The dynamic atmosphere at the Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ (SCRS) booth at the 2011 SEMA Show was kicked up a notch with a special appearance by custom fabricator and TV personality Rich Evans.
In an exclusive interview with SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg, Evans owner of Rich Evans Designs and Huntington Beach Bodyworks and known nationally for his custom hot-rod designs and automotive builds, distinctive custom painting and airbrush techniques and his work on television shows on the SPEED Channel held forth on a number of topics relevant to collision repairers.
In front of an attentive audience, Evans spoke about his journey from successful collision shop manager to television personality, what it takes to be a successful collision repairer and his own beginnings in the business, a subject that kicked off the interview.
A third-generation repairer literally born and raised in the industry, it all came together for Evans when Dave Popkins, a friend of his father who ran a collision repair facility in Sacramento, Calif., took him under his wing.
"Dave was the first person to let me know just how good I was and how good I could be if I kept at it," Evans told Schulenburg. "That’s why I feel so strongly about the importance of training and mentoring in the industry. Good technical training is essential to quality collision repair. One of the reasons the SEMA Show is impressive are the training opportunities and exposure to ideas it provides. SCRS’s Repairer Driven Education (RDE) is a good example."
Evans, no stranger to turning around custom fabrications in as little as 72 hours, believes the key to successful quality repair is having a documented process in place a blueprint for the repair that can be communicated to the shop’s technical staff.
"Time management drives my business because time is money," Evans said. "Putting processes in place breeds consistency, and consistency breeds efficiency, which leads to time savings without sacrificing quality. Written detail also helps when you are negotiating the estimate. If you don’t have a formula, you can’t negotiate…you’re just pulling stuff out of thin air."
This sentiment led into detailed discussion about the benefits of tools such as SCRS Guide to Complete Repair Planning, which was specifically developed by SCRS to provide a stronger formula for creating front-of-process repair blueprints, the association noted.
When asked what it was like making the transition from custom collision repairer to well-known media personality, Evans said the key was staying true to himself.
"All I’ve ever wanted to do is produce the best quality work possible," he said. "In that way, I am in competition with myself. I have been fortunate and have been able to capitalize on some opportunities presented to me, but my goal was never to be a celebrity. If you are a collision repairer with high expectations of yourself, and you are intensely focused on a job you love, good things will happen if you stay positive."
SCRS says it’s grateful to Evans for appearing at SEMA.
"Charismatic, well-known personalities like Rich add to the excitement surrounding SEMA," said Schulenburg. "But they do more: They expose practical information to collision repairers that they can take back to improve their business. It makes for a nice blend, and we are pleased to be able to provide them to the industry."
Watch the interview on YouTube