Collision Repair Schools

In Memory of Gene L. Hamilton: Arrangements

Gene L. Hamilton
June 17, 1946 – October 22, 2017

Gene Lee Hamilton, age 71, of Duluth, passed away on Oct 22, 2017. Gene was born on June 17, 1946 in Indianola, Iowa. He graduated in 1965 from George Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He moved his family to Atlanta in 1969.

There, he started his career in the automobile industry; first in sales then later opened Sports and Imports Inc. a used car and wholesale vehicle business until the late 80’s. Shortly thereafter he founded his first collision repair facility, Sports and Imports Collision which is to this day, Industry renowned. Throughout his time in the collision repair industry, Gene led the charge in shaping the face of collision repair. He also served in many leadership positions, Boards and Committees. Gene didn’t just enjoy working in his business but thrived upon it. With all his involvements and activities, his most cherished time was spent with his daughters, grandchildren and friends both new and old.

Giving back was no stranger to Gene as he was actively involved and participated in several charities. Including, but not exclusive to; the Jerry Lewis Telethon and the Ronald McDonald House which is an on-going benefactor through his family’s support.

Preceded in death by his father, Kenneth Hamilton and granddaughter Morgan M. Popejoy. Survivors include his mother, Norma Hamilton, daughters Michelle Coombs and Jeanette Hamilton, sons in law Bobby Coombs and Andrew Langmaid, grandsons Joshua Harvey and Jacob Coombs, and great grandchildren Taylor Harvey and Riley Popejoy.

A Memorial Service, followed by a Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 12:00 PM. at Ashton Gardens located at 260 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. Sugar Hill, GA 30518

In lieu of flowers, please consider memorial gifts to either Alzheimer’s Association at or The Atlanta Ronald McDonald House at

Farmers Insurance® Supports Mission of Collision Repair Education Foundation™

Donation of Salvage Vehicles Provides Valuable Training and Funding to Prepare Future Generation of Collision Repair Specialists

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. and HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., Sept. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Beginning this fall, Farmers Insurance® will start the process of donating 30 salvage vehicles to the Collision Repair Education Foundation™ for use at vocational technical training centers across the country. The vehicles will serve as a learning resource for the future generation of collision repair specialists.

Farmers® will deliver the first of the salvage vehicles to respective Collision Repair Education Foundation approved training centers in time for the fall semester. Once the donated vehicles are repaired and sold, the proceeds will be donated by Farmers to the foundation, who will use the funds to purchase essential training supplies for the training centers.

“Our work with the Collision Repair Education Foundation gives Farmers the opportunity to help support repair collision education and the careers of future repair specialists,” said Gerry Poirier, national auto physical damage strategy manager for Farmers Insurance. “The donated vehicles will serve as a valuable resource for students to learn skills required for careers in the auto collision industry.

The training centers are selected by submitting an application to the Collision Repair Education Foundation, which supports collision repair educational programs, schools and students to create qualified, entry-level employees and connect them with an array of career opportunities in the collision industry.

The first training center to receive a vehicle will be the Lake Career and Technical Center in Camdenton, Missouri.

“We look forward to delivering each and every salvage vehicle to training centers across the country,” said Melissa Marscin, director of grant programs at the Collision Repair Education Foundation. “We are thankful to be collaborating with Farmers Insurance to continue our mission of delivering vehicles to the centers throughout the 2016 school year.”

About Farmers Insurance
“Farmers Insurance®” and “Farmers®” are tradenames for a group of affiliated insurers providing insurance for automobiles, homes and small businesses and a wide range of other insurance and financial services and products. Farmers Insurance is proud to serve more than 10 million households with over 19 million individual policies, across all 50 states, through the efforts of more than 48,000 exclusive and independent agents and approximately 21,000 employees. Farmers Insurance Exchange, the largest of the three primary insurance insurers that make up Farmers Insurance, is recognized as one of the largest U.S. companies on the 2016 Fortune 500 list.

For more information about Farmers Insurance, visit, Twitter and Instagram, @WeAreFarmers, or

About the Collision Repair Education Foundation
The Collision Repair Education Foundation, founded in 1991, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to securing donations that support philanthropic and collision repair education activities that promote and enhance career opportunities in the industry. For information on how to donate to programs supported by the Education Foundation, visit us online:

I-CAR Announces New Course Launches for First Quarter

From CollisionWeek News

The Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR), announced that it will launch three new courses in the first quarter of 2016: MIG brazing, rivet bonding, and Honda & Acura electrical system repair.

The new MIG brazing and rivet bonding courses are part of I-CAR’s new Hands-On Skills Development program, a new line of courses that are hands-on and conducted in-shop, while the electrical repair course is the fourth installment in an online series focused on Honda and Acura vehicles. All three courses have been specifically designed to provide collision repair technicians with cutting-edge techniques that target today’s innovative vehicles.

MIG Brazing Hands-On Skills Development (BRZ02) offers collision repair technicians a critical opportunity to develop their MIG brazing skills in their own shop environment. This technique is becoming a requirement for many high-strength steel (HSS) vehicles entering the market, making it a skill that technicians need to know. As a result of taking this course, technicians will have the knowledge and hands-on practice to consistently produce quality MIG brazing repairs.

“The need for technicians trained in MIG brazing is only going to keep growing. While MIG brazing is a new technique to some, Honda and Acura have been requiring it for over five years on certain repairs to some of our most popular current models, such as the Accord and MDX. We are pleased to see I-CAR deliver MIG brazing training in a way that technicians can practice and learn right at their own shop and on their own equipment,” said Chris Tobie, instructional designer, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Rivet Bonding Hands-On Skills Development (RVT01) introduces technicians to an attachment method that is quickly becoming more common as more vehicles are built using aluminum, steel and mixed materials, such as North America’s best-selling vehicle the 2015 Ford F-150. Rivet bonding requires careful timing and an organized approach making one-on-one coaching with the instructor an important component of the course. Technicians who complete the course gain knowledge and skills they can immediately put to use in their shops.

Honda & Acura Electrical Collision Repair (HON14e), the fourth in a series of American Honda-developed, I-CAR delivered online courses, gives technicians the information to perform proper and complete post-collision electrical system repairs on Honda and Acura vehicles. The course also empowers facilities to ensure that sublet repairs are done properly. The course is divided into three sections that highlight basic electrical system requirements, potential wiring harness issues, and Honda and Acura wiring repair policies, tools and resources.

“Today’s vehicle manufacturers are introducing new technologies that are rapidly transforming the collision repair industry,” stated Josh McFarlin, I-CAR Director of Curriculum & Product Development.

Collision Repair Education Foundation Awards over $250,000 in Grants

Congratulations Athens Technical College (Athens, GA)

From CollisionWeek News

The Collision Repair Education Foundation’s 2015 Ultimate Collision Education Makeover school grant winners were announced at the organization’s annual industry reception held during the SEMA show in Las Vegas where over $250,000 in grants were awarded.

Over 140 high school and college collision school programs from across the country applied for this grant and each of the 2015 winning schools will have their $50,000 wish list fulfilled through the Collision Repair Education Foundation and industry donors/supporters. The Makeover program has given out over $3 million in donations to applicant schools since 2009.

Grants Awarded included:

2015 Secondary Ultimate Collision Education Makeover Grant made possible by Allstate Insurance
East Valley Institute of Technology (Mesa, AZ)

2015 Post-Secondary Ultimate Collision Education Makeover Grant made possible by State Farm Insurance
Saint Cloud Technical and Community College (Saint Cloud, MN)

In addition to the secondary and post-secondary awards, there were two $50,000 grants that were awarded to specific regions of the country.
2015 Dallas Makeover Grant
Texas State Technical College (Waco, TX)

The Dallas Makeover Grant was sponsored by Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, Caliber Collision, GEICO, Herb’s Collision and Nationwide Insurance.

2015 Atlanta I-CAR Committee Makeover Grant in Conjunction with Industry Partners
Athens Technical College (Athens, GA)

The award in Atlanta was sponsored by ABRA Auto Body & Glass; Allstate; American Family Insurance; Axalta; Caliber Collision; CCC Information Services; Classic Collision; Enterprise; Farmers Insurance; Finishmaster; Georgia Farm Bureau; Hendrick Automotive; IAAI; I-CAR; Liberty Mutual Insurance; LKQ/Keystone; Nalley Group; Rimkus; Progressive Insurance; Safeco; Service King; Sherwin Williams; and Sports and Imports.

The Collision Repair Education Foundation also awarded several runner-up Makeover grants and each of these schools will have $5,000-$12,500 of their collision program wish lists fulfilled:

2015 Ultimate Collision Education Makeover Secondary Runner-Up School Recipients
$10,000 Silicon Valley Career Technical Education (San Jose, CA)
$10,000 Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School (South Easton, MA)

2015 Ultimate Collision Education Makeover Post-Secondary Runner-Up School Recipients
$12,500 College of Lake County (Grayslake, IL)
$7,500 Pulaski Tech (North Little Rock, AR)

The goal of the Ultimate Collision Education Makeover grant is to honor a school that has been doing an outstanding job in educating students in collision repair, but needs some financial assistance to improve their program’s teaching materials and equipment. With strained school budgets, the Education Foundation and industry supporters have the opportunity to bridge the program’s financial gap and to make a difference in the lives of the students studying collision repair.

CCC Classrooom Enhancement Grant
The Collision Repair Education Foundation is proud to announce United Technical Center as the recipient of the CCC Information Services Inc. (CCC) Classroom Enhancement Grant.

United Technical Center in Clarksburg, WV, will receive a $12,000 grant that will assist the school with collision-related classroom materials such as electronics, classroom furniture, and other items to ensure students have a professional learning environment. United Technical Center was eligible for this award by applying for the 2015 Collision Repair Education Foundation’s Ultimate Collision Education Makeover grant. CCC has been a supporter of the Collision Repair Education Foundation since 1993.

“Today’s students will become important members of the collision repair community,” said Mary Jo Prigge, President, Service Operations for CCC. “Equipping them with the technology, tools and environment needed to learn and hone their skills will help them be successful and confident as they enter the workforce. CCC is proud to support the Collision Repair Education Foundation and invest in programs like the one at United Technical Center.”

GEICO Grants
The Collision Repair Education Foundation announced the winners of GEICO’s collision school grants for 2015:

Cuesta College (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)
Eastfield College (Mesquite, Texas)
Monroe Tech Center (Leesburg, Va.)
Tidewater Community College (Chesapeake, Va.)
Each of the winning schools applied for a grant from the Ultimate Collision Education Makeover program, and each will receive $5,500 to purchase items off their collision tool, equipment and supply wish list from their application.

Collision Repair Education Foundation Raised Over $100,000 at Golf Outing

From CollisionWeek News

The fourteenth annual Collision Repair Education Foundation industry fundraiser, co-hosted by PPG Automotive Refinish, secured over $100,000 through the support of attendees and sponsors. Sponsors and participants enjoyed a day of golf at Northville Hills Golf Club in Northville, Mich. on July 22nd. The funds raised from this event will go toward supporting scholarships and grants for collision schools and students.

“This is the seventh consecutive year we’ve co-hosted the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s industry fundraiser,” said Domenic Brusco, PPG Automotive Refinish, senior manager, industry relations. “The industry has collectively supported this event to a degree of taking it from $19,000 raised in 2009 to over $100,000 in 2015. As these funds assist high school and college collision students, programs, and instructors nationwide, a great time on the course will benefit the future professionals of the industry.”

“Thank you to the event sponsors, golfers, volunteers, and to PPG Automotive Refinish for making this event an incredible day of fun and fundraising for high school and college collision students,” noted Collision Repair Education Foundation Director of Development Brandon Eckenrode. “A year’s worth of planning goes into this event and it was great to see everything come together and we look forward to planning our 2016 event, during our 25th anniversary year.”

Georgia High School Collision Repair Enrollment to Double through Industry Support

From CollisionWeek

Maxwell High School in Lawrenceville, Ga. announced last week that the donations provided to the collision repair program over the past several years by the industry have made it more attractive to prospective students and enrollment for the upcoming fall semester will double compared to previous years. The announcement came during a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 8 held to celebrate the Collision Repair Education Foundation 2013 $50,000 Makeover school grant funded by the Atlanta I-CAR Committee.

Both local industry members and those attending the Collision Industry Conference meetings were provided with a tour of the program and met with school administration, collision instructors, and students.

Maxwell High School also had two collision students place 1st in state for the SkillsUSA collision repair and refinishing contests and these students will be competing at the national contest this June in Louisville, Kentucky.

Collision Repair Education Foundation Director of Development Brandon Eckenrode said, “I congratulate and thank the Atlanta I-CAR Committee for coming together to assist Maxwell High School as we are seeing this support result in increased enrollment and highly trained students demonstrated by their SkillsUSA state winning students. Through the committee’s local fundraising efforts, over $100,000 has been invested into the schools collision program which has provided everything from newly painted shop floors, student scholarships, tool/equipment upgrades, and much more. To have the program look brand new and now producing state winning SkillsUSA students should prove to the industry that investing in their local collision programs through the Education Foundation pays off at multiple levels. ”

Maxwell High School Principal Dr. Jeff Hall noted, “The Makeover grant and support has afforded our collision instructors the ability to teach our students, at the highest level possible, through the use of advanced equipment and supplies. More importantly, the grant ensures our students receive industry level training every day. We are fortunate to have the support of the Collision Repair Education Foundation and Atlanta I-CAR Committee, as our graduates leave us well prepared for the workforce and post-secondary education.”

Atlanta I-CAR Chairman Gerry Poirier and Farmers Insurance National APD Manager stated, “The ability to obtain such great results with the school has been made possible by all the members of the Atlanta Committee. Their dedication and passion to make this program excel to such high levels is second to none. Our partnership with Maxwell’s teachers and administrators has been nothing short of phenomenal and has been key to the success. We will continue to support Maxwell and are looking for additional local programs where we can duplicate these outstanding results to promote this great industry and bring in new technicians.”

Industry members interested in joining the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s supporters and assist high school and college collision school programs should contact Director of Development Brandon Eckenrode at 847.463.5245 or

Economists Say Millennials Should Consider Careers In Trades

Millions of good-paying jobs are opening up in the trades, including auto collision repair. And some pay better than what the average college graduate makes.

With so many boomers retiring from the trades, the U.S. is going to need a lot more pipe-fitters, nuclear power plant operators, carpenters, welders, utility workers, auto collision repairers — the list is long. But the problem is not enough young people are getting that kind of training.

We need to be preparing a lot more young people for good, well-paying jobs in the trades.

Read the full article here.


GCIA Makes Donation to Maxwell High School of Technology

2015 Donation to Maxwell School

GCIA members Gregg Goff, Bobby Coombs, and Executive Director Howard Batchelor presenting a $2000 check to Collision Repair instructor Butch Luther of Maxwell High School of Technology. Also present is instructor Sam Melaragno (right end, front row). The funds will help the school purchase tools and supplies.


For the second year in a row, the GCIA used funds it raised from its annual Golf Tournament to make a $2000 donation to Atlanta area Maxwell High School of Technology.  Maxwell offers Auto Collision I & II as well as almost 20 other career paths for young people seeking an education in a trade. Learn more about Maxwell High at their website at