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SPECIAL EDITION OF

SPOTLIGHT: COMPLETE REPORT ON NACE 2016!

Body kits provide a custom look at a fraction of the price.

PLUS

Working through the basics of fabrication, inside Mohawk College’s Autobody Repairer program, and much, much more!!! Fall 2016

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CONTENTS

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profile 12 Celebrated Hot Rods Canadian JF Launier has captured some of the custom world’s most coveted awards. regulars 4 Publisher’s Page by Darryl Simmons

6 News Battle of the Builders returns, 3M Perfect-It demos and much, much more!

10 Industry Insight by Mike Carcone

34 Final Detail by Mike Davey

24 17

21

Fabrication Basics

The Industry’s Showcase

What do you do when you can’t buy it? Build it yourself!

Didn’t get to Anaheim for NACE? We’ve got you covered.

Body Kit Conversion

features 29 Technical Knowledge

33 Mohawk College

Mike Gilliland of Autohouse Technologies turned his problem solving skills towards business intelligence.

Giving students what they need to succeed in industry.

32 Young Gun

29 Classic Tape Effects

Danny Martinez started at the bottom before seeking out a formal education.

Mitch Lanzini lays out the process step-by-step.

A step-by-step conversion turns a Jeep into a mini pick-up!

on the cover: “Andiamo,” built by JF Kustoms and winner of two awards at the Grand National Roadster Show.

OCTOBER 2016    BODYWORX PROFESSIONAL

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PUBLISHER’S PAGE

KEYS TO SUCCESS

You need dedication, passion and a thirst to learn. BY DARRYL SIMMONS

PUBLISHER Darryl Simmons 647.409.7070 publisher@collisionrepairmag.com PUBLISHING DIRECTOR James Kerr 416.628.8344 james@mediamatters.ca EDITOR Mike Davey 905.549.0454 editor@collisionrepairmag.com ASSISTANT EDITOR Mike Pickford 905.370.0101 michael@mediamatters.ca

A

fter just returning from the annual NACE show and getting ready for the pulsepounding SEMA show, I can tell you with total confidence there has never been a better time to be part of the collision repair industry. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran, just starting out or simply contemplating a career, there is a myriad of exciting things coming down the pipe. Painting and repairing may still be the mainstay, but the way things are done is changing at breakneck speed.

you meet. Try hard to never be the smartest person in the room. There’s always something you can learn from anyone. Take this time as you start to take advantage of the knowledge and experience of those around you. In fact, this is a good rule to live by, even if you are an experienced tech. We all can learn and now is the time to start. Bodyworx Professional can help. In your hands is a magazine completely geared towards production pros working in the collision repair and vehicle customization industries,

HOLD ON TIGHT! IT’S GOING TO BE ONE HECK OF A RIDE. For example, blind spot warnings that used to be options on highend cars are now standard on entry levels. Such accident avoidance features are now sales value addons. New car buyers are no longer asking about connectivity, they’re demanding it. New technologies are being built into cars that make them more like “all things connected” technologically advanced transport devices. All combined, we are looking at a technological revolution in repair. If you’re in it, you’re there - and if you’re not, you may want to take a good hard look. Lab coats, tablets and 3D scanning tools are no longer in the domain of science fiction. They are the tools you need to get that car back on the road safely and securely. The keys to success are dedication, passion and a thirst to learn. If you’re just starting out, take a look around you and learn from everyone that

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as well as post-secondary students thinking of entering the field. Here you will find a celebration of professional technicians and painters, showcasing their pride, professionalism, passion and skill. Today’s techs are highly skilled, well trained, and qualified to work in an advancing high-tech industry where quality and safety are of the very highest priorities. Technology in the auto industry is advancing at an incredible pace. As such, academics, certification and frequent upgrades are needed to make sure technical skills are ahead of the curve. If this is what motivates you, take all the training you can and then hold on tight! It’s going to be one heck of a ride.

CREATIVE DEPARTMENT Michelle Miller 905.370.0101 michelle@mediamatters.ca STAFF WRITER Jeff Sanford jeff@collisionrepairmag.com VP INDUSTRY RELATIONS & ADVERTISING Gloria Mann 647.998.5677 advertising@collisionrepairmag.com DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING Ellen Smith 416.312.7446 ellen@mediamatters.ca CONTRIBUTORS  Michael Carcone, Justin Jimmo

SUBSCRIPTION One-year $29.95 / Two-year $49.95

Bodyworx Professional™ is published bi-monthly, and is dedicated to serving the business interests of the collision repair industry. It is published by Media Matters Inc. Material in Bodyworx Professional™ may not be reproduced in any form without written consent from the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to refuse any advertising and disclaims all responsibilities for claims or statements made by its advertisers or independent columnists. All facts, opinions, statements appearing in this publication are those of the writers and editors themselves, and are in no way to be construed as statements, positions or endorsements by the publisher. PRINTED IN CANADA ISSN 1707-6072 CANADA POST CANADIAN PUBLICATIONS MAIL SALES PRODUCT AGREEMENT No. 40841632 RETURN POSTAGE GUARANTEED Send change of address notices and undeliverable copies to: 86 John Street Thornhill, ON L3T 1Y2

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Bodyworx Professional is published by Media Matters Inc., publishers of:


NEWS

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Auto Electric Service demos 3M Perfect-It at Wheat Country Motors There’s no denying the contributions local jobbers and distributors make when it comes to educating shop owners, technicians and other staff on the latest products. They also fill a vital role in passing on the proper techniques to get the most out of the latest innovations. John Veresuk and Rick Shaw recently paid a visit to the detail department at Wheat Country Motors, located in Regina. The purpose of the visit was to demonstrate proper polishing procedures using 3M Perfect-It products. Veresuk and Shaw are with Auto Electric Service, a company selling auto parts, equipment, automotive paint and industrial coatings & supplies. Auto Electric Service serves the industry through locations in Regina, Yorkton, Weyburn and Estevan. The company also owns and operates Mainline Fleet Service in Regina. “Using the 3M Perfect-It products, we compounded and polished a Ford truck to a like new high-gloss finish,” says Shaw. The demo session also included two new 3M products: Inspection Spray and Glass Polishing Compound. “You use Inspection Spray to inspect surfaces for remaining sand scratches that might be left after compounding. Painters often refer to this as ‘die-back,’” says Veresuk. “Inspection Spray makes any scratches or other defects really jump out. That means you can take the necessary steps to correct them, before handing the vehicle back to the customer.”

John Veresuk demos the 3M Perfect-It system at Wheat Country Motors.

That’s an obvious benefit to anyone who values customer service, but there’s also the value of not having to repeat work at some future date. “Your cycle time is going to take a hit if you have to repeat work that you haven’t planned for,” says Shaw. “It’s better if you can catch it before the car leaves the shop.” Finally, Veresuk and Shaw demonstrated the use of 3M’s Glass Polishing Compound to polish up the chrome and glass. For more information on Auto Electric Service, please visit autoelectricservice.com. For more information on 3M products, please visit 3M.ca/collisionrepair.

CDS officially launches asTech2 diagnostic tool Collision Diagnostic Services (CDS) has announced the official release of its next generation asTech2 diagnostic tool. A statement from CDS says the new asTech2 device will cover nearly all makes and models, 2008 and newer. In addition to launching a new mobile app, the company also added new features that include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability. The asTech2 device was awarded 2nd place in the collision repair and refinish product categor y at the new product showcase at this past year’s SEMA show. The company said in a statement that it had received a significant number of pre-orders for the product as a result, the majority of which have already been filled. “The next generation asTech2 device represents a significant step forward in our company’s pursuit to provide the best diagnostic ser vices to the collision repair industr y,” said Dan Young, VP Sales and Marketing for CDS. “With today’s vehicles, it is becoming increasingly difficult to perform a proper repair without the help of trained specialists in the area of diagnostics.” The AsTech2 is available in Canada through Precision Marketing. For more information, please visit astech.com.

OCTOBER 2016    BODYWORX PROFESSIONAL

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NEWS

SikaPower line expands with SikaPower-477 R Sika Automotive has added a new “crash-durable” structural repair adhesive to its SikaPower line. The new product, SikaPower-477 R, is designed for aftermarket body shop repair applications. According to Sika Automotive, the new adhesives delivers performance similar to that of adhesives applied during OEM assembly. High mechanical properties help to ensure the vehicle can be restored to its original condition without any compromise of structural integrity. A statement from Sika Automotive says the new SikaPower-477 R provides excellent adhesion with a wide range of substrates including steel, aluminum and carbon fibre reinforced plastic, which allows for high-quality aftermarket structural and crashresistant repair service. Sika’s body shop adhesives are fully compatible with lightweight aluminum and plastics. SikaPower-477 R is a two-component structural adhesive based on epoxy/amine technology, which features a new generation of proprietar y tougheners that the company says reduce crack sensitivity and improve crash performance. The new adhesive can be applied with a standard onecomponent gun at room temperature. The product cures chemically, and has a relatively long open time of approximately 60 minutes. This allows for additional process operation steps, such as welding or riveting.

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Shurhold Industries introduces the One Bucket System

Cutaway views of the One Bucket System, including the optional Bucket Base.

Shurhold Industries made a bold claim in 2015 when the company introduced what it called the “World’s Best Bucket.” The company has recently raised the stakes even further, introducing its new One Bucket System. The 5 Gallon Rope Handle Bucket features a soft, ¾-inch braided nylon rope handle. Unlike a metal handle, there’s no chance it will rust or damage delicate vehicle finishes. The One Bucket System features a removable Bucket Grate that’s elevated from the bottom of the pail. The system also includes two built-in 3 oz. measuring cups for accurate proportioning of cleaning products and a Bucket Caddy for storing bottles, tools and supplies. The Bucket Caddy fits inside the bucket for storage and features an integrated handle. It snaps onto the bucket’s rim to keep the whole thing secure. It’s also padded, allowing it to be used as a seat. The Bucket Base helps to keep the One Bucket System from tipping, and is constructed from soft rubber to avoid scratches and slipping.


NEWS

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‘Counting Cars’ TV show and Matrix Automotive Finishes team up for sixth season

The sixth season of History Channel Canada’s hugely popular ‘Counting Cars’ hit screens across the country in August.

With the sixth season of the hugely popular History Channel reality TV series ‘Counting Cars’ hitting screens across Canada this summer, avid watchers of the show may have noticed a familiar brand returning to the fold for yet another year. Matrix Automotive Finishes, a subsidiary of Valspar Automotive, is once again the official paint provider of the show, which follows the work of Danny “The Count” Koker and his team at Count’s Kustoms as they attempt to transform old, run-down beaters into custom, souped-up hot rods. Having enjoyed a long working relationship with the shop over the years, Valspar representative Laura Yerkey noted the brand enjoyed partnering up with Koker once again on this latest season of the show. “Our history with Count’s Kustoms goes way back … long before they were famous,” Yerkey said. “Danny’s shop and specialty painter, Ryan Evans, have been using Matrix for more than a decade. They continually create world-renowned paint jobs with Matrix.” Evans was instrumental in bringing Matrix on board five seasons ago. After bouncing from company to company for several different products year after year, Evans decided enough was enough and so he began searching for one supplier to provide everything the shop would need moving forward. “I’ve used just about every manufacturer’s paint (over the years),” Evans said. “Sixteen years ago, at Count’s Kustoms, we were lost. We didn’t know who to use. We used this company’s base, that company’s primer, and another company’s clear. Nobody wants to do that. Everybody really wants to work with one system because they’re all made to go with each other.” Apparently, Evans liked what he saw in Matrix. “I started with clearcoats, then as time went on (Matrix) started bringing me basecoats and (they) knocked it out of the park. Their sealers, same thing. This was starting to really build into a solid system from bare metal up. Then I saw their custom colours and was blown away. (They) can make you anything you want – candies, pearls, multi-layer tri-stages. Finally, I found that complete system that covers everything.” The new season of ‘Counting Cars’ kicked off on History Channel Canada on August 29.

OCTOBER 2016    BODYWORX PROFESSIONAL

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INDUSTRY INSIGHT

SOCIAL PRESENCE Start building your brand now! BY MICHAEL CARCONE

H

ow are you at social media? Today’s generation of new car owners eat, live and breathe social media. Remember “Generation X?” The media used to tout them as the first generation with computer literacy and technological savvy sort of “builtin.” If history remembers them, though, it will probably be as the last generation born into the pre-internet era. The “millenials” were the generation that followed. They’re young enough that they’re just starting to make their

through the use of drones, you can video your operation and provide a bird’s eye view of what you do. In the past, the best you could do was take some still photos and place them in a brochure. Then you’d have to pay for printing and distribution. The virtual advertising opportunities are endless and allow you to say so much more, at a fraction of the cost. These opportunities are open to you not just as a business owner. Techs and painters can share their work (make sure

access as the first day they were posted. Your social media presence is a form of customer service. People want it to be easy to do business. The easier you make it, the more likely they will be to do business with you instead of someone else. You can use social media to knock down barriers that exist between you and your customer. Today’s generation would rather pick up their smart phone or place their order online than pick up a phone and speak to a live person. It’s not because they’re shy. They just see the convenience. The more you can offer in this area, the better off you’ll be. Knowing your way around social media and the online environment will look good to any of your future employers, or potential investors in a business. The more you can offer today, the more it will benefit you in the future. At the very least, start getting some education on the best ways to use social media. This doesn’t have to be in a classroom. There are plenty of

A GOOD REPUTATION THESE DAYS STARTS ONLINE. presence felt as car owners, in part because they don’t seem as inclined as previous generations to own their own vehicles. That’s part of what makes it so important to communicate with the millenials who do own cars. And they live online. Your social media presence is important to furthering your career. It’s even more important if you either own your business or want to one day. Your future clients are on social media. A good reputation these days starts online. A bad reputation does too, so watch what you say and put out into the world. Social media can be helpful or it could be harmful. It’s up to you. Think about starting your own YouTube channel. Today’s technology makes it easier than ever before to produce a high-quality video. The possibilities are even more exciting if you’re a business owner. Today,

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to keep the client’s identifying info, like their license plate, out of anything you do). How about a short how-to video? The public desires this information. You may wind up with a few fans. If nothing else, current and future employers will know that you think ahead and are onboard with digital technology. Today if you satisfy your customer, they can reward you by giving you a great review. On the flip side, if you do not perform to a client’s expectation, they can also give you a poor review. This is the modern version of word of mouth. There are two really obvious differences. The first one is reach. Word of mouth used to be limited to friends and family. Stories of bad service would be passed on, sure, but the reach was very limited and details would soon be forgotten. The details are never forgotten online. They’re always there, just as easy to

resources you can access, for free, that will teach you how to build your own personal brand through social media. Looking just to my own business of auto recycling, we’re now able to offer our customers the ability to place orders online simply by clicking links, and we have an app that allows our customers to check for inventory. Our goal is to make it easy to do business with us. I strongly recommend you do the same. Michael Carcone is the co-owner of Carcone’s Auto Recycling and Wheel Refinishing, located in Aurora, Ont. He can be reached via his company’s website at carcone.com.


OCTOBER 2015  COLLISION REPAIR  11


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CUSTOMIZER PROFILE

JF Launier and the customized 1967 Pontiac Acadian, Andiamo. JF Kustoms took two awards at the Grand National Roadster Show with this build.

T

he Don Ridler Memorial Award is probably the most coveted honour in the custom car world. When JF Launier won in 2014, he was the first Canadian to do so in nearly 40 years. Launier is the owner/operator of JF Kustoms in Osoyoos, BC. The award is given every year at the Detroit Autorama. Launier is no stranger to the event. In fact, his entries in past years have made it into the “Great Eight” list of finalists three times. The car he eventually won with, Rivision, is a radically customized 1964 Buick Riviera. It’s a beautiful machine, although we’d expect nothing less from a Ridler Award contender. What makes this entry almost unique in the annals of the Detroit Autorama is that Launier funded the construction himself.

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“The winners are usually built on commission for somebody who’s got three or four million dollars to play with,” says Launier. “A really rich guy will have some sort of vision for a car, and he’ll find a builder who can do it. Rivision was different. I’m the only builder in the last 40 years to win with my own car.” Before you head off to your shop with stars in your eyes, you should probably know that building the car took an enormous toll on Launier. “It took me 22,000 hours spread over six years,” he says. “I got hives from the stress. By the end, I was working 20 hours a day for a solid year to get that car finished. When it came time to win, I was burned right out. It’s not like winning the lottery.”


CUSTOMIZER PROFILE

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JF Kustoms in Osoyoos, British Columbia, surrounded by mountains and water. It’s a dramatic setting for dramatic builds.

This doesn’t even mention the money that he had to pour into Rivision to take it to that level. The investment paid off with accolades and a certain amount of fame. Reputation means a lot for a custom car builder. There’s only so much work to go around, and the higher your profile, the more likely you will be to land commissions. Launier made headlines again early in 2015. His 1967 Pontiac Acadian, “Andiamo,” won two awards at the Grand National Roadster Show (GNRS), held in Pomona, Calif. Now in its 67th year, GNRS is the longest running indoor car show in the world. With more than 500 vehicles competing, you had better believe competition was stiff, but “Andiamo” took dual prizes for Best Street Machine and Best in Class.

It takes a long time to build a reputation. However, it’s entirely possible that Launier’s wins in recent years are contributing factors to his relatively recent decision to go into the custom business on a full-time basis. “I sold my mechanical business and now I’m going full-time,” he says. “We were only in the business for about 11 years before we won the Ridler.” Launier’s journey into the custom car world started when he was relatively young. “I was 13 when I bought my old pickup,” he says. “Really, I wanted to fix up an old car, but the pickup became available.”

Two views of Andiamo. The customized 1967 Pontiac Acadian is painted with R-M’s Sakhir Orange. The colour shifts depending on your angle, from orange to red to copper.

OCTOBER 2016    BODYWORX PROFESSIONAL

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CUSTOMIZER PROFILE

JF Launier and Rivision at the Detroit Autorama. Launier and his crew took home the coveted Ridler Award in 2014 with this stunning custom Buick Riviera.

“Reputation means a lot for a custom car builder. There’s only so much work to go around.” Although his father was mechanically inclined, Launier was largely self-taught in those early years. “I started taking things apart and figuring out how they worked. There was nobody around to help me, so I just started figuring it out,” he says. “Straight out of high school, I started working at a body shop and became a journeyman painter.” He worked in the body shop for about three years before starting his own business. His first business was in the automotive field, but about as far from building hot rods as it’s possible to get. “I started a used car lot, because I knew I wanted to be in business for myself,” he says. It wasn’t exactly a triumphant success. “It failed, but I started a wrecking yard. From there, I got more and more into building cool cars.” When he spoke to Bodyworx Professional, Launier and his team were engaged in some “metal sorcery” on a ’65 Nova.

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“We’re swapping in a ’67 Corvair roof. That’s a commission job,” he says. A steady flow of commission work is a necessity to running a custom shop. Launier has some advice for techs and painters who aspire to try their hand at the custom business. “Keep it as a hobby. A lot of guys try to start up and five years later they’ve lost everything,” he says. “I think if you’ve got a love for the cars, and a love for the industry, testing yourself by being creative is a really great outlet. If you get to the point where you’ve got a lot of people coming to you to get work done, then maybe considering switching to full-time.” All of the work that comes out of JF Kustoms is painted with BASF products. “BASF has been a very strong supporter for the last 10 years,” says Launier. “They offer great support and great product.”


CUSTOMIZER PROFILE

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Mike Richens does some work on Andiamo’s undercarriage, in the build-up to the car’s debut at the Grand National Roadster Show.

Two more views of Andiamo. A custom build takes vision, sweat and in the case of commissions, a lot of consultation.

Michael Kukura is a technical representative with BASF, based out of Vancouver. He’s helped supply JF Kustoms with coatings for nine years. According to Launier, Kukura is an incredible painter. Kukura was working the BASF booth at the SEMA Show in 2015, with JF Kustoms’ Andiamo as one of the display pieces. Andiamo was finished with BASF’s R-M Onyx HD. “It’s actually a BMW colour called Sakhir Orange. It changes, from orange to red to copper, depending on how you view it,” he says. “I’ve known JF for a long time now, and I know he puts a lot of himself into every single build.” There’s a lot of stress to working in the custom field. Launier’s

experience with Rivision may have been more stressful than most. But make no mistake: it’s the sort of stress that comes from pouring your heart and soul into something you love. “I’ve had lots of great experiences and it was probably one of the greatest,” he says. “How did we get there? A lot of friends and a lot of family gave us their support. Retired guys would just show up to help, and spend a year and a half building the car with us. It was definitely a ‘we’ effort, not just a ‘me’. It was an incredible emotional commitment, but looking back, we can say ‘We did all this?’ It was worth it in the end.” For more information, please visit jfkustoms.com.

OCTOBER 2016    BODYWORX PROFESSIONAL

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TECH TALK

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There’s something awe-inspiring about a classic car that looks like it just came out of the dealer’s showroom, but it can take a lot of skill, time and determination to get it there.

THE BASICS OF FABRICATION MAKING YOUR OWN PARTS COMBINES ANCIENT TECHNIQUE AND MODERN EQUIPMENT. BY RICK FRANCOUER

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n the body shop industry, part of the job relies on the skill of re-creation. In fact, much of what top tier auto body techs achieve on a daily basis is really something that combines medieval-era metal working skills with extremely sophisticated modern day equipment. Here at 360 Fabrication, one of our more interesting projects currently in the shop is the rotisserie restoration of a 1956 Oldsmobile Super Rocket 88. The owner of this cool 50’s era ride found the car in Memphis. Like many of today’s cars collectors, she is looking for a show-worthy level restoration. When the car first arrived at the shop the fenders looked

badly rusted. But when it came back from glass beading it was actually worse than it first appeared! If you’re not familiar with glass beading, it’s a process where surface deposits, like paint, are removed by applying tiny glass beads to the surface at high pressure. At our shop we prefer glass beading to sand blasting, because it is a finer substance and results in less damage to the metal panel. As soon as the panel is back from glass beading, it needs to go directly to the paint shop for etching, as the raw metal is very vulnerable. Even the oils from the fabricator’s hands will leave rust marks on the newly blasted panel. OCTOBER 2016  BODYWORX PROFESSIONAL  17


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TECH TALK

The condition the car arrived in the shop. The paint is obviously in poor shape, but the metal underneath turned out to be in less than mint condition as well. Time to call in the fabricator!

Another view of an unretouched panel. It’s hard to believe the show-ready car we’ve already seen was once in such a state!

“The 1956 Oldsmobile Super Rocket 88 is a relative rarity … This meant sourcing a replacement part was impossible.” The 1956 Oldsmobile Super Rocket 88 is a relative rarity, compared to the high production numbers of its Chevy counterpart in the same year. This meant sourcing a replacement part was impossible. This is where the fabricator enters the picture. The fabricator begins the labour intensive job of recreating the fenders in a way that would be undetectable to even the most advanced car aficionado. The first step is to create the lower section templates and lay out the new patterns in the same gauge metal. In the case of the Rocket 88, this is 18-gauge. This part can be very tricky, and many shops today lack the sophisticated fabrication tools to do the job correctly. The second step is for the fabricator to use a shear, break and a band saw to work the metal into the correct shape.

In step three, the fabricator will then shape and weld the new piece into place and grind down the welds. Next, the fender goes back to glass beading. Each panel is then hand hammered and dollied to ensure that they are smooth, then filled to ensure no repairs can be seen. Filler is then used on both sides of the panel to ensure none of the repair is visible. The key here is to make it look indistinguishable from the way the original part would have looked. Although this is a relatively basic repair, if it’s done wrong it is one of the most obvious misses in the car restoration business.

Depending on the state of the vehicle, a restoration will need as much or more of a tear-down than a repair job.

Take exceptional care around bare metal. Even the oil from your hands can cause corrosion. Restoration is about achieving the client’s desires, and that desire is usually for perfection.

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Rick Francouer is the co-owner of 360 Fabrication, a custom shop in Abbotsford, BC.


PROFILES OF SUCCESS

OCTOBER 2015  COLLISION REPAIR  19


INDUSTRY EVENT

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BUILDING SKILLS ORGANIZERS DECLARE NACE 2016 BEST IN ITS HISTORY. BY MIKE PICKFORD

Ray Odette of ASET conducting a training session at NACE 2016. The event offers numerous opportunities for training.

There are many educational sessions at NACE, ranging from hands-on demos to classroom oriented sessions.

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ACE should be on the list of events to attend at least once for everyone in the collision repair industry. Charlie Matus is with JG’s Collision in Prince Albert, Sask. He says he was incredibly impressed by all the information presented throughout the course of the six-hour event. “We come to NACE every second year and this is by far better than the earlier ones we attended in Las Vegas,” Matus said. “It’s nice to see the show so vibrant, with lots of interesting conference materials and new items on the show floor.” Setting up shop in Anaheim, Calif., from August 9 to 13, NACE welcomed well over 8,000 collision and service repair professionals from across the globe through its doors at the Anaheim Convention Centre, offering up five-day’s worth of fullon industry action. With annual premier events such as the MSO Symposium, Technology and Telematics Forum, Collision Industry Conference and, of course, the Expo itself returning to much acclaim, it was several additional educational items such as the various complimentary OEM certification training programs and hot-button topic debates that brought so much attention to NACE this year. It has long been said that the event has essentially served

Gloria Mann of Bodyworx Professional and Paul Stella of Toyota at one of the Toyota displays. This “body-in-white” style display featured colour coded parts to help showcase the materials used in the vehicle’s construction.

as a “buying show,” providing those in attendance with the perfect platform in which to promote their business. While that aspect of the exhibit has not been lost, with more vendors than ever setting up shop on the showroom floor—228 this year, up from 189 in Detroit last time out—there has definitely been an added impetus placed on the teaching and learning facet of the business in recent years. In addressing the show as a whole at the heart of the show floor on August 11, one of the men behind the annual event, Automotive Service Association (ASA) President and Executive Director Dan Risley, said he felt a significant amount of the unrivalled success of this year’s event could be attributed directly to this change in direction. That was a sentiment shared by several industry members in attendance, with Kevin Taylor, of the Regina-based Taylor Automotive Group, telling Bodyworx Professional that he was “blown away” by some of the things on show at NACE. “NACE has always been one of those bucket list things for me – I’ve seen it come up every year and always thought it would be nice to attend and boy did it ever live up to the billing,” Taylor said. “I was very, very impressed with the educational side of the show.” OCTOBER 2016  BODYWORX PROFESSIONAL  21


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INDUSTRY EVENT

Matt Gibson of Titanium Tools & Equipment discusses the Miracle System with one of the attendees.

Jason Bartanen and Dan Schwarz of I-CAR. I-CAR courses were a popular draw throughout the event.

Gordon Michael and Tim Morgan of Spanesi Americas conduct a demonstration of the Touch measuring system.

A LOOK AT THE FUTURE The event had barely gotten underway before the first of many educational seminar sessions kicked off on the opening day of the event, with many of those in attendance highlighting Greg Horn’s discussion on the immediate future of the collision repair industry as one of particular interest. In the presentation, Horn, of Mitchell Industry Trends, analyzed the change in the Canadian and US buyers market, with consumers seemingly moving away from purchasing regular passenger cars in favour of bigger, bulkier models. The switch, Horn claims, could be attributed to reduced fuel costs over the past few months, with customers no longer focusing too much on the mileage they’re getting from their vehicles. “I got a quote from Toyota recently stating that they wouldn’t be surprised if RAV 4 sales actually outpaced Camry sales in

the US in the near future. The top selling car in Canada used to be the Honda Civic, but for the first six months of this year it was overtaken by the Hyundai Elantra, and (Honda’s) CRV isn’t too far behind,” Horn said. “We’re very close to that changeover, we could realistically see the CRV outsell the Civic in Canada.” The end result of this could see more or less work for collision repairers moving forward, depending on certain variables and each shop’s primary line of work. “If you look at most crossover SUVs, their bumper assemblies are literally almost a third of the front end of the car. What will happen is shops will potentially see more refinish hours than they would with a passenger car … However the offset may be that fewer parts are damaged. It’s going to be a pretty significant change,” Horn said.

COMPLIMENTARY OEM TRAINING

“There has definitely been an added impetus placed on the teaching and learning facet of the business in recent years.” OEM SCANNING FORUM Another of those sessions that garnered much attention was a discussion between several OEM and insurance representatives regarding the perceived importance of scanning vehicles before and after a repair job. Following hot on the heels of similar announcements from the likes of Honda, Nissan and Toyota in recent months, it appeared both General Motors and Audi would soon be following suit in backing the push to carry out pre and post collision repair scans, with John Eck of GM and Mark Allen of Audi each stating how crucial they feel the procedures are. “Once the vehicle has been in an accident, it needs to be scanned pre and post (repair), Allen told moderator Mike Anderson of Collision Advice. “We don’t have a position statement yet, but we will.” Eck said simply that GM was “aggressively working” on getting a position statement out sooner rather than later.

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Sometimes the best way to educate yourself is to jump right in and engage in a little hands-on learning. That’s exactly what several OEMs in attendance gave people the opportunity to do as they held several complimentary training sessions over the course of the two-day Expo extravaganza. Top-level technicians representing Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Audi of America, American Honda, General Motors and Toyota were on hand as each organization held between two and three sessions in which they offered to walk dozens of attending collision repair professionals through a number of new programs. Taking part in several of those sessions was Kevin Taylor, body shop manager at Taylor Auto Group. He said he gained so much from attending the individual training programs that he’s already looking forward to attending NACE next year. “It became pretty clear to me through speaking to different people at NACE and attending different training and educational sessions that we’re going through a pretty big transition period in the collision repair industry,” Taylor said. “Everything is changing at a much quicker pace than it has done in the past due to evolving technologies and everything involved in repairing new types of materials and new electrical systems, so in that respect a lot of what was on offer was great.” NACE 2017 will take place at the World Congress Centre in Atlanta, Georgia from August 2 to 4 in 2017.


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TECH TALK

JEEP TO MINI-TRUCK

By Justin Jimmo Technical Support Supervisor

USING A BODY KIT CAN PROVIDE A CUSTOM LOOK AT A FRACTION OF THE PRICE. 1. The first step was disassembly. This is an obvious starting point for further modification. To begin, we removed the rear doors, molding, wiring, tailgate and a good portion of the interior. 2. This is where the fun really begins! Now that we had the disassembly complete, we cut out the roll bars, rockers, quarters and pillars. I think it’s worth mentioning here that we used a genuine Mopar kit, so the fitting was actually pretty good. This may not be the case with those cheap kits you see on eBay. In my experience, they don’t fit well and you have to do a lot of work to get them to fit properly. Frankly, I don’t think there’s much point in saving a few dollars if it costs you a lot of labour time. There’s no mistaking this converted Jeep for a stock model. The conversion to a mini pick-up was done with a Mopar body kit.

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here’s definitely something to be said for a complete custom build, but there’s also a lot to be said for using an off-the-shelf body kit. The process is usually much easier, and the price point is such that more people can afford these sorts of modifications. In this article, we look at how we used a body kit to transform a 2014 Jeep into a mini pick-up. The Jeep and the Mopar body kit were both provided by a Chrysler dealership. Overall, this customized jeep took several weeks to complete, with all panels welded in place. We spent between 200 and 300 hours doing the conversion.

The first stage is disassembly. New pieces are going on, so old pieces must come off.

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3. Next, we dry fitted all the metal and lined it up to ensure everything fits 100 percent before welding the metal in place. This is essential. You really don’t want to weld a panel on and then realize it’s not precisely where you want it. I was a little surprised that they didn’t specify the use of panel bonding adhesive in place of welding at any point during the installation. The OEM specified welding everywhere, so that’s what we did. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for the best results.

The new box is on, and it’s time to apply filler to level out any imperfections left by the welds.


TECH TALK

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“This customized jeep took several weeks to complete, with all panels welded in place.” 4. Once we had the dry fit done, we coated the metal in weld-through primer before welding. The welds all needed to be ground down afterwards, and in some cases, filler needed to be applied to smooth it out. 5. Once the box was roughed out, it was time to apply some primer to smooth it out and level any imperfections. 6. We did the painting in a few steps. First, we sprayed the inside part of the cab. This allowed us to insert a divider between the cab and bed. At this point, we needed to apply some seam sealer to keep water from leaking into the cab. Finally, a JK-8 badge was added to denote the Jeep’s modified status.

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TECH TALK

The painting was done in stages, with the cab interior sprayed first to allow for the insertion of a divider.

7. Next we painted the box, inside and out, in one shot. It was a bit of a risky way to do it, but it turned out really good. The shop decided to use Axalta Cromax waterborne for the basecoat, and 8300 series clearcoat. We painted the roof and blended the colour into the doors afterwards. 8. Last, but certainly not least, it’s time to put it all back together. The roof was a bit problematic, but after a little bit of playing around we had it fitting well. 9. The final addition was the JK-8 badge, which clearly identifies this as a modified Jeep for anyone who couldn’t tell otherwise. 10. After a bit of cleaning up, the modified Jeep was sent back to the dealership’s showroom, and eventually to a customer who wants something out of the ordinary. 26

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REFINISH

>>>

CLASSIC TAPE

SHADING

MITCH LANZINI LAYS IT OUT STEP-BY-STEP.

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ou may recognize Mitch Lanzini from his appearances on over 25 episodes of the TV program Overhaulin’. The show frequently has the crew complete a custom in a single week. While Lanzini can’t recommend that sort of pace for the daily grind, he is very proud of the work he’s accomplished for the show. “When you have the pressure on, it’s amazing what you can get done,” he says. Lanzini is the owner of Lanzini Body Works in Huntington Beach, Calif. You can check out his method for creating a classic tape shading effect below. Lanzini says this technique is ideal for beginning painters looking to build confidence. “It’s so, so easy, doesn’t take much time and the effect is cool,” he says. It’s a high-power contrast of unexpected colours and freeflowing shapes with symmetrical lines and steady gun work. “To me, tape shading is an old lowrider or hot rod type of effect,” says Lanzini. “I picture Larry Watson or Barris using this technique in the ‘50s or ‘60s.” He also believes his paint of choice, the Envirobase High Performance waterborne basecoat system from PPG, is ideal for this effect. “That’s the thing with this paint, it shades so nicely. It’s great for shadows and blends.” Check out Lanzini’s technique below. For more information on Lanzini Body Works, please visit lanzinibodyworks.com.

Mitch Lanzini lays down classic tape shading. It’s a cool effect that Lanzini says doesn’t take much to master.

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REFINISH

1. Laying the Framework — To create a base for the colour to pop against, Lanzini sprays a coat of White (T400) and then a coat of White Pearl (T453) with Tinted Clear Additive (T490) (1:9 ratio). Once dry, he masks his design. The irregular shapes feel like puzzle pieces, creating a 60s vibe.

2. White Gutter — To deliniate the tape shade sections, Lanzini masks a gutter in the design. This will create a wide, white stripe between the colours for extra pop.

3. Taping for Purple Shades — Lanzini lays out the bars using 1.5-inch tape, which gives plenty of room for shadowing. “For a sharper edge, I overlapped the tape about an eighth of an inch to avoid any bleed.”

4. Spraying Purple Shades — Lanzini uses a SATA 4400B Mini Jet with 1.2 air cap at 20 psi for spraying the tape shades. The colour is Violet (T443) with Tinted Clear Additive (T490) (1:9 ratio).

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REFINISH

>>>

5. Remove Tape — After shading a line, Lanzini removes a row of tape and shoots the next. A steady, even spray is vital for a consistent pattern.

6. Green Shade Blends — Lanzini uses the same process for the next section, painted in Green (T430) with Tinted Clear Additive (T490) (1:9 ratio).

7. Yellow Strips — Notice that these stripes are perpendicular to the purple and green stripes and adds some nice directional contrast. The colour is Yellow (T429) with Tinted Clear Additive (T490) (1:9 ratio).

8. Final Product — Lanzini finishes the project by clearing it with ONE VISIT Appearance Clearcoat (EC-750). “I love the EC750.It’s really fast. Bam! Bam! You’re done.”

OCTOBER 2016  BODYWORX PROFESSIONAL  31


CAREER PROFILE

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TECHNICIAN TO

HIGH TECH BY MIKE DAVEY

Mike Gilliland of AutoHouse Technologies parlayed shop experience into providing business intelligence.

Mike Gilliland of AutoHouse Technologies.

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ou can’t make good decisions without the right information. Since 2002, AutoHouse Technologies has been providing collision repair facilities with the intelligence they need to run their businesses as efficiently and as profitably as possible. The company was founded in 2002, but the story starts much earlier than that. Mike Gilliland is the President and founder of AutoHouse Technologies. His introduction to the autobody world came in the early 1980s, when he was still in high school. “It was something I was always interested in,” he says. “As a teenager, I started out working part-time in a couple of shops. After I graduated from high school, I went full-time.” Gilliland grew up in Palmerston, Ont., a small community north of Kitchener-Waterloo. Big city life has its attractions, but there are definite advantages to be gained from working in shops located in smaller communities. For one thing, you get to know your customers very well. For another, it’s often a chance to learn new skills and stretch your capabilities. OCTOBER 2016    BODYWORX PROFESSIONAL

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CAREER PROFILE “I worked in three different shops when I was still on the floor,” says Gilliland. “Being in a small community, you essentially learn how to do everything. You’ll do the body work, prep, and paint. Very often you would take a job from start to finish on your own.” This may not always be the case in today’s industry, but it was very common when Gilliland was starting out on the floor. This is an advantage for a working technician or painter, even if they later move to a shop that has more rigidly set roles. A cross-trained technician is one who appreciates and understands everyone’s role, and the skill and effort it can take to achieve high-quality results. There’s at least one more advantage: you can gain a better understanding of the process as a whole, and develop a deeper understanding of exactly what it takes to turn a damaged car back into a safe, road worthy and good looking vehicle. This deeper understanding of the “keys-to-keys” process is essential to a technician who wants to own or manage a collision repair facility at some point in their career. It’s just as essential for a technician who wants to apply their problem-solving skills to another sector in the automotive claims economy. After several years on the floor, Gilliland followed a path not uncommon for an experienced tech. He became an automotive physical damage appraiser, first with Impact Automotive Appraisers in Elmira, Ont., and later for Auto Claimco, based out of Toronto. It’s an obvious move for a technician to make. The job itself teaches you what to look for when examining a collision-damaged vehicle, and experience as a technician means you already know how to “talk shop” with both repairers and their counterparts on the insurance side. “I was looking for something a little bit different,” says Gilliland. “I already had the experience in writing estimates, and I knew I liked the front end of the shop.” Gilliland spent six years in the appraisal business before moving to ADP. Younger readers may only know ADP as a payroll company, and might think this was an odd move. However, those initials

as a shop-side sales representative,” says Gilliland. He’s made British Columbia his home ever since, although the demands of AutoHouse Technologies frequently keep him travelling. At the time Gilliland made the move to BC, ADP’s estimating system had proved to be very popular. Soon after, the company had signed a deal with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), the province’s government-owned insurance agency. With ICBC signed, Gilliland decided to make a move back to the shop side. He managed several stores for Kirmac Collision, a multistore operation based out of British Columbia. However, it appeared that Gilliland’s time with a high-tech company

“A cross-trained technician is one who appreciates and understands everyone’s role.” originally stood for Automatic Data Processing, and there was a time when the company was heavily invested in claims management. Space limitations prevent us from going into all the twists and turns in the history of ADP, but suffice it to say that the company sold the ADP Claims Services Group to Solera Holdings in 2006. Solera is a huge company, but they’re likely best known in the Canadian collision repair space as the company behind Audatex Canada. The company is still very active in automotive claims as a provider of software, management and estimating systems. “I went to work for ADP just around the time when electronic estimating was starting to come out,” says Gilliland. It was an exciting time to be a part of the business. New software tools and repair processes were increasing efficiency, and new markets were being opened up. “ADP wanted to open up western Canada, so I came out to BC

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had gotten into his blood. He soon got back into the technology sector, working for a company called Carstation.com. Gilliland was working on the software and sales side of the company, with a territory covering western Canada and the states of Washington and Alaska. This was at the time of the so-called dot-com bubble, when numerous companies sprung up in the technology sector. It was a heady time, when it often seemed to the average person on the street that the Internet could do just about anything, but especially make people rich overnight. Numerous investors flocked to the hightech start-ups, nearly drowning them in cash. It was something of a Golden Age … until the bubble burst. “During the dot-com bust, they kind of imploded,” recalls Gilliland. However, his time with the company certainly wasn’t wasted. “At one time, they were considering building a business intelligence solution for collision repairers.”


CAREER PROFILE

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It could be said that everything in his life was leading up to this moment. Business intelligence relies on organizing raw data. In some ways, you can think of it as a way to figure out what a company knows, but doesn’t know that it knows. Gilliland knew that collision repair facilities were consolidating, and that many of them had access to mountains of raw data that could help them to become more efficient if it could be organized and made more accessible. The insurance industry had access to reams of data, but many of the operators in insurance are global companies with hundreds or thousands of employees and the resources to match. In other words, their business intelligence solutions were often developed in-house. Gilliland felt the collision industry could benefit from the same sort of intelligence, but he also knew that an individual operator may not be able to invest the enormous amount of resources needed to exploit it properly. “An insurance company could spend a lot on a big IT project without breaking the bank, but for a shop to use data effectively … there really wasn’t anything available,” says Gilliland. There soon would be. Gilliland started AutoHouse Technologies to fill that gap, and provide shops with the information they needed to do business in the most efficient and effective way possible. This wasn’t necessarily a solution for the Mike Gilliland (right) at NACE 2016 in Anaheim, with Michel Charbonneau of Uni-Select and “mom-and-pop” operations, but rather targeted Gloria Mann of Bodyworx Professional. the larger operators who at the time were coming to dominate the collision repair scene. “Our very first customer was Boyd,” says Gilliland. The Boyd Group, With a nuts-and-bolts background gained from years on the based out of Winnipeg, currently owns and operates facilities in shop floor, Gilliland isn’t part of the technical staff at AutoHouse five provinces and 20 US states. “They needed tools that they Technologies. He’s not a software engineer or computer programmer. didn’t have. They would have to run and merge data from numerous He focuses on the shop side. reports to get the information they needed.” “I’m more sales and product oriented, figuring out what is the best What AutoHouse Technologies does is provide what Gilliland calls fit for the industry,” he says. “I focus on determining what’s needed, the “10,000 foot view,” allowing collision repairers to organize and and how we can use technology to drive value for our customers.”

“Gilliland’s time with a high-tech company had gotten into his blood.”

use their own data to get the big picture, and then drill into the details that drive profitability and performance. “We make it easier for them to draw some conclusions and influence how the business is performing,” says Gilliland. “A higher level of accountability is achieved by having total visibility across all levels of an organization.”

Make no mistake, though, his roots as a technician helps. “To be an efficient technician, you really need to be very process oriented,” he says. “I really like the whole process of repairing a vehicle. As a technician or business owner, the more efficient you are, the better everything operates.” For more information, please visit autohousetechnologies.com.

OCTOBER 2016    BODYWORX PROFESSIONAL

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>>>

YOUNG GUN

PROOF

POSITIVE FOR DANNY MARTINEZ, THE ROAD TO BECOMING LICENSED MEANT VERIFICATION OF HIS SKILLS. BY MIKE DAVEY

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here can be a lot of stumbling blocks in between taking a job in a collision facility and finishing an apprentice. For Danny Martinez, a local community program helped him overcome some of those challenges. Martinez started in the autobody industry while he was still in high school, through a co-op. At the time, he was a student at Ascension of Our Lord Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario. Even before he entered secondary school, Martinez knew he wanted to work with cars. This made the co-op program a natural fit. A lot of students do a co-op in high school. It’s often seen by students as something of an easy way to get a few credits. However, it’s clear that Martinez didn’t treat his co-op like that. In fact, he showed enough aptitude and enthusiasm that he was offered a position at the collision facility at the conclusion of his co-op placement. Make no mistake: it wasn’t exactly glamorous work. Martinez

Danny Martinez put in a few years in the collision repair industry before making the decision to attend fomal training and pursue an apprenticeship. apprehensive,” he says. “With every shop, you’ve got to prove, again, what kind of skills you have. Starting a formal apprenticeship was like redemption for me. It’s a fresh start.” A technician’s license shows you’re able to do the work … at the time the license is issued. Making sure you keep your skills up-todate is extremely important. A license that’s 10 years out of date may mean the technician is way behind on current technology. This means constant training to keep those skills sharp. This is one of the things Martinez likes most about the collision repair industry. “You’re always learning,” he says. “Even when you think you have a skill down, technology is always changing. When I started in the industry, we were still spraying solvent. By the time I started painting, we were switching over to waterborne.” The technology, and the education, never stops. “You can work on cars your whole life, but they’re always changing

“Martinez started off exactly where most entry-level people do in the collision repair industry.” started off exactly where most entry-level people do in the collision repair industry. “They put me in the prep department,” he says. “You know, washing cars, doing some prepping and picking it up as I went along. I was working right next to the paint booth, so I started developing some interest in painting. Within a couple of years I was painting.” Martinez worked in the industry for the next four years at a number of shops in the Greater Toronto Area. At one point, however, he found himself laid off. He took stock of his situation and decided that his future lay in becoming a fully licensed technician. “I was looking for a job online and I came across the Tropicana program,” he says. “I figured, hey, if this program can help me get into a classroom, that’s a good way to get licensed.” Formal training can offer apprentices both practical skills and theory, but Martinez believes it also offers something else: verification. “Before, when I was looking for a job, I was always a little

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and you’ve got to be able to change with them,” Martinez says. This is part of the reason that Martinez says he would encourage anyone with aptitude to consider the collision repair industry as a career. There’s an opportunity to learn, and hence an opportunity to grow. “I think it would be better if everyone in the shop was more wellrounded,” he says. “It seems very common to feel a lot of pressure, but I think we’d all be better off if we knew more about what it takes to do each job.” This is a sentiment that strikes a chord with Jack Martino, coowner of the facility where Martinez works, CSN-Martino Brothers in Toronto. “We believe very strongly in encouraging people to try new things and expand their skill set,” Martino says. “I think Danny’s got it right: the more you know, the more you’ll be able to help other members of the team. Plus you’ll know what to expect from them.”


SCHOOL PROFILE

<<<

Mohawk College Mohawk College offers both apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship tracks. BY MIKE PICKFORD

Auto Body Repairer and Automotive Painter programs are offered at the school's Stoney Creek campus.

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ohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology is one of two post-secondary institutions operating out of Hamilton, Ont. With three campuses split between the immediate downtown and rural regions of the city, the school is home to roughly 12,500 full-time students, 1,800 international students and 4,000 apprentices. Since its founding in 1966, over 100,000 students have graduated from Mohawk College.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW Mohawk’s Auto Body and Collision Damage Repairer program educates and trains apprentices on a wide-range of key, industry-specific skills, including how to properly repair dents in body panels, fenders and skirting, how to file and sand grind and finally how to apply spray paint. Apprentices will have the opportunity to learn about shrinking and stretching metal panels with heat treatment, while also exploring how to repair welding breaks in body panels and structures. According to its program outline, students will understand how to test for and correct faulty frame alignment, and install trim and body parts, while also acquiring sound theoretical knowledge and practical applications to complement on-the-job experience of the trade. ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS In order to qualify for this program, applicants must already be registered apprentices in the autobody and collision repair industry. Mohawk College recently launched its Auto Body and Collision Damage Repair pre-apprenticeship training program for those looking for a starter course to work their way into the trade. The 20-week in school training program has a capacity of 17 students and exposes students to the basic, entry-level practices of the industry. The program concludes with an 8-week placement at a local body shop.

GRADUATION OUTLOOK Past graduates of this apprenticeship program have gone on to hold a plethora of positions within the autobody and collision repair industry. According to a survey carried out by Colleges Ontario, Mohawk sat above the provincial average for total number of graduates that have secured full-time employment in their field, with a healthy 85.5 percent. PROGRAM LENGTH The apprenticeship program runs for a total of 24-weeks and is separated into three semesters. The first semester introduces five courses to those enrolled, while semesters two and three each carry a six-course load. The program kicks off again in the fall. For more information on Mohawk College, please visit mohawkcollege.ca

OCTOBER 2016    BODYWORX PROFESSIONAL

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FINAL DETAIL

SEMA SIZZLES! It’s the most enjoyable tax write-off in the world. BY MIKE DAVEY

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ave you planned your next vacation? You could do a lot worse than combining work with pleasure and making the next SEMA Show your destination of choice. The next SEMA Show takes place this November in Las Vegas. Think about that for a minute. I know November is still technically fall, but in most of Canada it might as well be the start of winter. It’s cold, but there’s usually no snow yet so the busy season isn’t in full swing. And there you are, stepping off a plane in sunny Las Vegas. Attending the SEMA Show in Las Vegas means you’re feeling the heat, both figuratively and literally. The temperature is high, but not too high, and the show floor is packed with the hottest hot rods, the coolest customs and some of the latest and greatest in tools and tech. How could you not love it?

BATTLE ON! Just take a look at what SEMA offers! The Battle of the Builders takes place at SEMA, with the world’s top custom designers going head-to head to see who’s the best. You can see their work up close, get autographs and you might even get to rub shoulders with some of the greats of our wider industry. I’ve met a few of the celebrity builders over the years and there’s one rule that seems to apply consistently: the bigger the reputation, the smaller the ego. I don’t know if this applies to anywhere other than the automotive world, but in

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our industry, the stars are some of the most down-to-earth people you’ll ever meet. Maybe it’s because they’ve spent their careers working with their hands. Maybe it’s because they’ve spent their lives doing a job where no amount of talking will get the job done. Whatever the reason, they overwhelmingly tend to respect their fellow professionals. It’s also a chance to rub shoulders with fellow repairers, many of whom own their own facilities. A five-minute conversation with one of these folks may teach you more about the business than any school could possibly give you. You’re also almost certain to run into people who work in parts of the industry other than your own niche. You’ll meet hot-rodders, custom builders, painters and folks who make their living restoring the classics.

NETWORK In other words, SEMA is a great place to network and meet people who can give your career a definite boost. While you’re there, make sure to check out SEMA Launch Pad. This is a competition, like Battle of the Builders, but it’s not about building cars. Instead, it’s about new automotive products and services. Now in its third year, this business competition offers top innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs under the age of 40 an industry platform to showcase their business idea for a new automotive product or service. The five finalists take centre stage to prove to the judges that their product is the best. It’s a must-attend event for any automotive entrepreneur.

When the next great thing comes along, you may be able to say “I was there to see that launched and I knew it would be a winner.” And you never know. The environment may spark your imagination and next year it will be you on stage, explaining to the panel why your idea is the best.

BIG SHOW Last but certainly not least, there’s literally hundreds of exhibitors, displaying the very best they have to offer. A lot of suppliers choose the SEMA Show to debut new equipment and products. You’ll be in on the ground floor. You can pass the information on to your colleagues and get a reputation as the one who’s “in the know.” On the off chance that you find you’re bored (you won’t), just step outside and you’ll find yourself in Las Vegas. If you can’t have a good time there, you’re probably dead. You’re also there for perfectly legitimate business reasons. You traveled to Las Vegas to attend an industry event and educate yourself. Keep all your receipts for tax time. A lot of business travel and expenses qualify as tax deductions. Excitement, education and money in your pocket. It’s a winning combination.

Mike Davey is the editor of Bodyworx Professional. He can be reached at 905-5490454 or via email at editor@ collisionrepairmag.com.


PROFILES OF SUCCESS

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