BodyShop Business awarded two collision repair professionals with its Executive of the Year awards at the Collision Industry Red Carpet Awards Night at the 2023 SEMA Show: Greg Solesbee, owner of CARSTAR Hayden, and Charlie Drake, chief operating officer of Classic Collision.
Single-Shop Executive of the Year
Solesbee was named the BodyShop Business Single-Shop Executive of the Year. He has been working in the collision repair industry for 25 years, beginning his career sweeping floors as a janitor for $1.25 an hour for his family’s collision repair business in Southern California. He bought a CARSTAR license in 2015 and soon was rapidly growing his business by fixing cars the right way, which got him great word of mouth.
Solesbee’s philosophy is “operate like a family, run like a business.” And he truly practices what he preaches as his son, Zachry, is a parts manager for the business and his second oldest son, Colin, assists with hands-on mechanical and diagnostics work. His two youngest children, Asher and Paisley, assist with janitorial work, lawn mowing and car washing at the shop.
Solesbee has served as a youth leader for the Boy Scouts for more than 20 years and has served as a volunteer with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He donates annually to the Auto Body Tech School at North Idaho College.
CARSTAR Hayden was recently named Best Auto Body Shop in the Panhandle region at the 2023 Idaho’s Best Awards, and it has also received nearly perfect online reviews and has industry-leading NPS scores.
Multi-Shop Executive of the Year
Drake was named the BodyShop Business Multi-Shop Executive of the Year. His collision repair career spans 37 years, and he started out as an estimator and painter with a GM dealership group in Memphis, Tenn. Then he began a stint with ABRA Auto Body & Glass in 2004 as a general manager, rising through the ranks to district manager to regional vice president in 2010.
His next move was to Caliber Collision as operations manager, then he joined Classic Collision in 2018 as vice president of operations across all Georgia locations, and shortly thereafter got promoted to chief operating officer, growing Classic Collision from 27 Georgia locations to 223 locations across 15 states from Alaska to Florida.
He has also given back to the industry through his involvement with the Atlanta I-CAR Committee, Collision Repair Education Foundation, SkillsUSA (both as a participant and a judge), and the Lincoln Tech Board of Directors.
Red Carpet Awards
The Red Carpet Awards event has become a noteworthy fixture of the SEMA Show week, featuring the most prestigious awards and recognitions from notable industry organizations, celebrating standout achievements and character within the collision repair industry. The organizations handing out awards include BodyShop Business; NABC; CIECA; I-CAR; and SCRS.
SCRS’ presentation of the March Taylor Kina’ole Award honors the legacy and lessons from March Taylor, who owned Auto Body Hawaii and served on the SCRS board of directors.