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SCRS Industry Awards Recognize Collision Repairer Service and Achievement

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The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) held its corporate awards dinner on April 13 at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia in Atlanta, Ga. The focus of this annual event is to celebrate and thank the corporate members that enable SCRS to maintain and increase its level of service to its direct and affiliate members, to purchase the equipment and technology necessary to operate efficiently, and to participate with other associations that are working to better the industry.

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A centerpiece of the corporate awards dinner is the presentation of the SCRS Industry Awards, through which SCRS recognizes those demonstrating outstanding service and achievement within the collision repair industry.

“It’s an opportunity to identify the people and organizations who have given freely of themselves for the betterment of our profession,” said SCRS Awards Chairman Dale Matsumoto. “Their contributions and accomplishments exemplify the passion they have for what they do. There is a Hawaiian word, ‘Kina’ole,’ which means, ‘One who has done the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, in the right place, to the right person, for the right reason, with the right feeling…the first time.’ That’s characteristic of the people honored at the ceremony.”

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Following is a summary of the accomplishments of each recipient and the award they received:
 
The National Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed upon members of the collision repair industry by SCRS. It’s reserved for individuals who have given to the aid of the industry nationwide and seeks to honor those whose acts have inspired many within the industry.

This year, SCRS gave the award to two deserving individuals. The first was March Taylor of Auto Body Hawaii, whose efforts and life exemplified the difference one individual can make on an industry. He volunteered relentlessly to advance the cause of more accurate labor information in the estimating guides, which spawned the creation of the Database Enhancement Gateway. He answered or got answers to database questions from repairers all over the globe. He mentored many others, and in the process, taught many of today’s industry leaders the value of the individual’s voice.

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Perhaps most importantly, SCRS says, March stood for doing the right thing for the right reason, and never lost sight that he represented not only industry leaders, but the rest of the collision repair workforce working tirelessly each day in shops across America.
 
March’s untimely passing in August 2007 left a void in the industry, but those he inspired carry his legacy within them. His wife, Patty, traveled from Hawaii to accept and embrace the recognition of her husband and his lifetime of achievement.

The second recipient of the National Lifetime Achievement Award is Lou DiLisio, Jr. from Automotive Industry Consultants. Lou has been an active industry figurehead for decades. His collective body of work, which continues to resonate throughout every segment of the industry, represents everything the award stands for, SCRS says.
 
At the awards ceremony, Lou was surprised by the onstage presence of his mother, Lucy, father, Lou, and children, Louis and Jennifer.

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“I’ve never refrained from speaking my mind when it comes to our industry, but receiving this honor renders me almost speechless,” he said. “Without a doubt, this is one of the highlights of my professional career. Those who know me know I am driven to do what I feel is right – regardless of the consequences or rewards. Receiving the support and appreciation of those with whom you work is more gratifying than any award – it is a benefit that cannot be measured by any means.”

The Regional Lifetime Achievement Award pays tribute to those who assist their local region. SCRS recognized Pat Gisler from Automotive Service Council of Kentucky (ASCKY) for her tremendous accomplishments in her state.

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Gisler’s career was founded upon representing and working on behalf of the collision repair industry in Kentucky, including many years of service as the executive director of the ASCKY. She retired at the end of 2009, leaving the association’s members and board with large shoes to fill. Now her contributions will be memorialized through this award, which was accepted by Mark Young on behalf of Pat and her association.

Recognition for a lifetime of achievement is laudable, but sometimes a specific deed merits acknowledgement. The SCRS Industry Achievement Award was designed to do this.
 
This year’s recipient is SCRS board member and industry instructor Toby Chess. Toby has received a host of awards during the course of his career and shows no signs of becoming complacent. This year’s award was bestowed upon him for two activities: the development and rollout of the First Responders Emergency Extrication (FREE) program that brings first responders to body shops to be trained to work with modern vehicles at accident scenes; and his continual self-funded efforts to bring to the forefront issues relating to structural and safety-related parts. Both accomplishments illustrate his dedication, leadership and individual achievement, and Toby was thrilled to be surprised by his wife Sheila’s presence onstage with him as he accepted the award, SCRS says.

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The awards dinner also serves as a forum to recognize those who exhibit actions considered exemplary in maintaining and advancing the collision repair industry. This is accomplished through the Collision Industry Individual Service Award, which SCRS presented to Nick Kostakis of Angelo’s Auto Body in New Jersey.

Nick is a tremendous asset to the entire industry. He has a remarkable ability to articulate and infuse logic into every project with which he is involved, amplifying the resulting benefits. Nick works quietly behind the scenes, and his sole desire is to see improvement and positive change for this industry. He is an architect of the Database Enhancement Gateway, a founding member of the Database Task Force, past president of AASP National, a dynamic force within SCRS-and that’s just for starters.
 
“I’m especially honored to receive this award because it comes from my talented, dedicated peers at SCRS whom I respect and admire,” says Kostakis. “The work I have been involved in – that which revolves around the resolution of database issues and improvement in the overall accuracy of the estimating systems used by the industry – is enormously rewarding because the resulting advancements are public and measurable.”

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Contributions to the collision repair industry originate from groups as well as individuals, so SCRS established the Collision Industry Non-Individual Service Award to recognize contributions from such entities as companies, businesses and corporations.

This year’s recipient, the Collision Industry OEM Roundtable, is an honorable addition to the category, SCRS says. It has helped establish and cultivate the relationship between the collision repair and OEM industries, a communications channel providing significant opportunities for the discussion of the issues, intentions, and needs of both groups.

Established by the major participating OEMs, this collective has been a strong advocate for ensuring repair information is circulated to the industry in a timely manner. The OEM Roundtable also founded www.oem1stop.com.

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While not an official SCRS awards category per se, a special presentation recognized Roger Larsen, who retired last year from Toyota, for his efforts to assist and advance collision repairers. Roger was responsible for many of the Toyota Collision Repair Information Bulletins, which contained helpful information used by repairers to identify the operations necessary for safe, quality repairs. In many cases, Roger produced these directly in response to whatever current technical challenge faced repairers. His willingness to listen and act was immeasurable and appreciated, SCRS says.

“This was a special and emotional event for many of the attendees, including me,” said SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg. “The only thing better than working beside such passionate volunteers on a daily basis is being part of a celebration that recognizes them and all they have done.”

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