Despite members praising its sponsor for being willing to hear auto body industry concerns, the California Assembly Insurance Committee unanimously gave a seal of approval…
Voters from the Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ member businesses should take the time to review the six candidates vying for SCRS board seats ahead of Tuesday’s election in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Voting starts at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Sheraton Station Square, immediately after the SCRS open board meeting, and “polls” close at 5:45 p.m. To vote, one must be present and a designated rep for an SCRS member business. Businesses wishing to become a member and receive a vote should call 877-841-0660 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The four open seats will be filled by the winners of a field that includes Amber Alley of Barsotti’s Body & Fender (Calif.) and Brett Bailey of A&B CARSTAR (Mo.), both incumbents; and 2016 candidate Trace Coccimiglio of Valet Auto Body (Utah), Justin Forkuo of 290 Auto Body (Mass.), Matthew McDonnell of Big Sky Collision Center (Mont.) and Mark Schaech Jr. of Mark’s Body Shop (Md.).
Candidate bios follow (minor formatting edits):
My entire adult life has been in the body repair industry, yet it was an industry that I never considered. In 1994 I was just out of high school and was told by my family to “GET A JOB.” By sheer luck, I applied and was hired at a small body shop in San Francisco answering the phones and handling the paperwork. I found it to be a fascinating business. I was fortunate that my employer recognized my interest and he began to teach me the business. While continuing my college education in the evening, I worked my way up to parts assistant manager, then to estimator and finally to assistant manager; and was able to help grow the business to a large DRP facility. When that body shop was put up for sale in 2003, I obtained a position as an estimator at Barsotti’s Body & Fender in Marin County, just north of San Francisco. In 2008, I was offered the position of manager.
In 2008 we had one factory certification, Audi. Although the company had a large investment in tools, equipment and training, the specialty work was only 2% of our sales at that time. I did, however, realize that these types of repairs would become the wave of the future. I developed a business model with the main focus on pursuing specialized certifications and all that it entails. We are now a factory certified collision facility for Audi, Aston Martin, Ford, GM, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, McLaren, Mopar, Nissan, Porsche, Tesla, Volvo, Volkswagen and Lamborghini.
Since I have been in a small business management position, my focus has been on mentoring young talent, learning about evolving technology, improving customer relations, building business growth and promoting the highest standards for our repairs. Collision repair is an industry that I love, and with the experience I have gained over the years I would like to continue to use that knowledge, along with others in our industry, to see that the collision repair business is regarded as one of professionalism and integrity.
Being on the Board of Directors of SCRS for the last two years has been both informative and rewarding. Spending time in discussions with owners/managers from all over the country has given me access to new ideas and insight. I always come away from a conference with plans to improve both my own operation and the industry. The ability to tap into all that experience and knowledge has enabled me to perform at a new level. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as a board member over the last two years as I find the work that the SCRS does to be extremely motivating and I look forward to continuing that work for the industry.
- A&B CARSTAR of Riverside
- A&B CARSTAR of Smithville
- A&B CARSTAR of St Joseph
- A&B CARSTAR Plaza
- A&B CARSTAR Wornall
Brett grew up in the collision repair industry learning the business from his father Dan and Uncle Bill, who where pioneering leaders in the collision industry. The business was founded in 1964 and operates on the principle of raising the standards of the collision repair industry. The business has been recognized by many groups as a leader in the industry including collision center of the year, Ace facility of the year (recognized by Verifacts), and local nominations that include small business of the year.
It has and always will be Brett’s goal to give back to the community and collision repair industry. Active in collision repair industry organizations, Brett currently serves as the director at large for the Society of Collision Repair Specialists, CIC (Collision Industry Conference), I-CAR ISAC’s committee member, North Kansas City Breakfast Club board member, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Kansas City board member, and member of the local Chamber of Commerce.
Prior to joining the family business, Brett received his Bachelors in Liberal Arts degree with an emphasis on communications
Upon learning about the SCRS, the value of this organization to auto body shop owners was immediately apparent to me. I have adopted many of the ideas and practices which have been shared by SCRS through the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG), and the Repairer Driven News. I have personally used the DEG many times, and I always read the emails from RDN. I believe that the advocacy provided by the SCRS nationally has improved things for my shop and the industry as a whole in countless ways.
Although I’ve owned Valet Auto Body for 7 years, I am not an “old auto body guy.” Prior to owning Valet, I hadn’t even been in a body shop. Fortunately for me, succeeding in this business requires more than just the ability to fix cars. I have experience in business management, marketing and human relations. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Utah with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. I have applied the skills and experience I’ve gained through owning other businesses to this company, and it has given us a unique competitive advantage.
As an economist, I recognize that auto body shops operate in a very unusual marketplace. There is a fundamental disconnect between the “payer” and the “recipient” of the goods and services provided by body shops. This “imbalance” or “no man’s land” in the marketplace is where we as body shops live. This creates many fun challenges for us. We serve different parties with different desires; and sometimes we can’t keep everyone happy.
As an independent auto body shop, Valet Auto Body has excelled by advocating for individuals as they navigate the many stressful challenges caused by an auto accident.
If I am elected to the Board of Directors, I will immediately get to work doing what I can to help the organization, and to make a difference in the industry. I consider myself a thoughtful and creative person. I like to solve complex problems by exploring different angles, perspectives and viewpoints. I am not too proud to admit when I am wrong, and I’m not afraid of making mistakes. I am not easily frustrated or overwhelmed. I enjoy being a member of a team and accomplishing things with others. I am a fundamentally optimistic person, and I try my best at everything I do.
I feel that the mission and vision of the SCRS matches my personal vision for Valet Auto Body and my vision for this industry. I would be honored to serve with the other dedicated members of the SCRS board.
Starting his life in the industry in the late 1990s as a 20-year old oil changer at a service shop, Forkuo rose from this humble beginning to eventually helm his own shop, 290 Auto Body Inc. in Worcester, MA. His transition to the collision side of the field began in 1999, when he enrolled in an 18-month auto body technology course at New England Tech to indulge his love of paint color schemes and graphics. Shortly before finishing the course, Forkuo took a job at American Classic Restoration in Uxbridge before moving on to stints at Worcester Foreign Motors and D&B Auto Body (Worcester). In 2006, he decided it was time to step out on his own. His first shop had a modest 2,000 square feet of workspace; today’s incarnation of 290 Auto Body Inc boasts 9,000 square feet. According to Forkuo, this upward climb was a result of never settling for second best.
Forkuo has experience having previously served on the board of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Massachusetts (AASP-MA) and has past involvement in the North Worcester Business Association. He currently serves as an ambassador of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, and on the Board of Trustees for the Seven Hills Charter School, as well as on advisory councils for I-CAR.
Matthew McDonnell has been cultured by the collision industry all his life. His father Matt McDonnell has been in the industry for over 50 years and founded Big Sky Collision Center in Billings, MT in 1978. Matthew is proud to call his father his best friend and greatest mentor. Matthew has served as the president of Big Sky Collision Center since 2013. He recognized a difference in leadership style and became the primary owner of the family business in 2015. Since then, they have added two more stores, A&D Auto Body in Bozeman, MT and Crash Repair in Livingston, MT which now comprises the Big Sky Collision Network (BSCN). Matthew’s current role at the BSCN has allowed him the unique opportunity to work on developing his business’ impact on the industry, rather than on the day to day operations; this has allotted him the opportunity to pursue many diverse boards, mentoring and consulting programs and community service.
Matthew proudly serves as the treasurer of the Montana Collision Repair Association (MCRA) since 2015. He has been considered as a nominee for the State Farm advisory board as well as Fender Bender’s advisory board. Matthew is committed to continuing education, most recently presenting at a CIC scan tool discussion panel this past January. In addition, Matthew and the BSCN have worked closely with Mike Anderson for 10 years and actively participate in the Business Council I for Axalta coatings. Matthew recently graduated as an I-CAR instructor, in an effort to give back to the industry that has given him so much. He has served locally in his community, on the Billings Industrial Revitalization District (BIRD) Board, as well as the City of Billings Board of Adjustments. Involvement in the local community is an integral part of the value system Matthew instilled at the BSCN; for example, he was instrumental in encouraging their Billings store COO to participate in the community Biz to Biz network and for their Bozeman store COO to join the Midtown Urban Renewal Board. Being involved in the community is essential, as he feels, it is our duty to serve and give back to our great nation.
The BSCN has 7 OEM certifications and they are currently enrolled in the Cadillac and Audi aluminum repair network with the primary focus on fixing the vehicle properly, rightfully knowing that there will never be a return on investment with the current market in Montana. BSCN has a comprehensive training and leadership program available to the staff, this fundamental framework consists of weekly in house training in several departments, the Discover Leadership course in Houston TX, and quarterly Leadership Council meetings for their leadership team. Their extraordinary efforts were acknowledged by Verifacts in receiving the award for Excellence in Collision Repair Management in 2016. The BSCN’s mission is to build leaders, their vision is to change an industry and uncompromising integrity is their standard. Matthew believes that these are not only values to believe in, they are principals to live by.
Although the collision industry defines his life’s work, Matthew’s greatest passion is serving the Lord. If it were not for God’s grace and mercy, he would not be where he is today. Matthew’s spare time is spent working on his favorite covenant, being a husband to his beautiful wife, Lindsey, and being a father to his fantastic daughter, Charley and son, Jack.
“To be considered for the SCRS board is a summit to be achieved, and it would be one of the highest honors of my career to serve with the current board members. For decades, the SCRS has been instrumental in the advancement of our industry and continues to appoint the industry’s most influential individuals, including one of my most esteemed mentors, Bruce Halcro. I pledge my best effort to live up to the same values and expectations set forth by our past and present board members.”
Mark Schaech Jr.
Mark Schaech Jr. is a second-generation shop owner and one of the Baltimore region’s most successful independent repair professionals. Currently Mark Jr. runs a completely independent, family-owned collision repair facility that is focused on strong marketing and OEM Certifications which is aligned with Mark’s focus on safe and high quality repairs utilizing OEM parts and factory repair recommendations. With no DRP relationships, Schaech has instead driven sales by specializing in the repair of specific vehicle lines (including Audi and Porsche). Despite the industry’s many ups and downs, he still believes that he made an excellent choice to commit his career to the collision industry.
Mark currently serves as president of the Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association and has sat on the board since 2013 where he has worked closely with other members to educate Maryland legislators and our attorney general on industry issues. He has also worked with some of the OEM’s to help educate consumers’ on the importance of shop choice to ensure proper and safe repairs.
This second generation shop owner has a lifetime of industry knowledge and always looks forward to sharing his experiences with consumers and other repair professionals in an effort to protect the integrity of the collision industry that has been part of his family for decades.
As a husband and father of two small children Mark believes it is our responsibility to educate ourselves, our customers and our colleagues in an effort to protect unknowing consumers from improper vehicle repairs.
If elected, Schaech looks forward to continuing his efforts on a national level along with some of the brightest minds in the industry.
Other SCRS events
Voters and other collision repairers should consider arriving early to attend SCRS’ open board meeting 3-5 p.m. Tuesday in the Sheraton Station Square’s Grand Station 3 room. The event is open to the public and will feature the premiere of the latest video in SCRS’ film series.
They should also make a point of attending SCRS’ free Repairer Roundtable and awards/recognition lunch Wednesday prior to the 1 p.m. start of the Collision Industry Conference. (RSVP here.) The 8:30-11 a.m. roundtable will feature representatives from General Motors, Hunter Engineering and Carnegie Mellon University, who will examine what modern advanced driver assistance systems mean for the collision repair industry.
Society of Collision Repair Specialists, March 22, 2017
SCRS, March 22, 2017
The Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ booth is shown at SEMA 2016. (John Huetter/Repairer Driven News)
Amber Alley of Barsotti’s Body & Fender (Calif.); Brett Bailey of A&B CARSTAR (Mo.); Trace Coccimiglio of Valet Auto Body (Utah); Justin Forkuo of 290 Auto Body (Mass.); Matthew McDonnell of Big Sky Collision Center (Mont.); and Mark Schaech Jr. of Mark’s Body Shop (Md.) are running in the 2o17 Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ board election. (Provided by the candidates, SCRS)