I-CAR Collision Repair Education Foundation

Gene Hamilton, co-founder of the GCIA, Died Sunday

Gene Hamilton, co-founder of the Georgia Collision Industry Association and past chairman of both the Society of Collision Repair Specialists and I-CAR, died Sunday, 22 October 2017.

“He was a hugely successful shop owner and got involved in trying to better the industry on behalf of everyone who toiled in it,” Collision Industry Conference organizer and SCRS co-founder Jeff Hendler said Monday.

Hamilton owned Sports & Imports Collision in Georgia and became active in the collision repair industry in the 1990s. By 1998, he had made enough of an impact to be inducted into the Hall of Eagles, the industry’s “hall of fame.” By 2000, he had been elected chairman of SCRS, after already having won the industry’s “Green Shop Award” and “Industry Achievement Award” — the latter for urging manufacturers and vendors to donate money they had been earmarking for industry parties to auto body repair nonprofits.

In 2003, Hamilton was named chairman of I-CAR. He also was a board member of the I-CAR Education Foundation and Gold Class Steering Committee. In 2015, SCRS honored Hamilton with the Lifetime Honorary Membership award — one of only four ever bestowed by the more than 30-year-old organization. Sports & Imports general manager Michelle Coombs, speaking on behalf of her father, said then that he would probably tell the audience that the industry has given him more than he’s given it.

“Gene Hamilton is one of the most respected and recognized people in the collision repair industry today,” the GCIA wrote in 2013. “This is not only because of his many accomplishments, awards, and business successes; but also because in 1997 Gene helped start the Georgia Collision Industry Association that has helped local, regional and national repairers as well. From the beginning of his career he has held a passion for our industry. For Gene, it has never been enough to turn out high quality repairs in his facilities. He has always believed that anything he can do to improve the reputation and respect of the collision repair industry at large would not only make his business model sustainable but would assist his many friends, peers, and yes, even competitors provide safer and more reliable repairs for the consumer. In the end, it has always been about ensuring that friends and families can feel confident that their vehicle was repaired to pre-accident condition and by a true collision repair professional. Gene knows that collision professionals working together is the only way to make improvements in and to better our industry.”

Collision Repair Education Foundation Launches School Designation Program

From CollisionWeek

The Collision Repair Education Foundation has created a new designation program called the “Collision School Career Readiness Benchmark”. Under the new program developed by the Foundation, schools will be classified into three tiers:

  • Tier 1: Advanced,
  • Tier 2: Proficient, or
  • Tier 3: Developing.

The designation will be determined by the Foundation based upon information provided by schools about the capabilities of their program on the Collision Repair Education Makeover grant application, which is currently accepting applications.

Collision Repair Education FoundationThe criteria for each level will focus around the number of hours of instruction, curriculum in place, along with what tools, equipment, and supplies a school uses to prepare their students for employment in the collision industry.

If there is something that a school needs to advance to the next level, the Education Foundation’s grant application will allow a school to request that particular item. The goal is to help every school acquire the resources to eventually achieve a Tier 1: Advanced school designation.

School designations will be announced in July 2016, and the Makeover grant recipients will be announced in November 2016.

Clark Plucinski, Collision Repair Education Foundation Executive Director said, “In June 2015, the Foundation Board of Trustees made the decision to adjust the Foundation’s mission to focus not only on grants and donations, but also on bridging the employment gap. The new focus will be on getting the right grants/donations into each school to better prepare the students for entering the collision industry.  This new designation program ties into the new focus and will better determine what items each school is in need of that will be ultimately benefit the students.”

Cox Automotive Sponsors Collision Repair Education Foundation Career Fairs

Additional participation and sponsorship opportunities are available for careers fairs being held in the first half of 2016.

The Collision Repair Education Foundation announced a $25,000 sponsorship from Cox Automotive for the company’s participation in a number of 2016 collision career fairs the Education Foundation is Collision Repair Education Foundation logo facilitating across the country. Through this first-time donation from Cox Automotive, their participation in these events will allow them to connect with local high school and college collision students seeking entry-level employment. Cox Automotive will be specifically participating in the Houston, Denver, Seattle, Dallas, Atlanta, and Nashville career fairs scheduled to take place the first half of 2016.

Collision Repair Education Foundation Director of Development Brandon Eckenrode noted, “I would like to thank Cox Automotive for their support and we look forward to working together with their team to not only help introduce them to entry-level collision staff candidates but help educate the schools on what type of skill sets Cox Automotive is seeking to ensure the students are productive day one on the job. It is only through our industry supporters are we able to assist these schools, instructors, and students and ensure that their graduates are properly trained and prepared for industry employment.”

The Collision Repair Education Foundation’s collision career fairs are open to all industry members to participate and those seeking to meet high school and college collision students are encouraged to contact the Education Foundation for sponsorship and participation information. Sponsorship funds raised through these career fairs assist the organization’s efforts to ensure that collision school programs have the needed tools, equipment, and supplies to graduate qualified and skilled entry-level employees.

Industry members interested in participating in the career fairs can view additional information online and contact Director of Development, Brandon Eckenrode at Brandon.Eckenrode@ed-foundation.org or 847.463.5244.

2016 I-CAR Volunteer & Instructor Conference

I-CAR Volunteer & Instructor Conference to be held March 10-12
The Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) will celebrate and recognize the achievements and accomplishments of its volunteer and instructor network, as well as provide training, inspiration, and team building at its Volunteer & Instructor Conference being held March 10-12, 2016 in Orlando, Fla.

The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress.

More information and registration for the event is available online at link below:

http://i-car.cvent.com/events/2016-i-car-volunteer-instructor-conference/custom-17-0f958cae70d0442880330d633ab39454.aspx

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 Brandon.Eckenrode@ed-foundation.org.

Education Foundation Details Regional Golf Fundraisers that Need Support

From CollisionWeek News

The Collision Repair Education Foundation announced that several I-CAR volunteer committees and industry groups will be conducting golf fundraiser events that will raise needed money and awareness for their local high school and college collision repair school programs through the Foundation.

The events include:

Atlanta (GA) I-CAR Committee Golf Fundraiser – April 23rd
Houston (TX) I-CAR Committee Golf Fundraiser – April, Date TBD
Indianapolis (IN) I-CAR Committee Golf Fundraiser – May 7th
Raleigh (NC) I-CAR Committee Golf Fundraiser – May 13th
Nashville (TN) I-CAR Committee Golf Fundraiser – May 13th
Knoxville (TN) I-CAR Committee Golf Fundraiser – May 21st
Memphis (TN) I-CAR Committee Poker Night Fundraiser – Date TBD
Columbus (OH) Collision Education Group Golf Fundraiser – August, Date TBD

The Foundation is encouraging members of the industry to participate as an attendee or sponsor by joining fellow industry members during these events. Companies and individuals who are interested in participating and supporting the above local fundraisers should contact Director of Development Brandon Eckenrode at 847.463.5244 and he will connect them with the local event representatives for additional information.

“These committee members and groups have come together for the betterment of their local collision school programs and I applaud their efforts. They have spent many hours upon hours of their time organizing these events and volunteering their time,” said Eckenrode. “As the funds raised during these events will help local collision school programs, participants can know that they are making their local collision industry’s future a lot brighter.”

Maxwell High School Holds Open House during April CIC Meeting in Atlanta

From CollisionWeek

The Collision Repair Education Foundation will be hosting an open house event at Maxwell High School of Technology in Lawrenceville, Ga. on Wednesday April 8th, from 9-10:30 a.m. in recognition of the 2013 Makeover school grant that was provided by the I-CAR Atlanta Volunteer Committee.

This event will be taking place in conjunction with the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) meetings being held at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia that week. Hertz Corp will be providing transportation for CIC attendees to and from the hotel and the school so that industry members can see how the grant has transformed Maxwell’s collision program. Industry guests will be transported back to the Crowne Plaza in time for the CIC meetings that begin that afternoon.

Atlanta I-CAR Chairman Gerry Poirier and Farmers Insurance National APD Manager said, “The Atlanta I CAR Committee is made up from all aspects of the collision industry. The ability to accomplish our successful fundraising is due to the dedication of each and every member. This dedication has resulted in our ability to give back to this great industry by providing the 2013 Makeover grant to Maxwell High School of Technology, scholarships for collision school students along with materials and tools. This will help replenish our dwindling shortage of people coming into the collision repair field. I encourage all industry members to come out and see what can be done to promote the collision industry starting in our local schools.”

Maxwell High School of Technology Principal Dr. Jeff Hall noted, “I-CAR and the Education Foundation continue to be one of Maxwell’s biggest supporters. They continually provide tools and equipment that enhances our industry-certified program in teaching students how to perform automotive vehicle body repair and refinishing skills. As you know, these skills lead to excellent jobs as an estimator, body repair technician, refinishing technician, or employment in a shop office or insurance claims office. Our instructor’s aptitude and desire to produce quality student work, in and out of the classroom, can only be enhanced with the industry’s support of our program. With the industry’s continued support and the hard work of our instructors, Mr. Butch Luther and Mr. Sam Melaragno, I believe our program is in the top cadre of Auto Collision programs nationwide. We sincerely thank I-CAR and the Education Foundation for its belief in a strong education program for our students.”

Maxwell High School also recently received its second annual contribution from the Georgia Collision Industry Association.

Collision repair industry members are asked to RSVP by March 27th for the open house by emailing Brandon Eckenrode at Brandon.Eckenrode@ed-foundation.org.

I-CAR Raising Prices for Training

I-CAR Raising Prices for Training by $2 per Credit Hour

The Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) announced on Friday that starting in December, the cost of training will increase by $2 per credit hour or $6 for the typical three credit hour class. Current pricing for Gold Class businesses and Platinum individuals is $31 per credit hour ($93 for 3 credit hour live class) or $39 per credit hour ($117 for 3 credit hour live class) for others.

Under the new pricing, Gold Class business and Platinum Individuals would pay $33 per credit hour ($99 for 3 credit hour live class) or 6.5 percent more than current pricing.

In an email announcing the increase, Ann Gonzalez, Senior Director of Marketing, explained, “After holding Gold Class/Platinum pricing flat for four-years, in Dec. 2014 I-CAR will introduce a $2 per credit hour class price increase, the first increase since 2010. Even with this $2 price increase, as result of all the surcharges and fees I-CAR has eliminated (Gold Class renewal fees, Gold Class Plaque Fees, Assisted Registration Surcharge, etc.), the reduction in Welding program pricing, and the absorption of economics over the past 4-years, on a volume-adjusted basis, the industry in 2015 will on average spend 12 percent less for I-CAR training and recognition than it did in 2010.”

Customers who pre-register for future classes prior to the price increase will receive current pricing.

I-CAR Launches Technical Support Portal

From CollisionWeek News

The Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) has launched its Repairability Technical Support Portal for collision repair technical questions and answers. The site is designed to benefit technicians, shop owners, estimators, insurance specialists and field educators.

“This portal represents I-CAR’s direct solution to the need expressed by the industry; improved accessibility to the repair information required to support performance of complete, safe and quality repairs for the ultimate benefit of the consumer,” said John Van Alstyne, CEO & President of I-CAR. “We have created an online resource that brings the OEM and collision repair worlds together for an exciting collaboration that will make more repair critical information available across the industry, contributing to time, resource and cost savings in all aspects of the repair process.”

Among the portal’s highlights:

  • Thousands of pages of OEM Repair information specific to hundreds of vehicle models
  • “Top 10” repair inquiries, plus an extensive searchable database that allows model specific research into the thousands of technical inquiries I-CAR has already addressed over the years
  • The latest industry news and information
  • Quick and important reference materials such as the Airbag and Partial Replacement Matrices
  • And all the content is accessible on-the-go, from a laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc.

A key element of this new service offering is ‘Ask I-CAR’, a new service I-CAR designed to help the industry with repair technical questions. Inquiries can now be submitted online, or via telephone. ‘Ask I-CAR’ features full-time staff dedicated to responding to collision repair inquiries from users.

SCRS 2014 Affiliate Conference

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the 2014 Affiliate Leadership Conference! The conference will be held 8:00am – 5:00pm Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 in Denver, CO. SCRS has also been working closely with I-CAR on a number of issues and have arranged to hold the next I-CAR Repairability Summit from 8:00 – noon on Thursday, October 2nd. Please RSVP to info@scrs.com to confirm participation at your earliest convenience, and see reservation information below. Reservations must be made by August 15th 2014 to receive the discounted pricing. We encourage you to make your reservations now.

For those who have not attended, the Affiliate Conference before, it is a day-long roundtable discussion that features candid exchange of ideas, information and activity review from the leaders of state and regional collision repair associations across North America. It serves as the opportunity for associations to help exemplify efforts that have made positive impacts on represented marketplaces, and to share warnings of efforts that had unsatisfactory results. The object of the conversation is to actively learn from each other’s’ experiences, and to expand the level of communication and networking within the national network of associations.

The I-CAR Repairability Summit is to identify and prioritize the top 5–10 structural repairability issues & gaps facing the collision repair inter-industry & identify processes to resolve. The outcome of this I‑CAR led meeting may:

  • Shape future Repairability Summits
  • Provide direction for I-CAR Repairability Technical Support staff
  • Identify potential collaboration projects to optimize structural repair methods
  • Identify future best‑practice development opportunities
  • Provide a mechanism for OEM linking pin project identification
  • Provide inputs for future OEM ISAC discussions

Both events are being held at:

DoubleTree by Hilton Denver
3203 Quebec Street
Denver, CO 80207

To book via phone, call: (303)321-3333 and reference Society of Collision Repair Specialists, or

To book via the internet: Click here

We have negotiated a discounted room rate of $109.00/night that includes breakfast, and features a complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport.

Please RSVP to info@scrs.com to confirm participation at your earliest convenience, and secure your room prior to August 15th 2014.

We hope that you can join us.