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SCRS Announces Industry Achievement Award Winners

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On March 16, 2011 the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) held its Annual Awards Banquet at the Crowne Plaza Meadowlands in Secaucus, N.J. The highlight of the event was the presentation of the SCRS Industry Awards, through which SCRS recognizes those who demonstrate outstanding service and achievement within the collision repair industry.

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"Two Hawaiian words characterize these awards and their recipients," said Dale Matsumoto, chairman of the SCRS Awards Committee. "The first, ‘aloha,’ is familiar to us as a greeting and farewell; but it also can be used to mean the giving of one’s self-a lifestyle encompassing a life of giving, sharing, caring and love."

"The second, ‘kina’ole,’ means flawless – as in doing the right thing for the right reason with the right feeling. Most individuals can, and will, do the rights things; but it is the deep feelings in our heart that makes us do things for the right reason. This year’s winners embody the meaning of both these words."

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Below is a summary of this year’s awards, their recipients, and the achievement being recognized.

Affiliate Association Award: The Houston Autobody Association (HABA)

The Affiliate Association Award recognizes an SCRS affiliate that exhibits exemplary actions on behalf of the collision repair professional.

The recipient of this year’s award was selected based on the volume of feedback from SCRS’ other affiliate associations as the Houston Auto Body Association mixed their vigor for advancing their market with some out-of-the-box thinking to achieve greater transparency in their state’s claims settlement practices. Working with the Texas Insurance Department, and solicited participation from the entire market, they facilitated a documented survey of carrier practices and made them available to the public. The initiative’s success sparked interest from other SCRS associations interested in creating greater transparency in their own areas toward the ultimate goal of improved understanding of the carriers’ processes in a non-legislative way that brought benefit to all repairers.

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Collision Industry Non-Individual Service Award: Collision Hub

This award recognizes contributions to the collision repair industry that originate at a corporate or company level.

SCRS, through its network of members and affiliate associations, has come to understand the value generated by ongoing, thoughtful communication among collision repairers. When the level of cross-country discussion rises, the resulting additional input improves the industry’s ability to plan and implement new initiatives.

Collision Hub has served as a catalyst for the explosion of inter-industry dialog upon the national scene. A premier professional networking site for the collision repair industry that deploys a suite of modern communication technologies, including live Web broadcasts of industry meetings, Collision Hub has been extremely effective at helping associations like SCRS expand their message to a greater audience. Collision Hub, and its founder Kristen Felder, are prime examples of service to the industry.

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Humanitarian Award: Toby Chess

This award recognizes an individual or group within the industry whose efforts advance the industry through support of humanitarian activities in their community outside the industry.
As one of the industry’s premiere instructors, Toby Chess has a long history of providing enlightening information in an entertaining, thought-provoking way. In all that time, he has never lost sight of the individual’s role in the community and the ability one person has to make a difference for those who need it most.

Toby spent much of 2010 traveling the nation, educating first responders on the technological advancements in today’s vehicles and delivering the knowledge they need to respond to emergency situations quickly and efficiently, in order to keep themselves and vehicle occupants safe.

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Toby’s community service didn’t stop there. During the holidays, he led a team of "Santa’s helpers" to donate toys and gifts to families of U.S. Marines. These presents included over 100 new bicycles, four SUVs, a 12-passenger van, two cars and a giant box truck filled to the brim with toys.

"Toby truly leads by example," noted SCRS Past Chairman Gary Wano. "We thank him for his generous spirit and his dedication to helping those less fortunate."

Regional Lifetime Achievement Award: Eddie Kitzenberger

For decades, Ed Kitzenberger has worked on behalf of the collision repair industry in his native New York. He founded the New York State Auto Collision Technicians Association and the Long Island Auto Body Repairers Association and serves as executive director for both. In addition, the Northeast Leadership Meeting would not exist without his influential involvement. He has broken significant barriers regarding legislation at his state capital by showing lawmakers that the collision repair industry is not afraid to voice its opinion and stand up for itself. He has never hesitated to assist other states or associations when a helping hand is needed.

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"Ed is never shy to roll up his sleeves to display the leadership and creativity necessary to succeed," said SCRS Immediate Past Chairman Barry Dorn. "He stands up for the rights of the consumer and repairer because it is the right thing to do; he doesn’t take ‘no,’ for an answer. I have learned a lot from him, as has our membership and the industry. He’s an invaluable resource."

Special Recognition: Greg Coccaro

There are years in which SCRS finds individuals deserving of recognition, yet are hard to fit into a specific category. In those cases, SCRS presents a "Special Recognition."

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While we all strive to live honestly, lead by example, and like to think we would do the right thing in the face of adversity, Greg Coccaro has proven over the past year that he does. In the past year, his character has been put to strenuous test, and he has come through – despite some significant struggles – placing his personal and professional integrity at the forefront of his life’s decisions. Where the less steadfast would have faltered, Greg wasn’t afraid to put it all on the line. For his dedication and tenacity of spirit SCRS acknowledged him with this very special award.

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Collectively, this year’s award recipients, through a variety of accomplishments, represent the best of the best that the collision repair industry has to offer.

"It’s satisfying to be able to devote this night to those individuals who set a positive tone for our profession and serve as an inspiration for us as we move forward," added SCRS Chairman Aaron Clark. "Their enthusiasm for the industry is infectious, and as a result they motivate us to give our best as well."

In addition to the recognition of individual achievements, SCRS was fortunate to also honor and thank those that make the association’s efforts throughout the year possible. As a token of appreciation, SCRS provided its long list of Corporate Members with a specific mention of gratitude and a commemorative display to recognize the ongoing support received by these corporations.

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