AT THE FOREFRONT Pro Spot founder and president Ron Olsson
hen it comes to collision industry innovations, Pro Spot International president Ron Olsson is at the forefront. Since 1986, Ron has been dedicated to providing solutions to all corners of the collision repair sector. A born Swede with dreams of making it in America, Olsson has certainly achieved enough success for a lifetime. Since embarking on the Pro Spot journey more than 30 years ago, Olsson has made it his mission to give the collision repair sector a voice while providing top-notch welding products, comprehensive training, and overall support to the industry. Collision Repair’s Allison Rogers sat down with Ron to hear about his extensive expertise in the sector, his company’s latest innovations and the happenings at Pro Spot International.
COLLISON REPAIR: How did Pro Spot International come to be what it is today? RON OLSSON: I’ve always been innovative. I’m a builder and inventor by nature. I started my own business in 1986, after moving from Sweden to California. The business was then called California Laser Alignment and Straightening Systems, or C.L.A.S.S., and focused on motorcycle frame repair equipment. We repaired motorcycles and developed a few laser measuring systems, frame straighteners and some other tools. One day, while driving home on the freeway, I started to think about why I was seeing so many more cars on the road than motorcycles. That thought brought me into the world of collision repair and turned C.L.A.S.S. into Pro Spot.
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Pro Spot started with resistance spot welding in the late ‘80s. The process was used by OEMS in the U.S. and Canada but not in the collision repair industry. It’s the process manufacturers use when they initially build the vehicle, so the process allowed repairers to replicate factory-type welds. It was difficult to introduce resistance spot welding at first because a lot of bodyshops didn’t have the electricity grid required for these types of machines. Eventually, we were able to work around this by building electrical transformers. The industry also needed different arms to reach into the tougher nooks and crannies. Pro Spot got a few patents on those arms early on, and someone said, “Hey, Ron—you should build a welder,” and I said,“Hey, maybe I should.” That’s the uniqueness of Pro Spot—we’re at the forefront and we always have been.