The collision industry came together on Aug. 16 in Dallas, Texas, during the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s inaugural Cars, Careers & Celebrities Expo to elevate awareness among local high school and college collision students. The event raised more than $300,000 for this group and ended up being the largest fundraiser in the Education Foundation’s history.
The funds raised will be used to provide additional student scholarships, tool/equipment grants and instructor support to help ensure graduating students are ready for employment within the industry.
“I believe this event will be seen as a significant milestone in the Education Foundation’s history as it will be the first major effort for the organization to expand out from not only providing support to the future professionals of the industry but also helping to connect students with industry employers,” said Collision Repair Education Foundation Executive Director Clark Plucinski. “I would like to extend my thanks to not only all of our event sponsors and volunteers but also the entire Van Tuyl Group staff who shut down their 55,000-square-foot Team Vandergriff repair facility and made this event possible. We look forward to following up with participating expo industry businesses and assisting with fulfilling their entry-level employment needs with the hope that we can expand this type of event across the country.”
Both Charley Hutton of Charley Hutton’s Color Studio and KC Mathieu of Gas Monkey Garage attended the event and spent time with the attending collision students. Sponsors of the event included:
- Diamond Level Sponsors ($25,000): 3M, AudaExplore/Hollander, Chief Automotive Technologies, Dent Zone/PDR Links, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Hertz, PPG Automotive Refinish, Pro Spot, Service King Collision Repair Centers, and Van Tuyl Group
- Gold Level Sponsors ($10,000): 1-800 Radiator, ABRA Auto Body & Glass, Caliber Collision, English Color/Equipment, Garmat USA, and Gerber Collision & Glass.
- Silver Sponsors ($5,000): AkzoNobel, FinishMaster Inc., Single Source, and TenPoint Complete
- Bronze Sponsors ($2,500): AAMStraining.com, Axalta Coatings, Car-O-Liner, Car-Part.com, CCC Information Services, Clip Lizard, GEICO, Goliath Carts, Herb’s Paint & Body, Innovative Tools, Kaeser Compressors, Kent Automotive, LKQ Corp., Matrix Wand 3D Blueprinting, National Autobody Parts, NITROHEAT, Overall Parts Solutions, Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes, TOFF Sprayed-On Bedliners, Wheel Technologies, and Zak/Nexemo
- Friends of the Foundation: Assured Performance, Automotive Service Association (ASA), Ben’s Paint Supply, Color Vision, Fayetteville Technical Community College, I-CAR, My Repair Tracker, Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology, Society of Collision Repair Specialists, USAA Insurance, and the Women’s Industry Network (WIN)
“The Van Tuyl Group was honored to work in partnership with our friends at the Collision Repair Education Foundation to host this industry event for collision repair students nationwide,” said Van Tuyl Group National Collision Director Darren Huggins, host of the Cars, Careers & Celebrities Expo. “These up and coming professionals are our future. Anything we can do to support, encourage, and facilitate their involvement with other industry professionals is simply our way of giving back and ensuring longevity and sustainability for the industry we love. Giving up three days of production at one of our facilities was a sacrifice, but also a small price to pay for the great sponsor involvement and awareness the event brought to the students that attended. We are proud of and thankful to all the sponsors who put their competitive ‘industry hats’ aside to come together in such great collaboration. Thank you to everyone who participated.”
Added South Garland High School Auto Collision Repair Technology Craig Baughman, “It is one thing when your teacher tells you that you can have a future in the collision industry, but when an industry professional walks up and hands you their business card and says ‘come see me,’ the students know it is for real. This event has given my students a vision for what their future can look like if they work hard to become exceptional.”