New Jersey Automotive April 2024

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Charles Bryant 732-922-8909 /

2023-2025 OFFICERS

PRESIDENT Ken Miller, 821 Collision, LLC (973) 949-3733 /


Jerry McNee, Ultimate Collision Repair, Inc. 732-494-1900 /


Keith Krehel, Krehel Automotive Repair, Inc. 973-546-2828 /


Tom Elder, Compact Kars, Inc. 609-259-6373 /


Thomas Greco, Thomas Greco Publishing, Inc. 973-667-6922 /


Dennis Cataldo, Jr., D&M Auto Body 732-251-4313 /

Brad Crawford, Livingston Collision, Inc. 973-992-5274 /

Gary Gardella, Jr., County Line Auto Body 732-363-5904 /

Dave Laganella, Peters Body and Fender 201-337-1200 /

Jeff McDowell, Leslie’s Auto Body 732-738-1948 /

Danielle Molina, 821 Collision (973) 949-3733 /

Ted Rainer, Ocean Bay Auto Body 732-899-7900 /

Anthony Trama 973-818-9739 /


Joe Amato, The Amato Agency 732-530-6740 /

Mike Kaufmann, Advantage Dealer Services 973-332-7014 /


Thomas Greco /


Alicia Figurelli /


Alana Quartuccio / MANAGING

Chasidy Rae Sisk /


Donna Greco / PRODUCTION

Joe Amato, Sr.

Ron Ananian

Jim Bowers

Charles Bryant

Don Chard

Guy Citro

Pete Cook

Ed Day

Dave Demarest

Phil Dolcemascolo

Tom Elder

Bob Everett

Alicia Figurelli

Thomas Greco

Dan Hawtin

Rich Johnson

Mike Kaufmann

Wes Kearney

Nick Kostakis

Jim Kowalak

Keith Krehel

Joe Lubrano

Michael Lovullo

Jeff McDowell

Sam Mikhail

Ron Mucklow

George Petrask

Russ Robson

Jerry Russomano

George Threlfall

Anthony Trama

Cynthia Tursi

Lee Vetland

Paul Vigilant

Rich Weber

Brian Vesley

Glenn Villacari

Stan Wilson

New Jersey Automotive | April 2024 | 7
Neptune, NJ
VOLUME 54 NUMBER 4 | April 2024 10 OUT OF BODY (AND MECHANICAL) EXPERIENCES 12 PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE 50 NJA ADVERTISERS’ INDEX NEW JERSEY AUTOMOTIVE is published monthly and is sent to AASP/ NJ and ARANJ members free of charge. Subscriptions are $24 per year. NEW JERSEY AUTOMOTIVE is published by Thomas Greco Publishing Inc., 244 Chestnut St., Nutley, NJ 07110. The editorial contents of NEW JERSEY AUTOMOTIVE are copyright © 2024 by Thomas Greco Publishing Inc. and may not be reproduced in any manner, either in whole or in part, without written permission from the publisher and/or editor. Articles in this publication do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Thomas Greco Publishing Inc. Stock Images courtesy of CONTENTS
/ CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Charles Bryant • Mario DeFilippis • Dennis Cataldo • Mitch Portnoi • Ron Ananian • Keith Krehel • Jerry McNee • Jacquelyn Bauman Published by: Thomas Greco Publishing, Inc. 244 Chestnut Street, Suite 202, Nutley, NJ 07110 Corporate: (973) 667-6922 / FAX: (973) 235-1963 @grecopublishing AUTOMOTIVE RECYCLERS ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY 48 Wharton Insurance Briefs by Mario DeFilippis LOCAL NEWS 14 AASP/NJ Mourns the Loss of Board Member Sam Mikhail INDUSTRY UPDATE 16 EV Repair: Fire Safety Considerations COVER STORY by Chasidy Rae Sisk & Alana Quartuccio 20 The Heavyweight Champion of Trade Shows! NORTHEAST® 2024 Highlights 21 David Luehr Offers Solutions Repairers Can Count On 24 Collision Advice’s Mike Anderson and Sheryl Driggers Inspire Repairers 25 ADAS Calibrations: Adopt, Adapt, Advance 30 Tremendous Opportunities Lie in OEM Certification 31 Putting the Brakes on Passing Defects in the Repair Process 31 Certified and Elite: Dare to Be Different 34 Avoid the Shock: EV Safety 34 Adapting to Change, Thriving in Chaos 35 Taking the ADAS Plunge 38 Ford Collision Repair Done Right 39 Are You a Survivor? 44 Success Today, Success Tomorrow 44 Picking the Right Lane to Pass Along Your Automotive Business 45 Second Annual Bodywork Bowl Another Huge Success 46 AASP/NJ Gifts $5,000 in Tools and Equipment to Young Technicians 46 Passaic County Technical-Vocational School Receives KECO Glue Pull System 47 Spark Underwriters Gifts KECO Glue Pull System to New AASP/NJ Member Shop 47 NORTHEAST Hosts Two Life-Changing Recycled Rides Presentations

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The Medical Assembly Line

First of all, I want to thank EVERYONE who made this year’s NORTHEAST® Automotive Services Show a massive success. We could not pull it off without the great teamwork and help of the AASP/NJ Board and, of course, all of our speakers, attendees and vendors! NORTHEAST keeps getting bigger and better. We look forward to seeing everyone in 2025!

NORTHEAST week is stressful no matter how you look at it – that’s the nature of the beast. But this year was even more stressful than normal because on the Monday before the show, I received a call from my nephew telling me that my older brother Ralph was admitted to a hospital and placed on a ventilator. Needless to say, I raced over to see him, and I have to tell you, it was a pretty devastating sight. What was even more devastating was the confusion and lack of coordination from his doctors.

Allow me to backtrack a little. For 40-some years, Ralph and I shared the same general practitioner, a local guy we all knew, and he was amazing. He was just as much a friend as a doctor. You know, the no bullshit kind of doctor who gave it to you straight: “Either do what I say, or you’re going to f#$king die.”

Whenever we would get sick, Dr. Giuliano would take

the lead and make sure we got whatever treatment we needed to get better. We could call him anytime day or night. He was always there. I remember vividly how, when I was rushed to the hospital with chest pains, he met us there and held my hand, telling me, “I won’t let you die.” Another time, I was as sick as I’d ever been with the flu. He wanted me to go to the hospital, but I refused because I knew with my history, they would keep me for days. So he brought me down to his office, put me in one of his exam rooms, hooked me up to intravenous for five hours, turned off the lights, closed the door and allowed me to get better without going to the hospital.

Dr. G., in his typical caring way, was there for everyone when COVID struck. And of course, in thinking of everyone else but himself, he caught the virus. And it killed him. He was only 64.

When I had my first heart attack and open heart surgery, I came out of the hospital looking for a cardiologist. Every one of the doctors I met with were heartless and cold. Maybe that’s part of the job. But then I found Dr. Irving Goldfarb. And he, like Dr. Giuliano, was like a guardian angel. For almost 30 years, Dr. Goldfarb took care of me. Whenever I had heart issues or anxiety

continued on pg. 14

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An Unforgettable NORTHEAST!

What an unforgettable experience the NORTHEAST® 2024 Automotive Services show proved to be! I’m incredibly grateful to the tireless efforts of the AASP/NJ administrative team and the Board of Directors for all of their hard work in orchestrating what many have hailed as the best trade show in our industry. Countless attendees have echoed the sentiment that this year’s event stands out as the finest NORTHEAST in recent memory.

The weekend was brimming with excitement, with an abundance of show prizes and giveaways that added to the festivities. We honored two outstanding young technicians with tool kits valued at over $2,500 each. We also witnessed presentations of KECO Glue Pull Repair systems to both the Passaic County Technical-Vocational Institute and a new member of AASP/NJ. Additionally, the NORTHEAST Dollars program was back again; we awarded a total of $5,000 to 10 show attendees (each received $500 toward a purchase at the show) over the course of the weekend. The Second Annual Bodywork Bowl emerged as a standout success, with participants enthusiastically competing to claim the right to be called “the best of the best.”

The educational offerings this year were truly unparalleled. NORTHEAST offered four straight days of seminars and panel discussions. Renowned educators from across the industry converged to share their wisdom, shedding some light on the myriad of issues our industry faces and providing invaluable guidance for navigating the complexities of the current business environment.

Our membership drive initiative yielded remarkable results, with our existing membership expanding by more than 10 percent. The significant increase in membership during the drive reflects the value and appeal of being part of AASP/NJ. To those who joined us during this drive, I thank you. And to our steadfast members who continue to support us year after year, your unwavering dedication is truly appreciated. Together, we are indeed stronger!

For those who may be reading and have yet to join AASP/NJ, I encourage you to become part of our association and contribute to the changes we’re striving for. Your participation is vital in helping us achieve our goal of making positive changes in our industry.

The overwhelming feedback from attendees, exhibitors, educators and presenters alike has been resoundingly positive, with many proclaiming this year’s show as the best they’ve ever attended. As the newly elected AASP/NJ President, I wish to personally express my gratitude to everyone who participated and attended this year’s show. I look forward to the opportunities and successes that await us in the year ahead, and I eagerly anticipate NORTHEAST 2025!

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AASP/NJ Mourns the Loss of Board Member Sam Mikhail

AASP/NJ is saddened to report the passing of longtime member Sam Mikhail, former owner of Prestige Auto Body in Garwood.

Mikhail, an AASP/NJ Hall of Famer, served on the AASP/NJ Board for decades and was a friend and inspiration to all. He strived to make his beloved collision repair industry better.

Services will be held in Florida, where he was enjoying his retirement. A special service planned for New Jersey will be announced at a later date.

AASP/NJ sends our deepest condolences to his family. May he rest in peace.

Stay tuned to next month’s New Jersey Automotive for a special tribute to this valued member of the AASP/NJ community. NJA


continued from pg. 10

relating to them, he would answer my calls or see me and reassure me. Always with a joke! And it didn’t matter if it was my heart. I called him one time when I couldn’t shake flu symptoms, and he insisted I come see him. Turns out I had a bleeding ulcer. He put me in the hospital and personally looked after me, even though it had nothing to do with my heart.

I had an appointment with Dr. Goldfarb in December of 2022. A few days before that, his office called me to say that Dr. Goldfarb had retired immediately and I would have to reschedule with the new doctors who had taken over his practice. I was shocked. I asked what the hell happened. All the office would tell me was that he had received a diagnosis and retired.

I made some calls, and all I could find out was that the doc was sick and not much more. A few days after Christmas, there was a voicemail on my phone. It was from Dr. Goldfarb. I called him back, and he told me he had been diagnosed with stage four appendix cancer and that he was very sorry that he didn’t get the chance to tell me earlier. I told him he was being silly, that he had to take care of himself. I also told him that now it was my duty to return the favor and help him in any way I could. He thanked me and said to keep in touch. I texted him a few weeks later and encouraged him to hang in there. He replied, “I’m trying.”

Dr. Goldfarb died a month later.

So what do you do when you lose the two men who kept you healthy for the majority of your life? Two GREAT men who were not just doctors but GREAT friends

You don’t have many options. The doctor who has

taken over for Dr. Goldfarb seems to be a really good guy. He has responded much like Dr. Goldfarb. But it’s not the same. And that brings me back to Ralph. We both had to find a replacement for Dr. Giuliano. The doctor we chose is a younger man and very smart, but like the majority of doctors these days, he works like what I call assembly line medicine…in and out as fast as possible with very little interaction. The one other thing that he doesn’t do is go to the hospital. Now, I didn’t think that was a big deal because if I go to the hospital, I will go under my cardiologist’s care. But as it turns out, it was a big deal with Ralph.

With no quarterback to coordinate everything, we were left in a cloud of confusion as Ralph lay there on the respirator. The ICU doctors say one thing. The kidney doctor says another. The cardiologist says another. The pulmonologist says another. Our heads were spinning. And of course, our general practitioner who doesn’t go to hospitals was nowhere to be found.

For better or worse, Ralph took matters into his own hands. On the third night in, after we had all left, he pulled the respirator out himself. Thankfully, his breathing came back to normal, and after a brief stay at a rehab center, he is home. Hopefully, he learned what he needs to do so this doesn’t happen again.

I guess the moral of this story is, in today’s world, unless you have doctors like Giuliano and Goldfarb, the best advice I can give you is:


14 | New Jersey Automotive | April 2024

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EV Repair: Fire Safety Considerations

When it comes to repairing electric vehicles, safety should always be the number one priority. One of the primary risks in EV repair is the high voltage present in batteries and powertrain components. Even a small mistake could lead to a deadly situation.

Lithium-ion batteries, while efficient and powerful, can be prone to thermal runaway if damaged or improperly handled. This could result in a fire that is difficult to extinguish, posing significant danger to the entire repair area.

In addition to always wearing personal protective equipment when working on hybrid and e-vehicles, technicians must be trained using manufacturer procedures on how to safely handle lithium-ion batteries and how to respond in the event of a fire. Properly outfitting the repair area with preventative safety equipment and accessories is a necessary measure to not only ensure efficient and

effective repairs, but also minimize the risk of accidents or injuries.

If a fire does occur, products like the RAE containment blanket are essential to prevent building damage in the repair area. When used properly, the fire blanket will prevent flames from spreading to surrounding areas, isolating the fire and lowering the oxygen content at the scene of the fire. All this helps give professional emergency services time to respond to the incident.

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New Jersey Automotive | April 2024 | 19



THE HEAVYWEIGHT Champion of Trade Shows!

Boasting a supercard that featured over a dozen informative educational sessions on the industry’s most pressing topics taught by some of the industry’s favorite trainers in addition to a trade show floor packed with the latest and greatest tools and equipment showcased by more than 100 exhibitors from all over the world – plus the Second Annual Bodywork Bowl Collision Repair Skills Competition, the announcement of AASP/NJ’s fourth annual Young Technicians Awards ceremony, two heartwarming Recycled Rides presentations by the National Auto Body Council (NABC) and so much more –there’s no doubt that the NORTHEAST® 2024 Automotive Services Show reigns as the heavy-weight champion of regional industry trade shows!

Held March 15-17 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, this year’s iteration of AASP/NJ’s flagship event delivered everything automotive and collision repair professionals could possibly need to jump in the ring and deliver a knockout for their businesses.

“NORTHEAST is the best trade show in the industry, and I’m proud to be part of it!” shared AASP/NJ President Ken Miller. “We had an impressive flow of attendees on the show floor, eager to invest in the latest tools and equipment, while classes taught by some of the best trainers in the field drew engaged learners to discover new ways to improve their businesses! Everyone gained something. It was an amazing weekend and a wonderful experience overall.”

Exhibitors agreed that NORTHEAST 2024 was one of the best shows they’ve ever been involved in, with many reporting amazing interactions with the thousands of motivated buyers who showed up to peruse the weekend’s offerings.

“NORTHEAST is definitely the best trade show there is!” expressed Staci Dattomo from longtime supporter and Lanyard Sponsor GYS/Innovative Solutions and Technology. “It’s an incredible crowd with really good energy. Being able to come to a show locally and meet people from your market – connecting with your customers, friends and neighbors and also having the

continued on pg. 24

20 | New Jersey Automotive | April 2024 NORTHEAST 2024 RECAP


The NORTHEAST educational journey started one day early with a special workshop presented by David Luehr and his Elite Body Shop Solutions team, who set out to teach repairers how to increase their profit margin by knowing their numbers. The lively interactive “Know Your Numbers” workshop left repairers with resources and knowledge to take back to their shops to make their businesses better.

“Is math fun? Yes, it is!” Luehr exclaimed. “Because it is going to help you figure out how to make more money!” A former shopownerturned-consultant, Luehr has spent his entire career perfecting how to run a successful business and now spends his days helping automotive business owners “gain financial knowledge to make as much as you want in this business.”

Ultimately, it’s up to the business owner to determine what they want their business to achieve. And that takes planning.

“‘The best way to predict the future is to create it.’ That quote means everything to me. When you know what you want and create a plan, you can almost always retain it.”

Diving into the math, Luehr thoroughly examined profit and loss statements, showing repairers best practices to identify direct costs and separating items into what he referred to as “buckets.”

“We do what we call job costing,” he explained. “As you use your management systems, you want to do a quality control inspection of your profitability centers on that job. If you aren’t getting money in one of your

buckets, you need to go and find out why so it does not happen again. Our goal is to improve your profit number. If you are at 10 percent right now, you are doing pretty well, but we want you to be your best. You need to bust through any obstacles holding you back.”

Using a sample management system, Luehr’s colleague Brent Henkle addressed the process of closing out files, an important best practice in ensuring each job was done correctly. Luehr and Henkle stressed the importance of making sure files come to the manager or shop owner correctly. If staff members are doing things incorrectly, they should be instructed to fix it and trained to do things right. “You’re enabling your people to have bad habits,” Luehr insisted. “Don’t fix their problems. Hand it back and have them fix it, preferably before the car goes home.”

Elite Body Shop Solutions’ Mark Utzig walked repairers through

identifying their monthly break-even and profit turning points. It all comes down to knowing your numbers and planning. Utzig compared the process to the approach a coach takes when he sets a team up to win a game.

“Coaches create a game plan,” said Utzig. “You have to know what you are going to do in advance. When you open your shop door on Monday morning, it IS game time. The whole idea is to win the game by being profitable.”

Inventory should be kept to a minimum by writing a better repair plan on the front end, he suggested. “If you are still writing 15-minute estimates carside, that is what is driving your inventory through the roof.”

New Jersey Automotive | April 2024 | 21
David Luehr
22 | New Jersey Automotive | March 2024 2024 April 2024
the FlOOr New Jersey Automotive | April 2024 | 23

continued from pg. 20

opportunity to network with new potential customers – this is where you need to be!”

Even celebrities know NORTHEAST is the show to visit every March. “If you’re not here, you’re missing out! This is a great time,” exclaimed Dave Kindig of MotorTrend TV’s Bitchin’ Rides as he signed autographs at Gold Sponsor AkzoNobel’s booth.

Representatives for NORTHEAST Education Sponsor AirPro Diagnostics, Craig Camacho and Andrew Bathe, also reported a similar opinion. “It was a great turnout,” Camacho said. “I was impressed with a lot of the displays


Collision repairers filled the seminar rooms to listen to the one and only Mike Anderson lead off the first-ever Collision Advice workshops at NORTHEAST. Anderson had the audience captivated, raising their hands and shouting “Amen” as he set out to inform them about the importance of conducting nothing less than a “100 Percent Disassembly.”

Most repair professionals may think they are doing a 100 percent tear down, but in actuality, it’s probably more like 90 percent or less, Anderson pointed out. “When you do a 100 percent disassembly, you will fix cars faster. You will see more through-put when you get the right parts. There won’t be any start, stop, start, stop.”

He’s heard multiple reasons for why shops aren’t doing a 100 percent tear down, but Anderson believes, “The number one reason people don’t do it is because they don’t understand it. It’s not top of mind. So, today I’m going to tell you how to make it top of mind.”

Perspectives vary among people; it’s not always easy to get someone else to do what is necessary. Anderson learned something called “guided discovery learning”the process of asking a series of questions in order for the person to come to their own conclusion. “If I can lead you to discover it on your own, you will retain it. If I give you the answer, you won’t remember it.”

Referring to a shop he helped train to do 100 percent disassembly, Anderson shared the end result: “In 45 days, we shaved their cycle time down almost 50 percent without sacrificing quality or cutting corners but by working smarter.”

Lack of space is usually at the top of the list of excuses repairers give for not doing a 100 percent disassembly, but Anderson showed the audience countless ways they can consider maximizing their facility. Anderson spent considerable time sharing visuals to demonstrate how

organization, space saving and mirror matching parts play a key role in 100 percent disassembly.

“When we can set our technicians up to receive parts in an efficient and organized manner, they will produce more for us.”

During “Game Changer CSR,” Anderson’s teammate Sheryl Driggers dove into the importance of relationship building and how offering an extraordinary customer experience plays into running a successful operation.

Creating an extraordinary customer experience starts internally. “Every single person in your organization sets the culture,” she revealed. “Are you creating a positive or stressful environment for your team? We have to show our team what an extraordinary experience looks like. We can’t expect them to deliver something they’ve never experienced themselves.”

Driggers got shop owners to think about the messages they send to their employees. “How you talk to your team members is how they will talk to your customers. If you don’t like the way they talk to your customers, think about the way you talk to them.” It all comes down to fostering relationships with people. People will do more for those they have a good relationship with. “You have to make sure you are creating that environment for them. The internal customer experience will transfer to the external customer experience.”

Driggers reviewed the four behavioral styles via the DiSC assessment and how to best communicate with each type- (D)ominance, (i)nfluence, (S)teadiness and (C) onscientiousness. One cannot communicate in the same way with every single customer and be effective in the same way. “We have to get out of the process mode of being transactional and truly work to develop a relationship with them.”

24 | New Jersey Automotive | April 2024 NORTHEAST 2024 RECAP
Mike Anderson Sheryl Driggers

on the show floor, and it’s nice to connect with both attendees and other exhibitors while you’re here.”

“We enjoyed the chance to meet people, talk to shops, collect contacts and teach shops about the proper equipment they need to do module programming and ADAS calibrations,” Bathe added. “NORTHEAST is densely populated with so many shops coming out, and we’re absolutely looking forward to next year being even bigger and better.”

Second-time exhibitor Matthew’s Auto Supplies came out with an increased presence in 2024 by expanding their booth and signing on as a Gold Show Sponsor, and Scott

continued on pg. 30


As more and more ADAS features come into play on today’s vehicles, the need to know when and how to calibrate these systems is becoming more important than ever. Josh McFarlin and Brian Evces of NORTHEAST Education Sponsor AirPro Diagnostics shared insights on assessing vehicles to determine which calibrations may be necessary and the best methods to accomplishing those calibrations during “Adopt, Adapt, Advance: ADAS Dos and Don’ts.”

“You want to understand as much about the vehicle as possible,” McFarlin stressed the need to perform pre-repair scans. “The more you understand up front, the better position you’re going to be in in the long run to get those issues resolved.

It helps you understand what’s going on, document it and build a case of why you went through each step.”

How does someone determine a calibration is needed? “There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution,” according to McFarlin. “We have some tools at our disposal: walking around the vehicle, scan tools, research and documentation…the technician is the key ingredient. They need to understand the vehicle and the architecture of that vehicle, how it’s built, how it’s equipped and what it should be reporting.”

Arming technicians to understand all that requires training on ADAS. “How do you defend it if you don’t know the ‘why’ behind it?” Evces asked. “It’s really important that we seek education on calibrations.”

The dynamic duo emphasized the fact that most ADAS sensors will require a recalibration after a collision, pointing out that most OEMs require recalibrations after any structural damage is sustained.

“Do the right thing; take payment out of the equation, and it’ll pay dividends in the long run,” Evces insisted. “If you truly believe it’s the right thing to do, just do it.” McFarlin agreed, “Make it a policy, and stick to

it. It’s easier to defend your process when it’s always done, when there’s no subjectivity.”

As the session came to a close, Evces offered a hopeful suggestion: “The industry will truly advance when we start to look at all things ADAS as we do body, frame and mechanical. It’s not optional; it’s not a box to check – it’s a required operation to return a vehicle safely back to the customer. And when all of us are willing to stand up and make that comment and defend it vigorously, the industry will start to change.”

New Jersey Automotive | April 2024 | 25
Josh McFarlin Brian Evces
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The future shines brightly with opportunities, thanks to OEM certification.

“There is more opportunity now than there ever was,” believes Dave Gruskos of Reliable Automotive Equipment, who presented “The Future of Certification: Finding the Best Fit for Your Shop” to attendees eager to learn how they can re-shape their businesses toward offering brand-specific services.

The equipment provider CEO reminded the audience that a lot of investment goes into OEM certification. On top of expenses, the training requirements alone will

require an A-tech to spend up to three weeks a year away from the shop. It’s important for shops to be realistic about the brands they want to represent. “You don’t want to be the

continued from pg. 25

Regalis considered the upgrade to be a wise decision. “We did really well with our booth. It’s a wonderful show with a lot of good vendors and an amazing opportunity to visit with shops in this market and get our name out there. There’s tons to see for anyone in the auto body industry; you just have to come to NORTHEAST to experience it, and I’m certain we’ll be back.”

That was the sentiment expressed by Alan Gung of My Auto Store, another second time exhibitor. “Last year was great, but our location near the door made this year even better. It was an absolutely tremendous weekend with a lot of people stopping by our booth. I love talking about our business and what we do with potential customers, so I’m absolutely excited to come back next year and continue to grow on our successes.”

While it was the first time Silver Sponsor Alloy Wheel Repair Specialists exhibited at NORTHEAST, it won’t

guy with the most plaques on the wall. All you are doing is throwing away a lot of money. You can’t be an expert in everything. You have to determine what you want to do.”

Gruskos pointed out opportunities that most body shop owners may not be thinking about. “One of the biggest opportunities a shop can have right now is putting in a spray booth that can handle vans,” he observed, referring to Rivian’s vans, Amazon’s delivery fleet and Mercedes and Volkswagen, which also have a heavy production of larger vehicles that will need refinishing.

be their last, according to Peter Farrell. “The show, the turnout, everything has been fantastic! Everyone has been very friendly and willing to talk about the services and tools they provide and how they can help us, and it’s really interesting to see all the unique offerings available from different providers. The organization at the show has been amazing as well, and we can’t wait to come back next year with a larger booth to better display the services we provide.”

NORTHEAST 2024 also brought a number of other newcomers to the trade show floor.

“The attendees are serious; they’re motivated to learn and do better, and that’s exactly what we do,” noted George Smith of first-time exhibitor SoCur Inc. “NORTHEAST has been a better experience for us than any other show, even SEMA. We heard this show was great, and that has proven to be true.”

When it comes to this show, believe the hype! “We heard NORTHEAST was a perfect opportunity to get our name out there,” offered Sean Coelho of first-time exhibitor Rapid Rabbit ADAS Services, and his brother and business partner Chris Coelho affirmed that it was exactly that: “NORTHEAST is one of the best organized shows we’ve attended. It has allowed us to meet and network with people in the industry who we didn’t even know existed. We’ve been able to advertise and really just get our name out there. We want to get involved in the local auto body community, so we joined AASP/NJ and are really excited

continued on pg. 35

30 | New Jersey Automotive | April 2024
Dave Gruskos


Running a successful business is dependent on the quality of work it turns out, and quality work is dependent on the process a shop puts into play. Spanesi Americas’ Jeramy Holloway and Alex Stapleton demonstrated why it is absolutely crucial for shops to put in standard operating procedures through their discussion, “Putting the Brakes on Passing Defects in the Repair Process.”

Eliminating any bumps along the way will not only make for a smooth repair process, but will also help ensure quality work.

“If you aren’t checking to see that you met your target condition before it moves to the next step, you are potentially exposing the people working on that job

to having to fix the problem,” expressed Holloway. “If you write a bad repair plan, every step in the process is subjected to that inaccurate plan.”

“One of the worst problems a shop can encounter is having a panel painted, only to find out nothing fits because there are issues underneath it all,” shared Stapleton.

Ever-changing technology can affect repair processes frequently, as Holloway pointed out. “New technology drives new trends. You should have a process to adapt to those things, such as updating equipment.”


“What makes a collision center ‘elite?’” asked BASF’s John Shoemaker as he began his exploration of how shops can differentiate themselves through OEM certification during “Being Elite in a Consolidated Market.” Acknowledging that the typical third-party bill payer argues over OEM procedures and proper reimbursement, he pointed out that DRP shops’ scorecards suffer because they are being compared to national consolidators that only do smaller repairs and reject the hard hits and total losses. “You cannot compete with their severity and cycle time because they’re not doing the big stuff.

“Break away from the DRPs, get OEM-certified, and grow your business from that certification; start becoming elite,” Shoemaker encouraged. “You want to grow your business through your own efforts, and the best way to do that is to specialize, to differentiate yourself.”

Differentiating your business means developing a brand strategy, but that does not mean becoming certified for 20 brands because that “just puts you in another type of situation similar to a direct repair relationship. Build

relationships with your customers based on trust and market what it means to be certified. We want to be the best at what we do, and then we need to communicate it to our customers. But it begins with identifying how we’re elite. How can you project value to the customer if you don’t understand it yourself?”

New Jersey Automotive | April 2024 | 31
Jeramy Holloway Alex Stapleton
John Shoemaker

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Repairing electric vehicles (EVs) can be shocking – literally! – for technicians who are not properly trained and equipped, and I-CAR’s Jeff Poole set out to explain the potential dangers that exist when handling highvoltage batteries during “The Latest in Electric Vehicle Technology and Repair.”

“Understanding and respecting electricity is key to understanding the safety systems and redundancies that have been built in,” he explained. “Ultimately, we want to avoid becoming part of an electrical circuit because we do not want to become a conductor; we do not want current flowing through our bodies.”

A simple mistake can result in a detrimental outcome, including loss of life, Poole stressed as he explored the various safety gear needed, touching on everything from safety glasses to rated gloves, shoes, clothing, tools and more. It is also essential to ensure anyone working on EVs has received the proper training.

Developing an intake process specific to EVs allows shops to circumvent potential issues when a vehicle first arrives. Poole recommended creating space to isolate EVs and establishing a safe zone where they are repaired. He also suggested disconnecting the battery, verifying zero potential and performing insulation tests. Most importantly, he emphasized the importance of ALWAYS following OEM-recommended safety guidelines to prevent a possible thermal event.


Running a business is stressful, especially for independent shops competing against larger organizations, but according to David Luehr (Elite Body Shop Solutions), the trick to “Thriving in Chaos” comes down to adaptability. “In every market, there are independent shops that thrive amidst consolidation and other industry concerns. These guys are outliers – they are not interested in what everyone else is doing; they don’t fall into the status quo. They focus on differentiating their businesses, on doing what they do best, and they do it better than anyone else can. They don’t think like anyone else. And they’re kicking butt because of the way they think.”

As an example, Luehr told the well-known Biblical story of David and Goliath, using the anecdote to reiterate, “You don’t take a giant’s weapons to a battle because you can’t fight them using the same weapons. You have to differentiate yourself by finding different tools and playing to your strengths.”

Thriving in chaos entails adopting three key ideas: developing the mindset of an adaptive leader, building an adaptive culture and staying focused amidst the chaos. Luehr urged attendees, “Never give up on your dream, but change your approach as needed. Stay firm in your declaration but flexible in your approach.” He also encouraged them to have an abundance mindset, which means believing “there’s always going to be more work out there” instead of a scarcity mindset which causes people to play it safe. “I want you to play to win versus playing not to lose.”

A simple way of changing one’s mindset is to merely change the word “challenges” to “opportunities,” Luehr suggested as he explored the ways that some of his clients have differentiated themselves. However, he also warned, “We can’t do it by ourselves; we need to get our team on board with all our crazy ideas. And to stay focused, we need to find our North star…what are you trying to accomplish?”

34 | New Jersey Automotive | April 2024
Jeff Poole
David Luehr

continued from pg. 30

about attending their events and getting to know even more people in this field.”

Charles Hergenroeder from returning exhibitor Teroson gave “NORTHEAST a rating of 10 – I love it here! The weekend was absolutely amazing. We’ve been busy the entire time; I nearly ran out of catalogs and made many valuable connections. I’m already looking forward to next year.”

While Paul Hill has been a steady fixture at the show for the past decade, he represented Original One Parts/Headlights Depot for the first time at NORTHEAST 2024. “This show is the best,” he explained. “You get to really talk to local shops and interact with some amazing customers. Because of my history of being here with other companies, I recommended coming to NORTHEAST as soon as I took this job. The attendance is high, and it’s well worth the time. This weekend offered a prime opportunity to help people get to know who we are, and I’ll be back next year, right in this spot.”

As always, a great deal of repeat exhibitors returned to the show floor.

“We’ve been coming to NORTHEAST since the beginning,” stated Brandon Lowder (Accudraft Paint Booths). “A lot of people come out, so we get to interact with current customers and answer people’s questions about our spraybooths. It’s been really busy all weekend…it started out hectic on Friday night with a ton of people coming through and has continued right through closing time on Sunday. We’re really excited to come to Secaucus every year.”

“We always get a lot of traffic, and this year didn’t disappoint,” agreed Neal Hoffman from Mitchell International. “We’ve had a lot of promising conversations and leads. We doubled our booth this year and hope to keep up the momentum.”

Doug Sandow (Jasper Engines and Transmissions) has been coming to NORTHEAST for 27 years. “We see a lot of people here who aren’t the regular customers we see on a daily basis; it’s an unique opportunity to talk to people in different types of businesses that may only need us every other year. It’s been a really enjoyable weekend with a nice flow of traffic.”

“This show attracts people from all up and down the east coast, so it provides an optimal opportunity to touch base with our end users,” input Dan Fontaine (FBS Distribution). “Attendees are very educated and interested in spending time to learn more about the products that can help them do better, and we’ll be back next year to teach shops even more about what we can offer.”

continued on pg. 49


“A different kind of ADAS discussion that offers new perspectives on the topic,” moderator Joel Gausten promised attendees of “Getting More ADAS in Your Shop: What Does It Take?” as he introduced panelists, AASP/NJ President Ken Miller (821 Collision; North Haledon), Josh McFarlin (AirPro Diagnostics), Paul Sgro (Lee’s Garage; West Long Branch) and Nick Barbera (Union Collision; Union), and that’s exactly what was delivered as the group engaged in a candid conversation about their real-world experiences.

The three shop owners explained their individual decisions to open calibrations centers. “We turned a weakness into a strength,” Barbera noted, while Sgro assured repairers, “It’s not as scary as you think.” For Miller, the decision came after a less-than-credible calibration was performed by a dealer he had sublet the operation to; “My shop owns the liability, so if that’s what I’m getting from the dealer, there is no way that I can afford to NOT do this myself.”

Reduced cycle time, length of rental and increased profitability were some of the other benefits identified beyond controlling quality and liability. Of course, jumping into the calibrations pool requires an investment, which varies based on whether a shop opts to use all OEM tools and equipment, pursue aftermarket options or engage in a relationship with remote providers. The necessary investment also extends to the training needed for technicians.

“The secret sauce to success in all of this is having a technician who knows their way around the scan tool you’re using and the vehicles they’re working on,” McFarlin hinted, adding that a lot of shops have found great success with teaching calibrations to gamers and young people who are interested in computers. “They’re a fantastic fit for living in that space. If they understand diagnostics, that’s a great place to start and build upon.”

It’s well known that the industry is currently lacking in the area of accurately performing calibrations as frequently as they should be performed. Panelists believe it all comes down to a lack of knowledge and verification, and McFarlin reminded shops to always follow the OEM guidelines.

“Sometimes we have to say no; we have to refuse the job,” Sgro added. After all, “there’s a million ways to get it wrong and really only one way to get it right,” Gausten pointed out.

New Jersey Automotive | April 2024 | 35
AASP/NJ President Ken Miller, Josh McFarlin, Paul Sgro and Nick Barbera.
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“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking,” Gerry Bonanni (Ford Paint and Technology Center) shared the famous Henry Ford quote as he welcomed attendees to the “I-CAR: Ford Collision Repair Workshop” and shared the secret to doing it right every time: returning the

vehicle to pre-accident condition by consulting Ford’s Workshop Manual, available at

Bonanni discussed different body construction materials and dove into specific repairs related to the F-150 and other F-series trucks, noting that the “goal is for cost-effective, less

invasive repairs.” As he explained that certain components can be sectioned while others absolutely CANNOT, he railed against so-called industry experts who have made statements to the contrary. “Beware of false prophets who deviate from the Ford Workshop Manual,” Bonanni emphasized. “I have a real problem with advice that makes for an unsafe repair; it’s up to you to research, research, research.”

Bonanni also took exception to the sale of copycat rivets that are actually “cheap junk aftermarket garbage” since only Ford original service rivets can be used. “If someone attempts to sell these to you, do not turn and walk…turn and RUN at high speed as if a bear was chasing you!” he advised. “Can you say ‘liability to your business?’ Can you say ‘potential hazard to your customer?’ The moral of the story is, if you’re going to work on one of these trucks, make sure you do it right because someone’s life is at stake.”

38 | New Jersey Automotive | April 2024
Gerry Bonanni


EVs. ADAS. Specialization. Certification. There’s so much for shops to stay on top of! During “Survivor: Exploring Trends that Will Shape the Next Decade & Beyond,” panelists shared insights on what shops need to pay attention to if they plan to be successful now and in the future.

On the topic of EVs, Dave Gruskos (Reliable Automotive Equipment) indicated that opportunities for shops are growing, and Jerry McNee (Ultimate Collision Repair; Edison) agreed, “Everyone is on an EV kick, especially when the government offers tax credits and incentives. It’s going to grow in the future; I don’t see it going away, but outfitting your facility for EVs is an expensive little venture.” Panelists also stressed the need for proper training and to address the challenges caused by a lack of infrastructure.

Referencing a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), moderator Joel Gausten asked why the industry is doing such a horrible job with calibrating ADAS and how it can be rectified. “It all boils down to training,” stressed Mike Anderson (Collision Advice). “We’ve done ourselves a disservice and failed the consumer by buying equipment without learning how to use it.”

“Shops need to understand what’s on the car, and the industry needs to properly test these systems after repairing them,” offered Frank Terlep (Opus IVS), adding, “If a mobile calibration tech performs a calibration in your parking lot or on the street, fire them…No OEM allows that!”

Reminding attendees that their shop still holds the liability for the calibration even if they sublet it, Lucky Papageorg (AASP/MA) input, “You may have a partner in a lawsuit, but you’re the one they’re going to come after because YOU handed those keys back to the customer, which essentially means you told them the vehicle is safe.”

While OEM certification offers

a way for shops to differentiate themselves from the competition, panelists seemed to agree that specialization is likely to be the way of the future. “The certifications work when you take the time and think them through to understand how to make them work for you,” Gruskos said. “But you should be fixing the car the right way to begin with, not just because you’re certified.”

“The complexity of today’s vehicles and those of the future is going to drive the industry to specialize,” Terlep suggested. “Cars are becoming too complicated and too technologically driven for any individual business to be able to fix all of them properly.”

As technology continues to increase, artificial intelligence (AI) is making an appearance in various ways. “AI is coming like a freight train,” Anderson predicted. “It’s best to embrace it, so we have a seat at the table and can acknowledge the things we don’t like and use it for our benefit.”

“Don’t be afraid of it; change can be good,” Papageorg insisted. “But if we’re not part of the discussion, it will run over us.”

For years, the talent shortage has been running over the industry, and Michael Bonsanto (Passaic County Technical-Vocational School) offered some suggestions for combating the struggle. “Get to know your local vo-tech school. Join their advisory boards and get involved. We also need to promote the many opportunities in the industry to young people who have the perception that all we do is bang fenders in some dungeon we call a shop. Reach out to local instructors and offer to visit the school and work with them. We need to keep these programs alive.”

“When those programs die, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to resurrect them,” Gruskos added. “Those kids are our future, and getting involved with the schools is a great way to tap into new talent.”

New Jersey Automotive | April 2024 | 39
Dave Gruskos Jerry McNee Frank Terlep Lucky Papageorg Michael Bonsanto
Mike Anderson
40 | New Jersey Automotive | April 2024 40 | | March 2024 2024
New Jersey Automotive | April 2024 | 41
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Being successful tomorrow is dependent upon what one does in their shop today. That was the message Mike Anderson (Collision Advice) delivered to repairers as he addressed everything from EVs to AI to shop culture and thensome in order to be prepared for the future with his closing presentation, “Success Today, Success Tomorrow.”

According to Anderson, a successful shop is one that embraces technology, offers employees a four-day work week and can attract the best talent. “If you want to be successful, you need to have the ability to recruit and retain the best talent and also know how to grow people who have no experience.”

Employees’ expectations have changed. “They expect the type of benefits with flexible work hours that Amazon offers them.”

Embracing technology can give employees the one thing we can never get back – time. “That’s why we have to embrace it in order to do better OEM research, match parts or offer a better customer experience.”

Not long ago, people thought streaming services

would never replace cable television, but change is inevitable; therefore, one should not be too quick to dismiss vehicle ownership subscriptions, which are also coming down the pike.

As for EVs, Anderson says the need for these vehicles to be produced is stronger in Europe than it is here in the US due to higher gasoline prices, but they are coming. “EV is coming, but how fast it gains traction here is dependent on a lot of variables.“


Whether the time is now or way off into the future, there will be a time when one must step away from the helm of their business.

Attorneys Jason E. Marx and Martin D. Hauptman of Mandelbaum Barrett, PC set out to inform shop owners about succession planning, so they can drive growth to their business and set

the stage toward their own retirement.

“You want to set the right foundation for your business,” Marx suggested. “Make sure you promote and develop future leaders, preserve and grow your wealth and preserve the family dynamics. Understand what you are leaving behind. What is your legacy?”

Not having a succession plan could jeopardize the value of one’s business and the family harmony. No one works forever, and thinking about an exit strategy should not be delayed. “The sooner you have a plan in place, the easier it is to achieve.”

“Planning can also be a current issue,” Hauptman pointed out. “For instance, is there someone else who can sign checks at your company if you are away or unavailable? It’s a day-to-day problem; there should be some mechanism in place for having someone else be able to sign checks. These are the kinds of things that a small business needs to address.”

44 | New Jersey Automotive | April 2024
Mike Anderson
Jason E. Marx and Martin D. Hauptman


Ding! Ding! Ding! For the second year in a row, the NORTHEAST Bodywork Bowl Collision Repair Skills Competition proved to be the main event! This fun and friendly competition once again exceeded expectations, drawing in 70 competitors who showcased their skills in welding, painting and estimating while attracting crowds of spectators all weekend!

Azam Rahamat (Anderson Auto Electric Co.; Waterbury, CT) has been coming to NORTHEAST for at least 20 years. This year, he left with a first place title in the welding competition and took home a MIG welder donated by Chief Collision Technology/ Collision Equipment Consulting. The win took him completely by surprise, and he humbly expressed the belief that “there would be others out there who are better welders than I am.”

Doug Begin (Vendetti Motors; Franklin, RI) walked away from his first trip to NORTHEAST with a first place title in the estimating competition, taking home the top prize of $500 cash. “I learned about the competition while taking an educational class, and I figured why not sign up. A lot of people competed, so I was really surprised and happy to find out I won!”

Ricardo Ludena (Gifford Auto Body; Manville, NJ) took home the first place $500 cash award in the painting competition. “This was my first time taking part in this competition, and I am really excited [about winning],” Ludena expressed. “I saw the competition and said why not try it out? I attended the show with my boss who won last year’s estimating competition. This year, it was my opportunity.”

Multiple vendors donated equipment and prizes, helping to make the competition such a huge success! CCC Intelligent Solutions provided the estimating equipment and a swag bag to the second place winner for the estimating competition. In addition to providing the virtual spray paint equipment for the contest, AkzoNobel donated a smart TV to the second place winner and a Dave Kindig swag bag to the third place winner in the painting competition. Welding equipment was sponsored by Metropolitan Car-o-Liner, Chief Collision Technology/Collision Equipment Consulting, Solidus Equipment and Spanesi Americas. Spanesi Americas also donated a TV to the third place winner in the welding competition.



1st place: Doug Begin

2nd place: Rene Molina


1st place: Ricardo Ludena

2nd place: Xavier Molina

3rd place: John Stavina


1st place: Azam Rahamat

2nd place: Chris McFarland

3rd place: Darwin Gualoto

New Jersey Automotive | April 2024 | 45


AASP/NJ continued its tradition of supporting and encouraging young talented people in collision repair with the association’s 4th Annual Young Technician Awards, gifting $5,000 worth of tools and supplies to two rising stars who are employed by member shops during NORTHEAST 2024.

Leann Taylor of Ultimate Collision II (Wrightstown) and Justin Stavina of No Limit Auto Body (Holmdel) both received tool kits stocked with supplies, courtesy of AASP/NJ as per a generous donation from the Utica National Insurance Group with help from World Insurance Associates. AASP/NJ once again worked with Auto Body Distributing Co. to put together the prize toolboxes for both honorees.

“Choosing recipients gets more difficult year after year,” Joe Amato, Sr. of World Insurance Associates, an Allied AASP/NJ Board member, said of the fourth annual iteration of this award. “We had so many worthy applicants who were brought to our attention this year.”

Applications are reviewed anonymously by an AASP/ NJ committee in order to prevent bias and make the process as smooth as possible.

Taylor has been working at Ultimate Collision II as a painter for the past year. Her collision repair career began when she bought her first truck which sparked an interest in wanting to care for it herself. That interest led her to seek work in the repair field.

Stavina has been employed at No Limit Auto Body for about nine months. His love for collision repair was inherited. His father works for BMW Motor Works, and he grew up sharing the same love for vehicles.




Recognizing the importance of getting new technology into the hands of young up-and-coming technicians in his mission to help the industry, KECO’s Chris White gifted the L2E Glue Pull Repair Collision System to a number of schools around the country via his work with the Society of Collision Repair Specialists and Collision Industry Conference. During NORTHEAST, White presented the system to Passaic County Technical-Vocational School (PCTVS).

“I think it’s awesome,” shared Michael Bonsanto, PCTVS collision instructor. “Any equipment that we can get is fantastic. The KECO glue pull system can certainly influence the kids. They don’t want to work on old garbage; they want to use new technology. If this new generation can work on something new, we can remove the old ways of doing things.”

46 | New Jersey Automotive | April 2024
Leann Taylor, Ultimate Collision II Justin Stavina, No Limit Auto Body Chris White, Michael Bonsato and AASP/NJ President Ken Miller


One very lucky collision repair shop owner left NORTHEAST with a very special gift just for signing up to become a member of AASP/NJ!

The association held a membership drive during the weekend of the show, offering shops a prorated membership rate and a chance to win a KECO L2E Glue Pull Repair Collision System (a $5,000 value), courtesy of Spark Underwriters. Krystian Silwecki of Pol-Car Collision Repair (Hackensack) was named the winning shop!

“We’ve been very impressed with KECO’s glue pull system and want to help get this product into the hands of repairers as it’s all about repairing cars properly,” explained Spark Underwriters Chief Underwriting Officer David Willett.

“We were excited to help AASP/NJ with their membership drive. They are doing a lot of great work for member shops. Whenever you find someone doing something to help out the shop owners like AASP/NJ is, that’s where you will find, Spark Underwriters.”

“We’re excited to get this system to the winning shop, so they will have the ability to do a better


Happy tears were shed as attendees gathered to watch the National Auto Body Council (NABC) give away not one but two! – Recycled Rides at this year’s event.

NABC Board member Keith Egan thanked AASP/NJ for once again providing the opportunity to make these special presentations at their flagship event.

Long Branch resident Kimberly Hatcher, a single mother with two sons, received a 2018 Mazda CX-5, donated by GEICO and refurbished by AASP/NJ member shop Mountain View Auto of Wayne. “This is such a wonderful gift for me and my family,” she told the audience. “It will help us to get around and function as a family and do all the things that we need to do and for me to be able to meet the needs of my children.”

“The community has given us so much; this is the least

quality repair,” shared Chris White, president of KECO Products. The glue pull system is a less-invasive, higher quality way to fix a dent without destroying the paint, as White explained. “This system gives a technician the ability to put down the stud gun in exchange for a glue gun to do a better quality repair.”

we can do to give back to our own community members,” said Mike Daniel of his fourth generation family business. “We were pleased to have been invited to be a part of this. We had great technicians work on the vehicle, and we’re glad to help give the car away.”

Rebecca’s Homestead, a Wantage-based home founded in 2017 that provides housing and employment opportunities to individuals with special needs, received a 2020 Kia Sportage donated by GEICO and refurbished by The Collision Center of New Jersey. Michele Elders, one of the founders of Rebecca’s Homestead, told onlookers, “This is the answer to a prayer for us. Thank you to everyone responsible for making it a reality.”

The vehicle will help the organization take residents to group outings and farmers markets. “As our garden grows, we can exchange our produce for donations to our nonprofit,” Elders added. Daniel Anastasia, general manager of the Collision Center in Wayne shared, “We believe that volunteering and donating are great ways to give back to our community and help others less fortunate than ourselves.”

Hatcher and Rebecca’s Homestead were each presented with a $500 gift card from Enterprise Mobility.

New Jersey Automotive | April 2024 | 47 2024


Board of Directors

David Yeager - EL & M Auto

(800) 624-2266 /

Ed Silipena - American II Autos (609) 965-0987 /

Norm Vachon - Port Murray Auto (908) 689-3152 /

Dillon Rinkens - East Brunswick Auto (732) 254-6501 /

ARANJ Officers

President - Rodney Krawczyk

Ace Auto Wreckers

(732) 254-9816 /

1st Vice President - Daryl Carman Lentini Auto Salvage

(908) 782-4440 / darryl@las-parts.coms

2nd Vice President - Mike Ronayne Tilghmans Auto Parts (609) 723-7469 /

Past President - Bob Dirkes Dirkes Used Auto Parts (609) 625-1718 /


Competition has always made the business world a little better for the public. This is especially true of the insurance world and its relationship with the recycling industry. For many years, there were only three “admitted” insurance companies – that I can think of – that would write an auto dismantler or scrap metal recycler. Over the years, there have been a few more insurance carriers that expanded their appetite in order to develop additional income to offset the premiums they lost due to the economy. Most recently, two of the companies have been absorbed by another company. I can think of six companies, including the two that were absorbed with another company, that will write auto dismantlers or scrap metal dealers in New Jersey.

Here are some questions to remember when looking at other companies: What coverages are they offering? Is it a garage form or general liability form? Is the insurance company an “admitted” or “non-admitted” company? Are they an A.M. Best “A” rated company? How long have they been writing auto recyclers or auto dismantlers? How many recycling clients do they have?

We have been writing auto dismantlers and scrap metal dealers since 1991 and have seen many companies come into the market and many more leave. The most important things to do are to check references and talk to your current agent. They should be able to inform you of any new agency or insurance carrier entering the market place and how their coverage stands up to yours. As you all know, you get what you pay for and sometimes you get much less!

If you are unable to get a response from your agent, please give me a call. I would be more than happy to assist you.

48 | New Jersey Automotive | April 2024
Automotive Recyclers Association of New Jersey
Mario DeFilippis AAI Vice President Wharton Insurance Group 800-221-0003 (ext. 1320) (908) 513-8588 (cell) FIT AND FINISH IS NO PLACE TO GET CREATIVE. CONTACT US TODAY FOR A COMPETITIVE QUOTE ON YOUR NEXT COLLISION REPAIR ESTIMATE. CENTRAL AVENUE CHRYSLER JEEP 1839 Central Park Avenue Yonkers, NY 10710 Order Hot Line: (800) 967-5298 Fax: (914) 361-1508 COLLISION LINK, REPAIR LINK AND PARTS TRADER Check out for resources, promotions and technical information. ©2020 FCA US LLC. All Rights Reserved. Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Mopar and SRT are registered trademarks of FCA US LLC. NJA
Insurance Briefs

continued from pg. 35

NORTHEAST 2024 offered plenty for everyone who showed up, including $5,000 in NORTHEAST Dollars. For the third year in a row, 10 lucky attendees were selected at random to win $500 to apply toward a purchase on the trade show floor. The contest is a win-win for all involved including show-goers, exhibitors and AASP/NJ, which enjoys the opportunity to give back to the people who support NORTHEAST year after year.

“I’ve been involved with NORTHEAST for 40 of its 47 years,” commented Thomas Greco, current AASP/NJ secretary and president of Thomas Greco Publishing, event managers for NORTHEAST. “I have never seen as much excitement from everyone – vendors, attendees, presenters – as I did this year. Everyone we’ve spoken to was thrilled with the turnout, the education and the thousands of dollars in prizes awarded which was used to purchase products on the floor. It was THE place to be if you’re an automotive repairer. We can’t wait until next year!”

AASP/NJ thanks these generous sponsors for supporting NORTHEAST 2024: BASF (Platinum Show Sponsor); AirPro Diagnostics (Education Sponsor); GYS/Innovative Solutions and Technology (Lanyard Sponsors); AkzoNobel (Gold Show Sponsor); Reliable Automotive Equipment (Gold Show Sponsor); Matthew’s Auto Supplies (Gold Show Sponsor); and Alloy Wheel Repair Specialists (Silver Show Sponsor).

“NORTHEAST 2024 was our best show yet, but that’s only until NORTHEAST 2025!” Miller promises. “Be sure to mark your calendars now; you won’t want to miss it!”

AASP/NJ is already working diligently on the plans for NORTHEAST 2025, scheduled to take place March 14-16, 2025 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center. Visit for updates on next year’s event as they become available.

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