Hammer & Dolly January 2023

Page 26

MARKET RATE DATA IS GOLD: Industry Issues Inspire Innovation How Can Shops Keep Employee Morale High? January 2023 Volume 16, No. 1 $5.95 www.wmaba.com www.grecopublishing.com WMABA’S RETURNS
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3 January 2023 DEPARTMENTS 4 President’s Message 6 Executive Director’s Message 7 WMABA Member Application 9 WMABA Sponsors 13 2/16/23 Meeting Flyer 31 WMABA Board Members 34 Advertisers’ Index WMABA NEWS 8 EXCITEMENT BUILDS FOR SOUTHEAST COLLISION CONFERENCE, WMABA SEEKS EDUCATORS Calling all collision presenters. BY CHASIDY RAE SISK WMABA MEMBER PROFILE 14 NORTHERN VIRGINIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE Educating future collision repair professionals. BY ALANA QUARTUCCIO BONILLO NATIONAL NEWS 18 OPERATIVE TALENT: CALLING ALL STUDENTS TO GET THEIR HANDS ON A 1969 CAMARO! Supporting the industry’s future in a unique way. BY CHASIDY RAE SISK NATIONAL FEATURE 22 CIC: INDUSTRY ISSUES INSPIRE INNOVATION Connect. Influence. Collaborate. BY CHASIDY RAE SISK INDUSTRY ADVICE 32 HOW CAN SHOPS KEEP EMPLOYEE MORALE HIGH? Focus on and invest in company culture. CONTENTS January 2023 26 COVER STORY BY CHASIDY RAE SISK MARKET RATE DATA IS GOLD: WMABA’S LABOR RATE SURVEY RETURNS Arm yourself with real-world rate information.

Ever look at a shop full of vehicles equipped with cameras and ask yourself if the car is watching you? Better yet: Who else is watching? Is it streaming somewhere like some kind of strange Real World body shop edition? I keep seeing article after article discussing telematics, stored data and the multiverse.

As if we didn’t have enough going on with inflation, the talent shortage and the constant evolution of construction, materials, repair methods, EMS vs. BMS, not to mention the growing pains of claims…why not add another element?! It’s already here, but to a lot of us, telematics may seem like it doesn’t go beyond an article in a magazine. Like this one.

In 2021, there were roughly 84 million connected vehicles in the US, and that’s not a number expected to decrease. But what does any of this have to do with fixing collision-damaged vehicles? Well, as usual, that means you will be in possession of not only someone’s property which they trust you to properly repair, but you may be holding on to a pile of their personal and biometric data. Yup, more things you now are responsible to provide some level of protection and security on.

But what can or should you do? With a major company like Subaru currently tangled in a legal mess in Illinois for potential breaches of their biometric protection laws, what chance do you have? Subaru’s driver monitoring system can, among other things, adjust the seat to your settings with only your bright eyes and smile. Seems great to some, but what else can it see, store and transmit? What about forward-facing cameras on all the other vehicles in your shop? Imagine the goodies they could be recording…then,



sprinkle in stories about security engineers who were able to access numerous makes and models with and without active subscriptions. They were able to start the cars, honk the horns and access onboard stored consumer data. All that was needed was the VIN. Sirius XM manages telematics functionality for multiple manufacturers and has since worked to correct the problem.

As with any connected device, there is a constant battle of hackers, security updates and patches, so you never know when there is a hole while it’s in your care. Now, it seems we may be expected to become cyber security experts before someone begins selling VIN numbers on the black market to help make ends meet. It may seem like a joke, but I don’t think it’s really that far fetched. A shop may definitely want to consider taking a look at what they can do to protect consumer data from the outside world. Consider getting things in place to not only protect your customers from the world, but also in consideration of what information your staff can access and store. It’s always better to get something in place before you need it.

The best way to be prepared is by educating yourself, and the best way to educate yourself is by following industry leaders like WMABA (wmaba.com), the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (scrs.com) and the Collision Industry Conference (ciclink.com). Or by staying tuned to industry-leading publications like Hammer & Dolly, available at grecopublishing.com. H&D


4 January 2023
Beaver (donbeaver3551@gmail.com)
443-235-6668 Barry Dorn (bdorn@dornsbodyandpaint.com) 804-746-3928
Box 3157
Mechanicsville, VA 23116
Bill Hawkins (hawkinswilliamjr@gmail.com) 510-915-2283 John Shoemaker (john.a.shoemaker@basf.com) 248-763-4375 ADMINISTRATION EXECUTIVE
Jordan Hendler (jordanhendler@wmaba.com) 804-789-9649 WMABA
Thomas Greco
SALES DIRECTOR Alicia Figurelli
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PRODUCTION Joe Greco COORDINATOR joe@grecopublishing.com PUBLISHED BY TGP, Inc. 244 Chestnut St., Suite 202 Nutley, NJ 07110 973-667-6922 FAX 973-235-1963 Reproduction of any portions of this
is specifically prohibited without written permission from the publisher. The opinions and ideas appearing in this magazine are not necessarily representations of TGP Inc. or of the Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association (WMABA). Copyright © 2023 Thomas Greco Publishing, Inc. Stock Images courtesy of istockphoto.com.
PRESIDENT Rodney Bolton
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Best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

This phrase often follows the idea of goal planning for the upcoming year; such as the one we’ve just embarked upon. I often wondered what the difference was between the mice and the men, what their plans would be, and with such sarcasm to their efforts being futile. There’s always some smartass who uses this phrase when they see something implode, or worse, when they make fun of someone who does have an actual plan.

I have a thought: Wouldn’t it always be worse if there was no plan at all?

Where did this saying even come from? I actually found that this came from the poem “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns. And most of the time we say it, we end with the men and don’t even include the “often go awry.” I guess it’s implied.

The full poem segment translation is actually:

But mouse, you are not alone, In proving foresight may be vain;

The best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew And leave us nothing but grief and pain, For promised joy!

- 1785, “To a Mouse,” Robert Burns

I am gathering that the mice and men are equal in their toil without secured outcomes. We plan, we surmise, we speculate, and eventually the future becomes now and lays onslaught to our constructs. They stand or fall; mice and men alike.

I just don’t think it’s wise to be so dismissive of planning; like, we’re just going to fail anyway, so why try? I’d say, try harder.

Do you actually goal plan in your business? Do you scheme and strategize to make things better, more efficient, higher quality; and, then how to make that happen? Have you dedicated time to work ON your business, rather than grind out the day-to-day IN the business? I know you’ve heard me ask all this before, if you’ve been reading my column with any regularity.

The best businesses in our industry have plans, schemes, goals, deadlines for goals, and they are documented where more than just one person knows what the vision is. Speaking of, what is your vision? Do you have one? Have you seen yourself a year from now and have optimism, or are you just leaving it to chance?

Are you afraid of failing? I’ve actually known someone to say, “I don’t want to grow too big; I won’t know how to handle it.” You should never have gone into business and tethered employees’ success and future to your mediocrity, Sir.

Please, do not be that person!

The best part of the poem is the first line! We are never alone. I repeat these themes because the lack of enthusiasm for the future is way more than a business hurdle; it’s an emotional killer. If you think repeating the same thing every day is successful because the doors are still open, you’re wrong; and not just wrong simply. You’re dead wrong. Maybe we’ll call it dying wrong.

If you weren’t worried about all the hurdles, fences, lacks and have-nots, and were simply focused on having a vision for better than now, you’re already winning against the future what-ifs. If you make one goal, with one first step, you’ve done it. Then, do it again.

Men plan for years ahead, and the mouse only for the winter. Plans can fail, sure. But I’d feel much better at the end for following my vision for the future rather than leaving it to a cheap version of fate. Because if I know anything, I know that fate favors the prepared!

(804) 789-9649

6 January 2023
Are you working ON your business, or IN it?
Jordan Hendler
jordanhendler@wmaba.com Check the WMABA website and newsletters for regular updates and reports from the Executive Director’s perspective.

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Since late last year when WMABA announced its decision to partner with the Carolinas Collision Association (CCA) to host the 2023 Southeast Collision Conference (SCC), anticipation has been mounting as industry professionals await the second annual iteration of the event, which promises two days of education, networking and exhibitions April 14-15, 2023 at the Meadow Event Park (Doswell, VA).

When SCC debuted in 2022 in Richburg, SC, it attracted over 200 collision industry professionals and featured a dozen classes taught by leading industry trainers, 42 exhibitor booths to peruse, over two dozen raffle prizes, an awards dinner and a Recycled Rides giveaway. But with the addition of WMABA’s Collision Professional Repairer Education Program (P.R.E.P.), expectations for the event run higher than ever.

While the educational agenda is still being finalized, event sponsors are already gearing up to make this year’s SCC the best ever!

“I am looking forward to another collaboration between auto body associations to bring our industry closer to each other,” shares John Shoemaker, business development manager at BASF Automotive Refinish Coatings North America. “Last year’s Southeast Collision Conference was a collaboration between three auto body associations and was a great success. Adding WMABA to the mix will bring a large number of members to make the conference even bigger. With the addition of the Collision P.R.E.P. series, I believe the available training will be top notch with nationally known facilitators bringing new information to the attendees. And as always, I look forward to meeting up with peers and colleagues to discuss industry concerns and share solutions.”

Although BASF is still formulating plans for their booth, Shoemaker hints, “We look forward to announcing a special guest (or two!) in the near future.”

“The team of Autotality looks forward to an educational,

informative and friendly environment at SCC 2023,” offers Kevin Smith, general manager at Carolina Collision Equipment (A Division of Autotality). “It is always great to see familiar faces and a time for introductions to new owners, managers and technicians in our industry. Autotality will have a raffle, some handouts and product demonstrations at our booth, so we look forward to seeing everyone there!”

“We are really excited to be a part of this collaboration between WMABA and the SCC. We will be showcasing our latest products in basecoat waterborne and solvent-borne technology,” agrees Stephen Dunton, regional sales manager for Axalta Coating Systems, which will be represented by the company’s South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland and Delaware sales teams.

Meanwhile, WMABA is working hard to “plan and prepare a fantastic Collision P.R.E.P. educational program,” according to Executive Director Jordan Hendler. “Our Collision P.R.E.P. endeavor has always been about bringing forward nationallevel education opportunities to the local market and providing opportunities for all segments of collision repair.

“We’ve had long-standing relationships with many of the top speakers in our industry, and by hosting SCC 2023 in conjunction with the quarterly Collision Industry Conference (CIC) being held April 12-13 in Richmond, VA, we plan to make it a priority to include instructors who are on the leading edge of their fields to provide the best possible experience to our attendees.”

WMABA invites speakers to submit their presentations for consideration in the educational line-up through Friday, January 13. Collision P.R.E.P. will follow the format of seminar presentations, as well as organized panel discussions with a focus on relevant and timely information that addresses issues that

8 January 2023
SCC sponsors gear up for a great event.
continued on pg. 21
THANKS YOU WMABA WMABA thanks their generous supporters of the Corporate Sponsor Program for 2023! We encourage YOUR SUPPORT of those who SUPPORT US! For more information about the sponsorship program, please contact Executive Director Jordan Hendler at (804) 789-9649 or email jordanhendler@ wmaba.com www.wmaba.com BAPS Auto Paints & Supply Certified Automotive Parts Association FinishMaster National Coatings and Supplies LEVEL 1 LEVEL 2 9 January 2023

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Educating the next generation of auto body technicians could not be more crucial as more and more tried and true professionals are planning for retirement and the majority of shops’ “Help Wanted” pleas continue to go unanswered.

Thankfully, the team behind the Automotive and Collision Program at Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) is fully equipped to train, inspire and prepare tomorrow’s technicians for a career in collision repair.

The college offers an extensive global automotive program that covers everything from mechanical to diesel to collision repair. Due to the vastness of northern Virginia, the college has its automotive program divided between its Manassas and Alexandria campuses – the latter being home to its collision repair program.

According to NVCC Automotive and Collision Program

Head Laura Garcia, many students are interested in auto body work. Since there are many intrigued from more of a hobbyist standpoint, the school works closely with its students to ensure they have some interest in collision repair as a career.

“We used to have a lot of hobbyists come in to take classes, but we have since refined our process and program to the point where we can hold consent on enrollment until we can speak to them individually to determine if they are at least slightly curious or potentially interested in pursuing a career in collision repair, whether it be as a technician, estimator or whatever they find they want to do.”

Many students come in “wanting to know everything and anything they can about collision repair, not yet knowing where their talents lie, whether it’s refinishing, welding or non-structural

14 January 2023

repairs,” Garcia explains. “They want the full gamut. The program exposes them to all factors of collision repair allowing them to see where they fit in best.”

Students earn a career study certificate upon completion of the program, which can be done in two semesters; no English or math is required to graduate the collision repair program. Students are allowed to repeat classes in welding or painting, for example, if they want to really practice and improve as much as possible.

“A few years ago, enrollment was low, and it mainly consisted of hobbyists,” Garcia admits. “It’s been challenging trying to raise awareness that we do exist even though the program has been around 30 years or more. When a lot of people think about getting into the automotive field, they don’t necessarily think about collision repair when it may actually be a better fit for some.”

NVCC works hard to recruit students by visiting high schools, and April 22 will bring the return of their annual car show – which had been on hold during the pandemic – and they are excited to attract people to the campus for this widely anticipated event.

All these efforts have helped raise awareness for the program, and Garcia is proud to report that all of their collision repair classes have been full since July. “Things are improving by leaps and bounds,” she boasts.

Having experienced career professionals as instructors is another key to success. One of their longest and most experienced adjunct professors, Warren Barbee, has been with NVCC for the past three decades.

“He just cares so much about the students’ learning and about the health of the industry,” Garcia says of Barbee. “He doesn’t want to see a program fail; he wants to see the program thrive. He knows there is a huge need for people out there and that collision offers a good career for anyone who wants to do it.”

NVCC also recognizes that students often need to hold down a job while taking the program, so classes are offered in the evening. Garcia says another reason for evening classes is to engage more adjunct instructors, which would allow them to also offer a daytime program with the hopes of being able to double or triple the size of the program.

“If we can find professionals in the field who may be experts in painting or welding or even someone wants to teach an introduction to collision course, it would be a great benefit, not just to the students but to the adjuncts themselves who can have first pick at bringing the best students on board at their own shops. So, if a shop out there is willing to part with one of their technicians a bit earlier in the day, one day a week, to come on board and help grow the next batch of the technicians, it could help lead three or four future technicians to their shop in the not-so-distant future.”

NVCC is also proud to have an educational partnership with WMABA as the association has been “super supportive” in helping to raise awareness for their collision program.

“I’ve had multiple conversations with Jordan Hendler and Heather Owen about some great ideas they have on how to get the whole industry together. They are working to come up with ways to streamline getting students employed into the field and to also allow educational institutions, like NVCC, to get feedback from the industry on what we need to do to prepare our students for the real world.

NVCC was proud to have its Alexandria campus serve as the host location for WMABA’s annual meeting last month. Garcia says working closely with the association opens many doors, not only for the program, but for the students as they are able to get in front of shop owners who could be their potential employers.

NVCC’s collision program certainly opens the door to a brighter future for the collision industry. To learn more about the program, visit nvcc.edu H&D

Executive Director’s Thoughts

These collision programs are the only training opportunity folks have prior to jumping right in at a repair facility. Our industry has really done a poor job of helping them to build the right candidates we want to hire and put to work, to make sure they have what they need when they start. The only way we get what we want is to be involved; to be helping them form the curriculum and skill sets needed to put someone under a mentor tech or apprenticeship to be a future top performer. If you want to be someone who gets to hire the up-and-comers, then you need to put in the time to help them at this level! -Jordan Hendler

15 January 2023
Finding the right fit for students interested in automotive. NVCC’s Automotive and Collision Program allows students to get hands-on training.
NVCC is also proud to have an educational partnership with WMABA, as the association has been “super supportive” in helping to raise awareness for their collision program.
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Attention students! If you’re between the ages of 16-23 and are curious about what goes into a vehicle rebuild (or maybe you just want to try something new!), Operative Talent wants YOU!

“Cars are cool, and working on them is a lot of fun,” shares Crystal Lawrance of KTL Restorations (Danville, VA), a founding partner of Operative Talent. “Unfortunately, today’s students don’t often have the chance to get hands-on exposure to this type of work because so many schools have closed their trade programs. We want to showcase the awesome opportunities this industry offers – whether you’re interested in pursuing an automotive career or just want to learn

something new, Operative Talent offers a unique experience you’re not able to get anywhere else.”

So, what is Operative Talent? Announced at the end of 2021, this collaborative effort between KTL, the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) and BASF has grown to include over three dozen partners as automotive professionals seek to provide students with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with a 1969 Camaro (named “Talent”) by participating in rebuilding the classic car…and hopefully, they’ll learn a little more about the different career paths available in this diverse industry during the process.

“Our industry has a bad reputation as this greasy, dirty place, but those days are long gone,” Lawrance insists. “It takes many different people with various talents to make up today’s automotive industry. Sure, body work and painting still happens in the back of the shop, but up front, we have estimators, accountants and a whole production team. Suppliers have many roles to fill; just look at BASF! They need chemists to create the beautiful colors we spray on these cars. And we even have positions for social media managers, industry journalists and more!

“We don’t do a great job of educating students of the general public about all the options that are out there,” she continues.

“Just because you don’t want to work in a shop, that doesn’t mean there’s not a place for you if you love cars. Automotive professionals don’t all fit in the same box these days…and that’s just the way we like it! So, we’re hoping to introduce students to some of the different ways they might fit in, whether they’re already planning to enter this field or maybe they just want to give it a shot.”

Interested students can complete the application at OperativeTalent.com/studentapplication. Simply provide the required information, including a 30-second video about why you want to participate, and select your top three choices for which field you want to gain experience in: sheet metal, fabrication, body work, body fitment, paint, electrical/ wiring, mechanical assembly, detailing or marketing/videography.

Lawrance believes that today’s youth

18 January 2023
KTL Restorations will guide collision students in rebuilding “Talent, a 1969 Camaro, from the ground up!

would be just as fascinated by automotive work as they’ve been in the past, if only they were exposed to it.

“Few people from the next generation show enthusiasm for automotive careers because they know nothing about it. No one tells them what’s available or what an amazing life it can provide. Instead, these kids are being pushed toward four-year degrees, but college isn’t for everyone. This is a chance to explore a rewarding career path, and if just 10 percent of the students who participate in the rebuild go on to see this as a potential career, we win. It’s about educating the future generation about these opportunities and helping the industry find quality talent. If we don’t bridge that gap, there will be no one to repair vehicles or create custom cars in the future, and that would be a tragedy.”

The automotive and collision industries have spent years griping about the lack of qualified help entering the workforce, and it’s time to DO something about it!

“We continually discuss the need for more technicians, estimators and other industry professionals, but instead of just thinking about it and talking about it, we’re going to put some actions behind it which will involve everybody in this industry,” urges Brandon Eckenrode, managing director of CREF. “We need everyone’s support…from donated parts to raffle ticket sales, we need the entire industry to get behind this effort – to get behind these students, our industry’s future – and help make Operative Talent a success.”

Raffle tickets are on sale now for those interested in educating the public about the multitude of opportunities available within the automotive industry. And in addition to supporting trade school education, you’ll even get a chance to win the custom-built Camaro these kids will be working on at KTL!

The initiatives funded by the Operative Talent fundraiser will help showcase the industry and its career opportunities to the general public, which will benefit the entire industry. The success of the project relies

on the entire industry getting involved and championing the endeavor.

“Operative Talent is amazing,” BASF’s Tina Nelles praises the project. “Attracting new talent is important to our company and the entire collision repair industry. We’ve dedicated efforts to helping by offering internships, increasing scholarships and supporting schools, but the key piece that’s always neglected is outside perception of our industry…We need people talking about this industry in the right ways! By promoting collision repair careers through the website and the PSA campaign, we can ensure that students, as well as their parents, teachers and guidance counselors, understand the variety of opportunities that exist within this industry.”

“This is a full industry effort,” Eckenrode stresses. “And each of you can help determine the success of this operative by getting

Executive Director’s Thoughts

involved to make Operative Talent the best it can be – by raising funds and donating your time and efforts, we can showcase this industry and ensure it has a bright future!”

And Lawrance hopes that Operative Talent can highlight the industry going forward on a broader scale. “We’re talking to different shops around the country, and so many people believe in this project…I hope to see it grow and expand to offer students opportunities in different markets. How many kids can we attract if we just welcome them into this industry in a fun way? How many share the same passion that we do but need help discovering it? This is just the beginning,” she promises.

To support the industry’s future by purchasing raffle tickets, participating in the rebuild as a student or by donating parts, visit OperativeTalent.com H&D

A national fundraiser and awareness campaign - employing the efforts of excited talent in our industry - is not only amazing, but also hits home here in Virginia. Kick off this new year by getting a raffle ticket and finding out how else you can support this effort, and the efforts of a program close to you. Students who want to be in the industry are our next generation, and they need us to pay it forward by supporting them any way we can. -Jordan Hendler

19 January 2023
Experience, exposure and fun for all. Operative Talent seeks to engage students in a vehicle’s restoration to give them hands-on experience & hopefully inspire a passion for automotive work.

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20 January 2023
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continued from pg. 8

collision repairers are currently facing. Special consideration will be given for unique or even hands-on opportunities.

“In its former iterations, the Collision P.R.E.P. blew all expectations out of the water by having a full slate of nationally recognized speakers which led to the fantastic turnout by repairers,” Hendler boasts. “Hoping to continue to grow and bring leading edge topics that are relevant to repair industry advancements, we are requesting submissions by leaders in the industry.”

Educators interested in submitting a proposal should email the following information to jordanhendler@wmaba.com:

• Presentation title,

• List of all involved presenters (including name, title, company and email address),

• Description of presentation, and

• List of three takeaways attendees can anticipate.

Please note: There is no speaker compensation for participation as a presenter in Collision P.R.E.P.

WMABA and CCA also invite companies to support the

Conference through participation as a vendor sponsor. “You do not have to have a booth to support, be present and visible to the industry,” Hendler encourages.

Sponsorship information and additional updates about the 2023 SCC can be found at southeastcollisionconference.com as they become available. H&D


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21 January 2023
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Life in a body shop presents a series of challenges each day, which may feel overwhelming at times, but when the greatest need presents itself, industry leaders differentiate themselves by offering forward-thinking solutions – and that’s a trend that continues to pervade the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) meetings each quarter!

While the most recent CIC meeting, held in conjunction with the 2022 SEMA Show, drew an unprecedented amount of attention and attendance related to the Parts & Materials Committee’s SCRS Blend Study Research, the final presentation of the day was far from being the only notable information shared as collision repair professionals learned tips on recruitment and retention, discovered the truth about

telematics and received insights on periodic vehicle safety inspections.

Personnel issues have been one of the largest complaints among shop owners for quite a number of years, and CIC’s Talent Pool & Education Committee sought to ask “How Can You Help Yourself” when it comes to recruiting, training and retention as Committee Chair Bud Center (I-CAR) moderated a panel of experts, which included Jim Guthrie (Car Crafters), Mario Dimovski (Gerber), Brandon Eckenrode (Collision Repair Education Foundation/ CREF) and Dara Goroff (I-CAR).

“Explain what’s wonderful about working in this field, about the depth and breadth of this field. Make sure the marketing materials you’re using to attract talent are visible to the audience you want to attract,”

Goroff offered suggestions for recruitment, stressing the need to consider “the mindset of recent high school graduates [and other young people]. Where are they getting their content and media? Not from traditional channels. They’re looking at social media; they look to influencers. So, we have to capture the hearts of those influencers who can help us tell the story of why this industry is so wonderful. We need to tell that story together.”

Eckenrode agreed that there’s a large need to focus on the youth, specifically by investing in local high school and college collision programs to ensure those programs are attractive and showcase a welcoming environment. CREF has also begun collaborating with school counselors to help them “embrace technical education so they

22 January 2023
CIC’s Talent Pool & Education Committee discussed recruiting, training and retention as panelists explained how shops can help themselves solve the workforce shortage. Pictured from L-R: Bud Center (I-CAR), Jim Guthrie (Car Crafters), Mario Dimovski (Gerber), Brandon Eckenrode (CREF) and Dara Goroff (I-CAR).

can educate their students on this industry and create resources so they can showcase this field as a viable option with a multitude of different opportunities. That way, we’re their first option, instead of getting the leftovers that didn’t know where else to go.”

Parents present another obstacle, and changing their mindset is imperative as well.

“It’s on us to showcase our industry in a more professional manner,” Goroff stressed. “And when we paint that picture of what today’s technician looks like, we need to show how clean the space has to be when repairing an electric vehicle (EV) and the importance of making sure the work we’re doing is truly quality work so we can get the vehicle back on the road safely. We have to show that vehicles are nothing like they were 40 years ago…and this industry isn’t what it was 40 years ago. Thinking of us as a trade is a mistake because this is truly a highly skilled, technical field these days.”

Once new employees are hired, a shop owner’s job isn’t done – additional training and feedback is necessary to keep young people motivated and engaged in their chosen career path. This means setting expectations and connecting them with a mentor who will patiently guide them on the right path.

“You have to invest in talent to develop talent,” Dimovski expressed. “There’s nothing worse than just throwing them into it because everyone is too busy. Sooner or later, they’re going to leave. Invest in training them, but also invest in the right tools and technology because that’s what interests these kids; we have to show them where the industry is heading if we want to keep them engaged in their journey.”

Less obvious factors, such as demonstrating a career path and showing appreciation, play a vital role in retention, according to Guthrie.

“You have to make them feel appreciated and provide a good environment with heating and air conditioning. They want to work in a clean shop, and it has to be a shop that trains, where they can see their future and maybe even different career paths. Yes, you

need good benefits, but pay is not always the number one reason why somebody will leave. The key to retention is really showing your appreciation and helping them grow in their roles and beyond.”

So, exactly how are technicians’ roles – and the skills needed for collision repair – evolving today and in the future? CIC’s Emerging Technologies Committee tackled this ever-changing topic by exploring the short set of typical skills identified in collision repair job listings…compared to the vast and various requirements for alternate types of technicians as the committee differentiated between structural, non-structural, refinish, mechanical, electrical/diagnostics and production management technicians.

“It takes a team of specialists to properly repair a vehicle now,” Kye Yeung (European

Motor Car Works) emphasized.

Panelist Kevin West (Nylund’s Collision Center) recommended looking “for someone who understands and knows their limitations. A technician cannot do this job from start to finish anymore. There are different roles, and you have to know and understand your limitations.”

An ideal technician “comes in and sees the opportunity and potential…and is willing to do the work to understand and keep leveling up their skills,” Kelly Roberts (BETAG North America) agreed, noting that advancing technology creates “an opportunity to create a culture [with employees who are] curious and concerned about safety because there are no longer any trivial or innocuous parts on today’s vehicles. Every aspect of the repair poses potential risks that can significantly compromise safety systems.”

CIC Future Disruptions Committee Chair Frank Terlep joined Jake Rodenroth (Lucid Motors) and James Spears (Tractable) as they took on the role of MythBusters and uncovered “The Real Truth About Telematics Today.”

The trio explained how data is collected and the primary ways that telematics is currently being used, yet “We’re far away from an end to end process,” Terlep acknowledged,

23 January 2023
Creating opportunities to strengthen the collision repair industry.
continued on pg. 24
CIC’s Emerging Technologies Committee panelists discuss the skills collision repairers need now and in the future. Pictured from L-R: Tim Morgan (Spanesi Americas), Kelly Roberts (BETAG North America), Kevin West (Nylund’s Collision Center), Kye Yeung (European Motor Car Works) and Jason “Buck” Zeise (LaMettry’s Collision). Future Disruptions Committee Co-Chair Jake Rodenroth explores “The Real Truth About Telematics Today.”

and Spears acquiesced, “We still need a human in the loop,” admitting there’s still a lot of heavy lifting to be done. “It’s important to get it right with AI [artificial intelligence] to avoid degrading our trust with the customer. There’s plenty of work left to do, but we’re definitely getting things started on the right path.”

“We’re only going to see more of it, driven by customers who want to see cool features, safety and white glove service,” Rodenroth predicted. “Shops are repairing high tech vehicles, and they have high tech customers who are aware of the features that come with it, so study up…Product knowledge is everything.”

Terlep alluded to the fact that data is “the new gold,” but the Data Access, Privacy and Security Committee really dove into the importance of “Understanding the Impacts of Data in the Collision Industry.”

Ashley Denison (Caliber Collision) was “wildly surprised at how free flowing data was when I first came into the industry” and stressed that when it comes to data security, the auto body world “still has a long way to go,” urging shops to consider “how are we protecting our customers? As an industry and as shop owners, what do we need to do? It’s about knowing the process and making sure you know where your customer data is at all times and having the ability to retrieve that data upon request.”

Denise Koukal (LaMettry’s Collision) shared an anecdote about data leaving the business without permission and the issues it caused with that customer. “If you have a happy customer, they’re going to tell one person; if you have an unhappy customer, they’re going to tell 15. Unhappy customers are not good for referral business,” she warned before she and other panelists offered suggestions for mitigating these risks.

Risk abounds in every area of the industry, as the Governmental Committee pointed out while discussing the opportunities, benefits and obstacles related to Periodic Vehicle Safety Inspections. Committee Chair Bob Redding, Co-Chair Janet Chaney and panelists Chuck Olsen (AirPro Diagnostics), Mark Olson (VECO Experts), Bill Dell (OPUS Inspections) and Scott Benavidez (Mr. B’s Paint & Body Shop) debated whether state or federal legislation should regulate the need

for periodic safety inspections.

“It’s incredible how fast technology is growing,” Benavidez noted. “We have repair procedures inside the shop computers and at the touch of a finger unlike anything we’ve ever had before. It has all changed very fast.”

“What is the industry doing to adapt to evolving technology?” Olson queried, suggesting that “50-60 percent of the industry isn’t doing anything; they’re just fixing cars the way they always have. Only a handful are doing everything required. We have to do something because people are going to die.”

On an upbeat note, Redding indicated that he has seen a lot of positive progress when it comes to legislation within the past couple years. Although the US government is not yet ready to make a federal mandate today, he feels certain that “once a major state takes the lead, others will follow. It’s coming, and it’s going to be good for the industry.”

Connect. Influence. Collaborate. That’s the message behind all of CIC’s meetings and individual presentations, so it was no surprise when WMABA Executive Director and CIC Administrator Jordan Hendler announced the winner of CIC’s slogan contest was Cindy Schnier Granse who received $500 for her efforts, which she graciously donated back to CIC.

CIC’s next meeting is scheduled for January 19, 2023 in Palm Springs, CA. Registration information, as well as presentations from previous meetings, can be found at ciclink.com. H&D

Executive Director’s Thoughts

This issue will be on your desk when the next meeting happens for CIC, but trust me, you’ll want to make your plans and buckle up for CIC coming to the Omni in Richmond, Virginia April 13-14 along with board meetings from the Society of Collision Repair Specialists, and followed immediately by the Southeast Collision Conference. We have not had national meetings so close in so long; literally your own backyard. These meetings are where every issue you face on the daily is addressed by the industry’s leading representatives. It will be an actual shame if you miss it! -Jordan

24 January 2023
NATIONAL FEATURE continued from pg. 23
Hendler CIC’s Emerging Technologies Committee Co-Chair Chuck Olsen moderates a panel on evolving technician roles. WMABA Executive Director and CIC Administrator Jordan Hendler announces CIC’s new slogan is “Connect. Influence. Collaborate.”
25 January 2023


Are you sick of fighting to receive fair and reasonable compensation for the work performed in your shop…only to be told “you’re the only one” time and time again? It’s frustrating and demoralizing when a third-party payer consistently insists that no other shops in your market charge for certain processes and procedures or simply that you’re charging too much.

It’s time to advocate for your shop – and your industry – by participating in the eighth iteration of WMABA’s Labor Rate Survey to provide insights into actual market data by sharing your true retail door

rates and answering questions related to the procedures.

The 2022-2023 Labor Rate Survey (available online at wmaba. com/labor-rate-survey) asks WMABA-area shops to provide their posted/retail rates for several operations. As always, all Survey results remain completely anonymous; no participating shops will be identified by name.

WMABA believes that shops should charge a fair price for the important and necessary work they perform in safely repairing today’s complex vehicles. This can be different than the amount insurance

January 2023 26

companies try to dictate. The practice of estimating at the business’ identified retail price is necessary in maintaining a healthy, competitive marketplace.

“Third-party payers’ systems determine ‘market rate’ based on a variety of information, including discounted DRP rates added by insurers, which skews the overall average in a downward trend that negatively impacts the market,” laments WMABA Executive Director Jordan Hendler. “The Survey only takes five minutes to complete and allows us to collect our own data which we report back to our members, plus we can use that real-world information to discuss the

issues with regulatory and legislative entities to help better support collision repairers in WMABA markets.

“We hope to use the compiled survey results to educate within our membership, our regional contacts and our government agencies that oversee market conduct. There’s no question about it…we are always fighting an uphill battle, but with the support of these facts and figures, WMABA is better equipped to defend this amazing industry. We have to keep moving forward, and we need your help to do it!”

Shops taking the Survey are asked to provide their door rates for body labor, frame/structural work, paint/refinish, paint materials, aluminum structural work (if applicable), mechanical work and daily inside/outside storage.

“WMABA’s Labor Rate Survey requests shops’ retail door rate, representing their posted or customer pay rates, not a skewed wholesale or concessionary amount found in information providers’ systems,” Hendler explains. “Those rates do not accurately and fairly represent market rates, which often include price reductions granted to insurers in exchange for high volume through DRP contracts. We encourage DRP shops to participate, but ALL shops should complete the Survey by providing their walk-in rate so we can report realistic regional rates that are truly indicative of the majority of shops in that area…This information is not available any other way.”

WMABA encourages Survey participants to share certain procedures they believe are required during the repair process and whether these procedures are currently performed and charged for at their shops, such as: “mark-up” or “admin” on sublet (towing, upholstery, mechanical, etc.); “clips and fasteners” needed in the repair process; “color sand and buff;” Feather, Fill, Block and Prime on welded panels; “check and test seat belts” being used in the accident; “prep raw plastic” when recommended by paint suppliers; and “weld-thru primer” and/or “cavity wax” when needed.

The Survey also consists of nearly three dozen critical industry-related “yes or no” questions, including the following:

Do you believe insurers rate you on the use of alternative parts to OEM, such as used or aftermarket?

Do inadequate or poorly written estimates by insurance company representatives delay the repair process and cost your shop time and money while you rectify mistakes?

Do appraiser(s) tell you, “We can’t pay for that because it is against insurance company policy,” even though you know it is a fair, reasonable and necessary item?

Is it your experience that a good portion of insurance company representatives write “low-ball” estimates that omit obvious visible damage?

Do you use the degweb.org website to submit inquiries of missing or inaccurate labor, parts, material or other flaws in the estimating system guides?

Do you believe insurer reimbursement rates are fair enough to support adequate profit for continuing education, certifications and new equipment?

You’re not the only one…Take the survey to prove it!
27 January 2023
continued on pg. 29

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28 January 2023
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continued from pg. 27

Survey respondents can include the number of estimators, office personnel and technicians at their facilities, as well as total square footage, preferred paint and materials cost accounting system (if one is in use) and their gross annual sales. As in years past, the Survey also asks participants to provide information on employer/ employee relations by answering questions on the perks they offer, including personal leave, paid vacations, paid sick time, health/dental/ vision/life insurance, long-term disability and 401(k) retirement plans.

“The questions asked provide a complete snapshot of the issues shops experience on a daily basis, and investing a few minutes into completing the Survey could easily benefit your shop for years to come,” Hendler encourages.

The 2022-2023 WMABA Labor Rate survey can be taken online at wmaba.com/labor-ratesurvey. The results of the Survey will be featured in an upcoming issue of Hammer & Dolly. If you have questions or require additional information, please contact Jordan Hendler at (804) 789-9649 or jordanhendler@wmaba.com H&D


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PRESIDENT: Steven Krieps srkrieps@live.com 304-755-1146

VICE PRESIDENT: Rodney Bolton rbolton@aacps.org 443-386-0066

Just like equipment and training, WMABA membership is not only a commitment to excellence, but also a valuable investment.

WMABA is recognized both regionally and nationally as the key forum for the exchange of ideas concerning the D.C., MD, VA and WV collision repair industry. It is the venue to discuss, learn about and impact evolving standards and policies in the technical, administrative and legislative fronts of our industry. Shops and industry supporters can best develop themselves and their employees by actively engaging in the association and its activities.

TREASURER: Kris Burton kris@Rosslynautobody.com 703-820-1800

Automotive collision repair facilities in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. who are willing to adopt WMABA’s Standards of Membership and offer a guarantee to their consumers are encouraged to engage their business as an active member of the association. For over 40 years, the WMABA membership of professional collision repair businesses and affiliates have committed to operating at a higher standard on behalf of their industry and their consumers. Over the years, WMABA has proudly represented the collision repair industry at hearings on Capitol Hill, in Annapolis, MD, and Richmond, VA as well as almost every national collision repair event. While WMABA has a rich history of dedicated men and women serving the local collision repair community, WMABA also boasts numerous past and current accomplished Board members who represent our membership at the national level.

WMABA offers current and dynamic discussion forums on topics facing collision repairers, technical information and educational seminars, opportunities to network and discuss pressing topics with leaders of the collision repair industry, an arbitration program that works with consumers to help resolve issues they might have, apprenticeship programs, legislative representation and the ability to receive and contribute to one of the nation’s leading collision repair magazines, Hammer & Dolly

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Jordan Hendler jordanhendler@wmaba.com 804-789-9649

31 January 2023 “ ”
Contact Executive Director Jordan Hendler to find out how WMABA can amplify YOUR voice in the collision repair industry. Position Your Business as a Leader! An association fostering the exchange of ideas and providing a voice and support for the collision repair professional. BOARD OF DIRECTORS SECRETARY: Phil Rice phil@ricewoods.com 540-846-6617 PAST PRESIDENT: Torchy Chandler torchy.chandler@gmail.com 410-309-2242 Bill Hawkins hawkinswilliamjr@gmail.com 510-915-2283 Barry Dorn bdorn@dornsbodyandpaint.com 804-746-3928 John Shoemaker john.a.shoemaker@basf.com 248-763-4375


How Can Shops Keep Employee Morale High?

This month, we “ASK MIKE” for his thoughts on how shops can keep employee morale high in 2023. We at Hammer & Dolly hope you find the following exchange useful, and we encourage you to reach out to us if you have a question for Mike on this or any industry-related matter that he can answer in a future issue.

Hammer & Dolly: We’re now in 2023, which – among other things – is the third anniversary of the pandemic and all these wild changes we’ve all had to deal with. Some things are getting better, but other things are getting more difficult. As the industry moves through this new year, what are some things that shops can do to better keep morale high despite the challenges ahead?

Mike Anderson: The biggest thing that shops need to work on in 2023 is their culture. Everybody has work today. It’s not about who can get cars these days; it’s about who can keep good people. It’s really important that shops focus on culture and being the employers of choice. You really want an environment where people don’t just love their job; they love the organization as well. You want them to be proud of who they work for. Think about sports fans who wear the jersey of their favorite teams and players. You want to be the organization that inspires people to wear that shirt or uniform or jersey. That comes from focusing on your culture and investing in it. There are people like Mike Jones from Discovery Leadership Training who work with shops to achieve that type of environment. There are tons of resources out there that can help you with leadership training. It’s also very important to keep yourself involved. Being a part of 20 Groups can really recharge your batteries, which benefits your employees.

When I had my shops, we would go to another shop and say, ‘Hey, let’s have a softball game together on a Saturday!’ A team of our employees would engage in a little friendly competition against their employees. We would also shut down one day a year and pay for our employees to bring their kids to an amusement park. We were always looking for ways to build culture and teams together. I once heard this at church: ‘The sign of a healthy church is when people still hang out in the parking lot after church.’ Well, a sign of a healthy business is when people hang out there after hours. That signals you’ve created a healthy culture.

H&D: As you begin 2023, what things are keeping your morale high as an industry veteran?

MA: There are so many people out there who preach a message of doom and gloom, but what keeps my morale high is hanging out with younger people in this industry – whether it’s people on my team or people in shops. These are the people who haven’t lost that eye of the tiger and who aren’t negative nellies. We all need to embrace the young people in this industry. I see a lot of kids who are engaged and have a lot of ideas, but their parents shut them down. Those kids should be encouraged. If young people try something and it doesn’t work, it’s not the end of the world…We shouldn’t kill their spirit.

H&D: You have the most positive attitude of anyone we know in the industry! You were a shop owner, and you own a collisionrelated business now. As you know, this is not the easiest industry out there. When you’ve had struggles in this profession, what has most enabled you to rise above them and maintain that positive spirit within yourself?

MA: My faith is the first thing. The second thing is that I have some really awesome friends in this industry who I can call at any time and they’ll talk me off the ledge. It’s the same thing with my team at Collision Advice. We’re up to 12 employees now, and it’s a positive team.

32 January 2023

I read a book by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles called Gung Ho! Turn on the People in Any Organization. In that book, they talk about geese. When you have a goose that’s flying out in front of a flock and all the other geese are honking, that’s because that goose in front is getting tired and the other geese are honking to encourage that goose to keep going. When that goose gets too tired, it goes back to the flock, and another goose steps up. That’s what you need to do – trust your team, your friends in the industry and the people who are in the trenches with you.

Oftentimes, when we think that we don’t have it all figured out and we tell someone that things aren’t going well and we’re having a bad day, we fear that we’re going to be judged. But when you’re honest, most people will encourage you and lift you up. People are often afraid to expose their weaknesses, but I’m the opposite. I’ll tell somebody, ‘Hey, I’m struggling here’ and see what they can do to lift me up or help me. It’s really about who you surround yourself with to help you be grounded. You could surround yourself with a bunch of people who lead you to bad habits and do not call you out on your BS…or you could have a really good circle of friends who will call you out if you are doing the wrong thing or going down the wrong path. Choose wisely.

Mike Anderson is an Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) and the former owner of Wagonwork Collision Centers, two highly acclaimed shops located in Alexandria, VA. He has served as a member of many industry organizations throughout his career, including the WMABA Board of Directors, the Mitchell Advisory Board, the MOTOR Advisory Board, the ASE Test Review Committee, the National Auto Body Council, the Collision Industry Conference and the Society of Collision Repair Specialists. Additionally, he is a past Virginia SkillsUSA chairman, serves as a facilitator for Axalta Coating Systems’ highly recognized Business Council 20 Groups in both the US and Canada and facilitates numerous courses for Axalta Coating Systems’ Educational Series. He currently offers expert industry consulting via his latest venture, Collision Advice (collisionadvice.com). H&D


33 January 2023
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