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Collision Week in Cleveland: It’s a Wrap!

Jason Stahl has 27 years of experience as an editor, and has been editor of BodyShop Business for the past 15 years. He currently is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference. Jason, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from John Carroll University and started his career in journalism at a weekly newspaper, doing everything from delivering newspapers to selling advertising space to writing articles.

The collision repair industry visited Cleveland, “The Rock ‘n’ Roll Capital of the World,” last week for education, networking and a ton of special events. Everything was executed in spectacular fashion, the weather cooperated, and people were overjoyed to be able to celebrate and network once again face to face. As Tom Wolf, strategic accounts director for PPG, said at the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) golf outing on Tuesday, “I get to trade my mask in for a golf club,” so it was a good day.

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CREF Golf Outing Reception

The week began with a cocktail reception the evening before the CREF golf outing at the Matrix Trade Institute in Beachwood, Ohio, a new cutting-edge trade school that has ditched textbooks and theory to teach collision repair students hands-on skills so they can be productive and day-one-ready employees.

Dustin Peugeot, co-founder of the Matrix Trade Institute, greets guests at the CREF golf outing cocktail reception.

A special guest at the reception was Bernie Kosar, the former Cleveland Browns quarterback who led the team to great success in the mid- to late-80s. Kosar talked about the importance of offering young people a positive direction with life-changing careers.

CREF Golf Outing

The weather looked dicey for awhile at the CREF golf outing on Tuesday at beautiful StoneWater Golf Club in Highland Heights, but ultimately the sun peeked through and participants were able to play a full round and compete for prizes for long drive, straightest drive, closest to the pin and more.

CREF staff members celebrate the retirement of Executive Director Clark Plucinski.

A helicopter ball-drop kicked off the excitement at around 11 a.m., when the chopper dumped a gaggle of golf balls onto a green that various attendees had bought for $15 apiece to support collision students, instructors and schools in hopes of having their ball land nearest to the target. The lucky winner was Marty Evans, chief operating officer of Certified Collision Group, who took home a $1,000 gift card and a Golden Tee arcade game.

NABC Recycled Ride Giveaway

The highlight of Wednesday was the National Auto Body Council and BodyShop Business gifting a Recycled Ride to a local Marine Corps veteran, Victor Schwartz.

BodyShop Business Editor Jason Stahl with Recycled Ride recipient Victor Schwartz.

The presentation occurred on the Quicken Loans Stage right in front of Public Square, with the Terminal Tower and Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in full view. When emcee Jason Stahl asked Schwartz the first place he was going to drive his 2017 Honda Civic donated by GEICO and refurbished by Gerber Collision & Glass, he said, “Home!!”

Later that evening, Collision Industry Conference (CIC) attendees were treated to a tour of DCR Systems in Mentor, Ohio, one of the most cutting-edge and modern collision repair facilities in the country. Guests were able to see new Symach equipment the facility installed recently, as well as a disassembly inventory table that helps create an organized, complete and mapped out set of steps for any hardware needed for the reassembly process of vehicles.

Collision industry professionals tour DCR Systems in Mentor, Ohio.

Other events that day included the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) Affiliate Association Conference and the SCRS open board of directors meeting, where SCRS gave an update on the various initiatives they are undertaking to inspire positive advancement in the collision repair industry. 

Collision Industry Conference

The CIC, a forum made up of participants from all collision industry segments geared toward discussing and exploring topical issues of the day, was the main event on Thursday. Through CIC committee updates and special presentations, attendees learned about everything from 3D printing of automotive parts to electric vehicles to ADAS and advanced steels being used in vehicles.

A panel discussion on “3D Printing in Automotive Parts” at CIC.

They also got to see the handiwork of the students of Max S. Hayes High School after they restored a 1986 Monte Carlo for Cleveland kidnapping victim Amanda Berry. Berry was kidnapped in 2003 while walking home from her job and held captive for 10 years before escaping. Her grandfather, or “Pappy” as she called him, told her as a young girl that one day he would give her his Monte Carlo. After Berry disappeared, Pappy held the faith that she was alive and also held onto the car. Once Berry was free, she visited Pappy, but tragically he was suffering from dementia and did not know who she was. However, he still had the Monte Carlo. Now, Berry has it, restored to its former glory by collision students who wanted to lend a helping hand.

Amanda Berry, after seeing her Monte Carlo for the first time since it was restored.

Up Next

Cleveland will be the host city for yet another collision event Sept. 15-16, the HD Repair Forum, an event dedicated to serving those involved in the collision repair work of large, heavy-duty vehicles found primarily in classes 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Registration will be opening soon, so visit for updates.

To see live video and photos from Collision Week, check out BodyShop Business on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn).

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