minute and 14 seconds long, and the demonstrator is not rushing. All the videos can be found on Network 1’s website, www.network 1solutions.com. “The training for the Lift King is as easy as 1-2-3,” Callaway said. “We set one up and did a few trucks and the technicians understood the process immediately, it’s basically self-explanatory. When not in use it stores away easily and folds up so it doesn’t take up much space.” Callaway’s real win is the many advantages of only requiring one person to complete a task that would normally require four. “If we can save just 10 to 15 minutes on every job and free up three techs at the same time, that’s huge,” he said. “There’s no heavy lifting involved and with only one person doing the work, there are fewer chances of injury or damag-
es to the truck bed or cab because of the control the technician has.” The story of Crash Champions shows with dedicated effort and strategic growth, a company can flourish in this industry. The company began as New Lenox Auto Body 21 years ago. President and CEO Matt Ebert bought out his partner with a goal to expand the business to other locations in the Chicago area. He rebranded the company by changing its name to Crash Champions and promptly opened three additional locations. Today, the company has a grand total of 39 locations and continues to expand. The company is operating as Crash Champions in the midwest and Pacific Elite in California. A large part of Crash Champions’ growth comes from its people and the fact it has made ongoing training a major priority. “We have our own in-house training program that produces top technicians. We also incorporate I-CAR training and strive to go beyond the Platinum Level,” Callaway said. Another priority at Crash Champions is building strong relationships with its vendors and business partners, Callaway said. “We need reliable suppliers, so that we can continue to serve our customers and partners, like our paint supplier, parts or equipment vendors, such as Network 1 Solutions with the Lift King,” Callaway said. “When you buy a large number of anything, you need to know that it’s the right decision because of the investment involved. That’s why we’re happy to give Lift King a strong recommendation.”
Crash Champions has one Lift King in each of its 39 locations in Ohio, Illinois and California.
Crash Champions appreciates that by using The Lift King they are being more efficient while eliminating tech injuries and the stress to backs, arms and shoulders.
Network 1 Solutions 210 Pigeon Road Bad Axe, MI 48413 (888) 918-0737 www.network1solutions.com email@example.com
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PPG’s Waterborne Paint System Improves Business at Illinois Shop Newell’s Auto Body, Inc.
by Autobody News Staff
Learning the body shop business from his father and now preparing his daughter to eventually run the show, Todd Newell, the owner of Newell’s Auto Body in Decatur, IL, is in a good spot. With eyes on the future, he switched from his previous paint vendor to PPG’s ENVIROBASE® High Performance waterborne basecoat system three years ago and has invested in an entire new paint department since then. One thing Mike Newell told his son more than a few times over the years was if you can employ good people and use only the finest products, tools and equipment, you will succeed. Today, the business has 25 highly-trained and experienced employees, fixes 150 to 200 cars monthly, possesses a wide range of OE certifications and sprays only PPG. The business has grown literally every year due to hard work and making smart decisions along the way. Back in 1958, Mike Newell began repairing vehicles in a two-bay garage, where he quickly built a strong reputation as a straight shooter who focused on quality and customer service. In 1959, he completed a sheet metal repair program at a General Motors training center in St. Louis, MO, and decided to take his career in collision repair on a larger scale. Four years later, Todd’s father opened a small, three-bay shop with three employees, at the same location where it is today. Todd took over the business in 1996 with great aspirations and big plans. It’s definitely a family company at Newell’s Auto Body, with his daughter, Amanda Anderson, working as the company’s office manager. She recently earned an undergraduate degree in business management from Millikin University and a master’s degree in business administration from Illinois State University, and is learning the body shop industry by doing. Steady growth has always been a big part of the story at Newell’s Auto Body. Forty years later, Todd Newell completed construction of a 12,000-square foot state of-the-art building to add to his other two buildings. It consists of two side-down draft paint booths,
Location: Decatur, IL (217) 877-7632 www.newellsautobody.com Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair Facility Employees: 25 In Business Since: 1958 Number of Locations: One Combined Production Space: 27,000 square feet Owner Todd Newell, left; his daughter, Office Manager Amanda Andersen, center; and Head Painter Zach Layton, right; at Newell’s Auto Body are proud to spray PPG’s Envirobase to paint 150 to 200 cars every month.
two electric hydraulic frame machines and individual floor lifts for each technician. The layout promotes improved production and his system is designed around it, Newell said. His equipment has served him very well over the years, but now Newell is entering a new age in collision repair. He decided to purchase two 28-ft. drive-thru downdraft paint booths and a mixing room to complement the switch to PPG’s Envirobase High Performance waterborne basecoat system. Spraying waterborne paint was also integral to Newell’s longterm plans. He admits he was initially reluctant when Illinois began talking about making its use mandatory in every body shop in the state. “The local EPA and some of my suppliers kept telling me that waterborne was a better product and better for the environment,” Newell said. “We always want to stay ahead of things like new products and technology that can help our business and changing over to a waterborne basecoat was a smart decision.” After 60 days spraying PPG’s Envirobase High Performance paint system, Newell saw some definite improvements in his production processes, as well as with his bottom line. “First off, the product is more durable,” he said. “With our previous paint line, after impact it would explode off bumpers, so we were concerned. Cars would come back and the paint was cracking. But now the PPG product adheres well and we no longer encounter that
issue.” Newell is delighted with the fact that by using PPG’s color matching system, his painters are hitting their matches dead-on every time. “Matching each vehicle’s color precisely is so important because that’s the first thing the customer looks for,” he said. “We have an express fast track department that works mostly on single panels and bumpers, so matching that paint is really important.” When Newell began looking around for a new paint supplier, he wanted a company that would provide him with a superior product, but would also help him with his business. “When we signed with PPG, we were already working with distributors Keystone and LKQ. With the team’s support, we quickly saw a definite improvement in our margins,” Newell said. “Since then they’ve more than doubled, from under 20% to more than 40%.” Newell has been able to streamline his processes and become more efficient overall, thanks to several factors, including PPG training. Having a certified painter is among the requirements for collision centers offering PPG’s Lifetime Limited Paint Performance Guarantee. “The training that PPG provides is a huge plus for us,” he said. “Many of our painters have gone through all five levels, and we can see their improvement. PPG even has a two-day class designed for our preppers, which is great, because they will be the painters of our future.”
PPG’s color matching system ensures that Painter Steve Buckley, left, and Head Painter Zach Layton get precise results all the time.
Newell’s has won numerous awards over the years in recognition for its quality and customer service.
PPG Company Contact: Cathy Rusnak (440) 572-2800 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ppgrefinish.com
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Head Painter at Poulsbo RV Enables SATA to Excel at Graphics Poulsbo RV
by Autobody News Staff
Head Painter David Zamora at Poulsbo RV in Kent, WA, paints large motor homes, which involves recreating intricate graphics while applying multiple colors. He needs a spray gun that will enable him to work quickly and precisely without fatiguing his hands, back or shoulders. To be honest, Zamora has a few more than just one gun and they’re all SATAs. The number is increasing all the time—he currently owns more than 40. He uses five nearly every day, with a handful of backup guns and a considerable amount of Special Edition SATA guns only for display. Like many people who collect coins, baseball cards or stamps, Zamora is always looking for new and rare SATA guns to add to his collection, and uses a network of other painters to locate his latest discoveries. “I have sources,” he said with a laugh. “People know I collect the vintage special edition SATA guns, so if they find any that I might be interested in, they will let me know. If it’s rare and unusual, I want it!” Zamora is a self-made man who loves his job. He went from being a detailer to a lead painter. It took more than a decade, but that never discouraged him from his ultimate goal. It’s the classic story in which a smart, hardworking kid starts off sweeping floors and eventually becomes a head painter at a large and successful company. Today, painters from all over the world—more than 5,000—follow Zamora on Instagram at @davez4m0r4 to see his work and share ideas. In 2000, Zamora was handed a SATA gun for the first time, and that’s when a lifelong and productive lifelong relationship began. “The shop I was working at let me borrow it to paint some door jambs with a SATAjet 90 and shortly after that I bought my own. I was instantly comfortable with that gun and that’s when I started buying more,” he said. After working for a few shops in California for 10 years, a former boss called Zamora and said come to the Northwest, young man. Washington turned out to be the Land of Opportunity and relo-
Location: Kent, WA (800) 556-3878 www.poulsborv.com Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair Facility Employees: 12 In Business Since: 1986 Number of Locations: Five Combined Production Space: 15,000 square feet
David Zamora at Poulsbo RV’s collection consists of 40-plus SATA guns with some vintage special edition guns in the mix.
cating there was one of the smartest moves he ever made, Zamora said. “I was still a painter’s helper when I got there, but they told me if I wanted to move up, I could, and within less than a year I was the head painter. This is the best job I’ve ever had with great managers and amazing owners.” Poulsbo RV opened one small location in 1986. Now it’s considered the premier RV dealer in the Pacific Northwest, with five locations serving Fife, Everett, Auburn, Kent and Mt. Vernon, WA. As a full-service recreational vehicle dealer, Poulsbo RV sells and repairs diesel motorhomes, Class A and Class C motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheels and toy haulers manufactured by Winnebago, Forest River, Fleetwood, Tiffin and Monaco, among others. About 99% of Zamora’s work is on RVs, and although they get into some major crashes, most of the work is minor and cosmetic. “We get mostly smaller jobs where drivers clipped a building or a post or hit a tree branch,” he said. “We also get major jobs that can cost $20,000 to $40,000 or more. Some of these Class A coaches can cost as much as $1.5 million and to just replace a side wall, it can run $12,000 to $15,000.” To precisely emulate the swoops, pinstripes and other elaborate graphics on every RV he paints, Zamora normally applies four colors, and as many as six. That’s when he
calls upon his SATA guns, because he needs precision and coverage and the clock is running. “I tried another company’s gun for a while and I was really disappointed,” he said. “Since I am painting big RVs that can be 52 ft. wide and 20 ft. high, I have to keep moving, and my SATA guns keep me rolling along,” Zamora said. “Once I have done all my masking work, I am covering every color as opposed to butting them up. So, I need the complete coverage that my SATA guns help me to achieve the perfect look I’m looking for.” Zamora has some rave reviews for another piece of equipment he uses almost every day–the SATA® trueSun™, a high-precision LED lamp featuring an accurate reproduction of daylight to enable reliable color identification inside the spray booth and prevent comebacks. “It helps me to check my work and make sure the quality is there,” he said. “It’s an incredible tool because it gives me a complete and accurate view of my work.” When it comes to client support, SATA goes way over the top to keep its painters happy and informed, and Zamora is surely not an exception. “My sales and technical support person at SATA is Jim Kvatek and he is actually amazing,” Zamora said. “He is the biggest expert on SATA guns I’ve ever known. I haven’t surprised him with a question yet, and that’s why I guess he’s in that job.”
Head Painter David Zamora has more than 5,000 followers on Instagram as he shares photos of his amazing work with his fellow painters.
Zamora paints large motor homes with complex graphics and all his spray guns are made by SATA.
Dan-Am Company One Sata Drive P.O. Box 46 Spring Valley, MN 55975 800-533-8016 www.satausa.com
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Ed’s Custom Collision Enhances Efficiencies with Sherwin-Williams’ ATX™ Solventborne Refinish System Ed’s Custom Collision
by Autobody News Staff
Steve McCarty, owner of Ed’s Custom Collision Center in Dinuba, CA, was born into a family of automotive professionals. When he was 16 years old, he began cleaning the shop and washing vehicles at the dealership collision shop where his brother worked. In 2000, he began working at Ed’s Custom Collision Center, where he was trained to manage the shop. Ten years later, he seized an opportunity to purchase it from Ed Dean, who continues to mentor him. The I-CAR Gold and ASE-certified shop was well-equipped to perform safe and high-quality repairs, yet the business at Ed’s Custom Collision Center was stagnant. “The shop was sitting dormant— there was no progress. The industry has changed so rapidly over the past decade, but we weren’t receiving any support from our paint supplier or manufacturer,” McCarty said. “I just didn’t feel like the shop was evolving, and I knew it would be detrimental if we got left behind.” After doing some research into possible programs for guiding his shop into the future, McCarty found Sherwin-Williams offered the best business plan. “A few (of Sherwin-Williams’) programs have been really beneficial to making my shop more efficient and more successful,” McCarty said. “Their team of consultants examined multiple aspects of our business plan and operations to identify our strengths and weaknesses. From there, they helped us create new opportunities for growth.” McCarty said most of Sherwin-Williams’ suggestions were simple to implement. “When you’re working in a collision repair shop every day, you can get stuck in that bubble,” McCarty said. “The Sherwin-Williams team took me out of the bubble and showed me what worked for others in the industry and how to implement it at Ed’s Custom Collision Center. We started utilizing parts carts and reorganized tools and supplies in more intuitive ways—we really focused on small changes that made large enhancements in our efficiencies.” In addition to taking advantage of the business support and development programs offered by Sherwin-Williams, Ed’s Custom Collision Center converted to Sherwin-Williams’ ATX™ Solventborne Refinish
Location: Dinuba, CA (559) 595-8095 www.edscustoms.com
Ed’s Custom Collision Center noticed a definite increase in productivity when spraying with ATX™ Solventborne Refinish System by Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes. “We love seeing vehicles move through the shop so much faster,” owner Steve McCarty said.
System in 2018. “Sherwin-Williams sent a half dozen representatives to our facility to support us during the transition, providing training to our office staff and body technicians, as well as to our painters,” McCarty said. “Change always presents challenges, but my team understood how badly we needed to re-evaluate some aspects of our business, and they embraced the challenge,” McCarty said. “Now, they love spraying with ATX, and all the enhanced efficiencies make their jobs easier.” McCarty said Ed’s Custom Collision Center noticed a definite increase in productivity when spraying with ATX. “We love seeing vehicles move through the shop so much faster,” he said. While various vehicles and different environments can cause repairers to be concerned about color match, McCarty said ATX has great color match, and the support received when employees encounter struggles is unparalleled. “ATX has presented minimal obstacles in terms of color match, and in those very few cases, Sherwin-Williams sent someone to the shop to assist us within hours,” McCarty said. “The product comes with a lot of support, and any concerns we’ve had aren’t just immediately acknowledged—Sherwin-Williams seeks the cause of the problem and implements a correction.” Ed’s Custom Collision Center specializes in custom paint, bed liners, accessories, alignments, suspension lifts and lowering, as well as overall collision repair, and the shop is also certified through GM. The collision repair facility employs 15 industry professionals who repair an average of 100 ve-
hicles each month, including work for four insurers with whom the shop has DRP relationships. The shop is involved with sponsoring local car shows as well as youth sporting activities. McCarty believes it’s important for shops to get involved with young people. “Auto and paint classes in high schools are disappearing, resulting in fewer young skilled workers,” McCarty said. “We need to attract more young people to the collision repair industry if we are going to keep up with the increasing demand for technical technicians as vehicles become more advanced. We need to work together to ensure this industry has a future.” According to McCarty, teamwork is what makes his facility stand out compared to other auto body shops. “We operate on a team system, so there are multiple technicians involved in the repair process on each and every vehicle,” he said. “We also perform the majority of our repairs in-house, and we assist with all aspects of the insurance claim for our customers because we want to make the experience as pain-free as possible for them.” McCarty appreciates that same consideration is given to him as Sherwin-Williams’ client. “Sherwin-Williams has excellent customer service, and all of our questions have been rapidly addressed,” McCarty said. “They are also great at keeping us informed of changes in the industry and updates to their products, visiting us monthly for training and business development opportunities. Partnering with Sherwin-Williams has allowed the business at Ed’s Custom Collision Center to truly evolve.”
Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair Facility Employees: 15 In Business Since: 2010 Number of Locations: One DRP Programs: Four Combined Production Space: 1,500 square feet
The 15 collision repair experts at Ed’s Custom Collision Center enjoy how much easier their jobs have become due to the enhanced efficiencies they’ve gained through guidance from Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes’ business development programs.
McCarty believes teamwork is one of the factors that has contributed greatly to his shop’s success.
Sherwin-Williams® Automotive Finishes 4440 Warrensville Center Road Warrensville Hts., OH 44128 (800) 798-5872 www.sherwin-automotive.com facebook.com/SherwinWilliamsAutomotive Youtube.com/SWAFC Instagram.com/swreﬁnish LinkedIn.com/Sherwin-WilliamsAutomotiveFinishes
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Spanesi 360° Technology Solutions Allow Hawaii Body Shop to Provide Proper Repairs for Customers Kapa’a Auto Body
by Autobody News Staff
Nearly five years ago, Palani and Tina Ryder opened Kapa’a Auto Body in Kailua, Oahu, with their son, Justin, and one apprentice. They built their business from the ground up, reaching out to the local community, family and friends, as well as focusing on quality repairs and customer service. Fast forward to 2020, and the Ryders now have a second location 20 minutes away in Kaneohe, and are currently expanding their original facility from 6,000 to 30,000 square feet. “Kapa’a Auto Body was built on the commitment and passion we have for our customers and the automotive and auto body industry,” said Tina. “We are a tight-knit family with several decades of automotive experience. My grandfather worked in the automotive and body shop industry and my father was an honest and hardworking ASE mechanic.” Palani and Tina have four sons, Brandon, Justin, Kaimana and Micah. Justin and Micah currently work in the family-owned and locally-operated company. Justin manages the location in Kaneohe with his wife, Kahale. Micah is the head painter at the primary facility in Kailua with his fiancé, Kaui, who is the front office customer service representative. All of the technicians are I-CARtrained and the shop is also I-CAR Gold Class. The owners said this is a huge milestone for Kapa’a Auto Body, as they continue to pursue additional OEM certifications. As active community participants, they are also members of their local state association, the Automotive Body & Painting Association of Hawaii (ABPAH.) The Ryders said what separates them from other body shops is their dual, husband-and-wife partnership and working relationship. Their team works hard to make sure each vehicle is repaired properly and they meet customers’ needs. “We definitely try our best to take care of each customer every step of the repair process,” they said. Spanesi products have been an important aspect of contributing to the shop’s success. The Ryders first learned about Spanesi a few years ago while attending the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Every year, they travel to the industry event to learn about new products and attend the
Location: Kailua, Oahu (808) 230-8777 https://www.kapaaautobody.com Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair Facility Employees: 10 In Business Since: 2015 Number of Locations: Two DRP Programs: Four Combined Production Space: 36,000 square feet Spanesi’s Touch electronic measuring system allows Kapa’a Auto Body to carry out a diagnosis quickly and effectively.
Repairer Driven Education (RDE) classes offered by the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS). Palani and Tina were impressed with the complete range of Spanesi’s products, and purchased a 106 Frame Straightening Bench and Universal Fixtures a few years ago. The full workstation allows technicians to repair a vehicle standing up rather than having to work on the floor underneath the car. They found the benches to be very user-friendly and subsequently purchased Spanesi’s Touch electronic measuring system, which works in conjunction with the 106 Bench. Palani said the Touch system allows them to carry out a diagnosis quickly and effectively. Not only does it help them determine the best way to repair the damaged vehicle, but they can also create a personal database and measure all of the mechanical parts. “It’s an exceptional product,” he said. “It’s very user-friendly and our young apprentice technicians will easily learn the ins and outs of using all our Spanesi products, as they are the future of the collision industry.” After deciding to expand their flagship store, Palani and Tina began working toward a full custom redesign of the shop with Spanesi’s assistance. They spoke to Tim Morgan, COO of Spanesi-Americas, to learn more about the company’s 360° Technology Solutions, which includes body shop design, customizable products and equipment, aftersales support and training. Since then, they have purchased Spanesi Multibenches and two welders—a MIG welder and resistance spot welder. Palani said the
high-performing, innovative equipment helps them provide quality repairs in accordance with manufacturers’ specifications and keep up with the work provided by their four DRPs. Part of the redesign of the shop includes a 3D layout provided by Spanesi, which allows them to visualize where everything will be set up in order to enhance the shop’s workflow. As part of Spanesi’s 360° Concept, they are working closely with Morgan and the Spanesi team to develop and refine their organizational and training processes. The Ryders said they have been very appreciative of Spanesi’s support and have built a great relationship with Spanesi founder Orazio Spanesi, his daughter Cristina, and Morgan. “We always get the support we need,” said Palani. “Although Spanesi is based in Chicago and we are in Hawaii, they are just a phone call away.” One of the unique ways Spanesi offers support to clients is through virtual glasses, an accessory for the Touch measuring system. Similar to Google glasses, the high-tech product gives technicians and estimators the ability to remotely access all of the measuring information and other software needed. The glasses can be used to communicate directly with Tech Support through the “Point of View” internal camera, which allows live and recorded video, as well as still photo shots. “Spanesi products have helped position us to be successful in the future,” said Tina. “We take that very seriously, especially with the changes happening with automobiles and making sure we follow proper repair procedures.”
Palani and Tina Ryder said what separates them from other body shops is their husband-and-wife partnership and working relationship.
Spanesi products have helped contribute to Kapa’a Auto Body’s success.
Spanesi Americas Inc. Timothy W. Morgan, COO (224)-SPANESI (224-772-6374) www.spanesi.com
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Does this NY Shop Love USI? Fuggedabouitit! Sonny’s Collision Specialists
by Autobody News Staff
With a product he can believe in and a distributor he can rely on, James Aurora, owner of Sonny’s Collision Specialists in Ozone Park, NY, is happy with his four spray booths made by USI ITALIA and delighted with Centerline Spray Booths at his jobber in Amityville, NY. These are relationships built on trust and accountability and one of the main reasons why Sonny’s two locations are hitting their numbers every week. In addition to owning and operating Sonny’s, Aurora and his partner, Jack Bonventre, have Northside Auto Body in Poughkeepsie, NY, a 45-year-old business that also features two USI booths. It’s all about family when it comes to the two shops, with Bonventre’s son, Anthony, managing Northside, and Aurora as a third-generation owner, whose grandfather started the business in 1946. Aurora’s USI Chronotech booths are designed specifically to work with waterborne paint. Sonny’s was the first shop in New York to spray waterborne paint in 2007 for all the right reasons. “There were a lot of good reasons for us to switch to a waterborne product,” he said. “It’s obviously better for the environment, but it enables us to minimize waste, dial in better color matches with better coverage and quicker flash times.” Two of Aurora’s best business decisions are never signing up for a DRP and the acquisition of USI spray booths. “There have never been any questions about the quality and construction of the USI booths because fuggedaboutit,” Aurora said. “We got our first USI booth in 2001, that was more conventional, and then another one in 2017 with all of the bells and whistles. “We now have four USI booths total, with two at each location, an older model and a newer one, and it works out well. That original booth is almost 20 years old and it’s still going strong. I call it Old Faithful!” With the newer USI booth, Aurora and his painters use their EPS system to determine every parameter of every paint job.
Location: Ozone Park, NY (718) 846-7920 www.sonnyscollision.com Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair Facility Employees: 44 In Business Since: 1946 Number of Locations: Two Combined Production Space: 20,000 square feet Sonny’s Collision Specialists loves its USI Chronotech booths and would never even consider using any other brand.
“The painters love it because it strips all of the guesswork out of the process,” he said. “Plus, with their turbines, we never have to worry about getting all of the water out of the paint. You won’t ever need any additional air flow with a USI booth, and you can take it to the bank.” Depending on how much technology you want, there are three different configurations available: Vanguard, featuring DGTouch Lite control panel; Elite, featuring DGTouch control panel; and Ultimate, with DGTouch, EPS and DGT Manager software. “We use every aspect of the software and love it,” Aurora said. “We can control the temperature, the lights and we know precisely how much power we’re using at any time. We get detailed reports that we can analyze and decide where we can improve and be more efficient.” When Aurora began searching around for new booths nearly two decades ago, he was persuaded to go with USI for many reasons, including a cultural connection to the equipment. “Yes, I like the fact that they all are made in Italy. I’m Italian and I know from experience that Italy makes the best food, cars, music and art—and of course, paint booths!” John Chiafair is the owner of Centerline Spray Booths, which represents USI and helps Aurora when called upon, though issues are few. He knows USI Chronotechs inside
and out, and that’s why he loves recommending them, he said. He has seen a lot of shops in the New York area using USI’s DGTouch and DGT Manager to control everything completely. That means they receive precise data on their energy consumption in real time for each job, including time reports for the single phases, operators and pieces. Top notch support and service from USI is a no-brainer for Aurora and his staff at both Sonny’s Collision Specialists and Northside Auto Body, and that’s why they expect it. “Back in the old days, the paint booth companies had zero customer service,” he said. “They would sell you the equipment and then told you good luck, knock yourself out. The support team at USI is amazing, they know their products inside and out and they’re passionate about it.” In the end, the numbers tell all, and when Aurora looks at his, he has to smile. “We know that by using these booths, we are painting one more vehicle every day from each location. That’s more than 100 cars every year, which is outstanding.” Looking back at his relationship with USI, Aurora gets that warm and fuzzy feeling. “I tell people that if you don’t have a good paint booth, you’re in trouble. Every car that comes in here has to go through a paint booth, so it’s a big deal. It’s a big part of our production and definitely one of the reasons why we’re still here after 74 years.”
Sonny’s has been around for 74 years by stressing quality and changing with the times.
With their newest USI booth, painters at Sonny’s use their EPS system to determine every parameter of every paint job.
USI of North America Company Contact: Stefano Moretto (201) 405-7760 email@example.com www.usius.com
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