Chuck Olsen Will Host 12 February CIECAst Webinar

Chuck Olsen, Executive Director of Operations for AirPro Diagnostics, will host the next CIECAst webinar on Tuesday, 12 February at 11am CST (5pm UTC): “Interpreting and Documenting Scan Data, Trouble Codes, Calibration.”

During his one-hour live broadcast, Olsen will discuss the proper application of live scan data, DTCs and service information during the scan process for diagnostic and calibration decisions, as well as the tools and equipment needed.

Olsen has 40 years of experience in the automotive repair and technologies industry. His current focus includes operations and continued development of remote diagnostics, calibrations, programming procedures with data analysis for improved diagnostic results, and documentation of confirmed electronic repairs and procedures.

To register for the CIECAst, visit: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8353101282448106755

Dave Luehr’s Elite Body Shop Academy Launches ‘Operations Monthly Live’

Elite Body Shop Solutions founder Dave Luehr has announced the release of the Elite Body Shop Academy’s latest training course, Operations Monthly Live. The academy says the new course is specifically designed to help collision repairers receive interactive monthly training and support to reach their operational goals.

“My observations lately indicate that body shop leadership and their teams work way too hard for the results they are getting,” said Luehr. “Shops that will thrive in the future desperately need a better approach. My purpose in launching ‘Operations Monthly Live’ is to share these much‐needed operational secrets with our industry.”

Luehr is offering the first live cast for free on 8 January, 2019, at 10:00am US Central Standard Time.

The academy says that during this one-hour training session, Luehr will share a simple system of operational goal setting and execution that will help body shop executives proactively regain control and find operational success like never before.

To attend, visit and signup for Operations Monthly Live. The academy says visitors who subscribe to future monthly live casts will be given an opportunity to interact live with Luehr while learning world‐class operational techniques and leadership fundamentals, with the blend of educational content allowing participants to successfully implement and sustain the operational techniques learned each month.

Dave Luehr’s Elite Body Shop Academy was created in 2018, with the goal of providing “collision shop personnel modern operational, leadership, and general body shop education in an easy-to-access online video format”. Visitors can sign up for free at the academy to access their own private content accounts.

To learn more, visit elitebodyshopsolutions.com/academy.

ASA Appoints Ray Fisher As Executive Director

Ray Fisher, Executive Director of ASA’s Michigan affiliate, has been selected to head the Automotive Service Association as its Executive Director and President, from the beginning of 2019.

Fisher replaces Dan Risley, who left to pursue an opportunity in his home state of Illinois in July. Beth Risch has served as ASA’s interim Chief Operating Officer while ASA’s Board of Directors conducted an extensive search.

“I appreciate the opportunity that the ASA Board of Directors has afforded me, and I look forward to serving the independent automotive repair industry,” Fisher said about his new role leading the 67-year-old organisation.

“We are at a critical time in our industry where involvement plays an important role. Education and training are no longer an elective but required. Trade schools were forgotten, technology can be overwhelming, and we have an aging workforce that is faced with some difficult decisions. ASA can help lead the industry in addressing those challenges.”

ASA Board Chairman Roy Schnepper said the board felt Fisher distinguished himself in several categories that led to his selection.

“The ASA National Board considered many variables in choosing our next executive director,” said Schnepper. “After reviewing approximately 80 resumes, the search committee of Bryan Kelly, Jim Keller, Robert Redding, Darrell Amberson and myself narrowed it down to three well-qualified candidates and presented this to the board of directors. Ray’s broad industry background and long association experience as Executive Director of the ASA-Michigan affiliate made him the best candidate. We welcome Ray to his new role and look forward to working with him to grow the association through his knowledge and dedication to serving our members.”

Fisher, who has served the industry in varied roles, has been President and Executive Director of ASA-Michigan since 2010. In addition, he served as a body shop manager for more than 20 years and an expert witness for a local law firm regarding collision repair and processes.

With formal education in business administration, Fisher is an Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) and an Accredited Master Automotive Manager (AMAM). He has extensive legislative experience, driving key issues for ASA-Michigan members on sales tax issues and shop licensing. His recognition and contributions to the organisations he served have resulted in numerous awards, including the ASA Affiliate of the Year Award in 2018, ASA Legislative Award in 2015 and 2016, as well as the I-CAR Founder’s Award.

“I’d also like to thank Beth Risch for her service as interim COO during our search process and look forward to continuing our relationship in her consulting capacity,” added Schnepper.

Robert Bryant Named Chief Executive Officer Of Axalta

Axalta has announced that its board of directors has named Robert Bryant Chief Executive Officer on a permanent basis, effective immediately. He had been serving as interim CEO since October 2018. Bryant was also appointed to serve on Axalta’s board of directors.

“Over the past two months, Robert has seamlessly stepped into the role of interim CEO and led the company in a challenging market environment,” said Charlie Shaver, Axalta’s Chairman of the Board. “Having worked closely with him over the past six years, I am extremely confident in his ability to lead Axalta effectively as our permanent CEO. The board and I look forward to seeing Axalta build on its success and continue to thrive under Robert’s leadership.”

“I appreciate the board’s confidence in me and am honoured to continue working alongside a talented management team and dedicated employees to build on Axalta’s well-deserved reputation for customer service and innovation,” Bryant said.

The company also announced that Sean Lannon has been named Chief Financial Officer on a permanent basis, effective immediately. He had been serving as Vice President and interim Chief Financial Officer since October 2018.

“Sean’s business and financial acumen, years of experience working in increasingly senior finance roles at Axalta, and extensive background in financial reporting make him a great fit to succeed me as Axalta’s CFO,” said Bryant. “I am very excited to continue working with Sean to grow Axalta and build shareholder value over the long term.”

Suncorp Becomes First Thatcham Research ‘Global Associate’

Thatcham Research has announced the renewal of its contract with Suncorp, extending the successful collaboration that has seen Suncorp distribute Thatcham Research repair data in Australia and New Zealand since 2013.

Under the renewed agreement, Suncorp will become the first ever Thatcham Research Global Associate, providing Suncorp with access to Thatcham Research’s large vehicle research, data and services.

“We are delighted to welcome Suncorp as our first ever Global Associate member, building on the successful partnership we have enjoyed over the last five years,” said Neale Phillips, Global Product Director, Thatcham Research. “We are committed to supporting its needs and those of its repair network – starting with an upgrade to escribe which will shortly see the inclusion of vehicle manufacturer methods, to further increase vehicle coverage.”

Thatcham’s online portal escribe provides insurance assessors and repairers with instant access to the latest multi-franchised Thatcham Research crash repair methods, times and technical newsletters.

“Thatcham repair data helps to ensure that our customer’s vehicles are repaired in the most safe and efficient manner, so the decision to extend and strengthen our relationship with such a respected industry body was an easy one and aligns 100 per cent with Suncorp’s overarching repair strategy,” said Brett Wallace, EM Assessing & Repair Performance, Suncorp.

Jonathan Hewett Appointed Chief Executive At Thatcham Research

Thatcham Research has announced the appointment of Jonathan Hewett as its new Chief Executive beginning from early next year. Hewett brings a wealth of senior management, international and strategic leadership skills from across the insurance, automotive, and financial sectors at a significant time for the company as it approaches its 50th anniversary.

Thatcham Research says Hewett’s expertise will lead and evolve its strategy and help guide its insurer members through vehicle safety, repair and security in a period of exponential technological advancements in connectivity, future automated driving capabilities as well as complex vehicle materials and structures.

Hewett joins from Octo Telematics where he was Global Chief Marketing Officer and drove business growth, working closely with insurers, vehicle manufacturers, fleet and rental organisations as well as government bodies, also understanding and providing digital solutions in the age of the Internet of Things.

Prior to this, he has held various senior leadership and international roles across the automotive, insurance and finance sectors, including AIG, Dealflo Ltd, Dixons PLC, Post Office Direct, Sainsbury’s Bank and Barclays Bank.

Graham Gibson, Chairman at Thatcham Research said: “In a period when cars will change out of all recognition as we know them today, I am delighted that Jonathan has been appointed as Chief Executive. He brings considerable knowledge and experience, combined with great leadership skills.”

Hewett said: “We are amid once-in-a-lifetime changes to our relationship with cars and mobility in general. The consequent impact on insurers and the automotive sector presents enormous opportunities to improve consumer experience and efficiency for businesses. Over the last 50 years, Thatcham Research has provided crucial insight and data driven analysis for insurers and the automotive industry as a whole, and I am very much looking forward to working with the team in pursuit of our vision – safer cars and fewer crashes.”

Italy Plant To Become New Mopar Parts Distribution Hub Serving World Markets

The historic Fiat plant in Rivalta, located near Turin in Italy, is set to become one of the Mopar brand’s global parts and distribution centres serving Europe, the Middle East, Africa (EMEA) and additional world markets.

Prompted by the rapid global expansion of Mopar, the service, parts and customer-care brand for FCA vehicles, the project will transform a former vehicle production plant into an “innovative, energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable” parts and accessories storage and distribution warehouse. The new facility will support over 5000 locations, significantly improving delivery time to dealerships and workshops, increasing customer service quality as a result.

“As we grow the Mopar brand around the world, customer satisfaction continues to be one of our key global priorities,” said Pietro Gorlier, Global Head of Parts and Service (Mopar) and Chief Operating Officer of the EMEA region.

“Delivery of the right part at the right time around the globe is at the core of what we do, so we continue to invest in our more than 50 parts distribution centres worldwide. In the case of Rivalta, we are proud to revive a building with a great industrial legacy and transform it into a state-of the art, forward-looking international parts distribution hub that will serve our markets in Europe and beyond.”

Axalta Opens World’s Largest R&D Centre Dedicated To Coatings and Colour

Axalta has officially opened its Global Innovation Center, the largest coatings research and development centre in the world, with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The company says the 16,260 square metre Global Innovation Center offers unparalleled specialty labs along with office space. Its location in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard enables collaboration amongst Axalta employees, business partners, and customers throughout the Philadelphia area and beyond.

“Axalta’s Global Innovation Center will become the central hub for our global research, product development, and technology initiatives where we develop and deliver the most innovative coatings products in the world,” said Robert Bryant, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Axalta. “Whether in colour technology, polymer and formulation chemistry, or application knowledge, the world-class capabilities and talent at Axalta’s Global Innovation Center will fuel new products and deliver the solutions that our customers want to grow their businesses into the future.”

Axalta says the Navy Yard location offers an attractive workplace for new talent, and the new campus was built with researchers in mind, modelling an academic setting with a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces to foster teamwork and creativity.

“Axalta’s team of scientists and technicians at the Global Innovation Center will develop next generation coatings products and keep pace with emerging application needs,” said Barry Snyder, Axalta’s Chief Technology Officer. “Regulations and customer demands call for newer technologically advanced coatings. The increasing use of light-weight plastic and composite materials in vehicles to save fuel require new coatings formulations. Developing products to suit these and other needs will be the mission of the Global Innovation Center and Axalta’s worldwide research and development network.”

After the public ribbon cutting ceremony, Axalta hosted more than 100 customers for a first look of the Global Innovation Center with tours of the facility.

AAAA Innovation Labs Supporting The Future Growth Of Australian Automotive Manufacturing

The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) has announced the establishment of two automotive Innovation Labs based in Victoria and South Australia.

Co-funded by federal and Victorian government industry development grants, the operation of these new Innovation Labs will be led by the AAAA, with the association saying they will provide Australian automotive product designers, manufacturers and start-ups with the tools, technology, vehicles, expertise and collaborative environment required to innovate, design, test and manufacture for local and export markets.

Advanced manufacturing services including 3D scanning and printing, measuring sessions, technology transfer, Computer Aided Design and prototyping will be provided. Advanced product development and testing facilities will significantly reduce the time and cost in developing innovative new products for local and global markets.

According to AAAA Chief Executive Officer, Stuart Charity, the establishment of these Innovation Labs will grow an industry that is already punching well above its weight on the global stage.

“Australian automotive aftermarket industry manufacturers are currently producing parts, components and technology worth more than five billion dollars each year.

“Our companies are world leaders in the design and manufacture of specialty products with a technological advantage such as 4WD, high performance and motorsport components. These products are purchased on innovation, performance and features rather than on price. Our businesses have been successful because they have made significant investments in R&D and capital equipment and have a strong export focus.

“Establishing this collaborative infrastructure will position our industry for future domestic and export market growth by providing the innovators of the industry with the leading-edge technology and expertise needed to take Australian automotive industry innovations to the world, regardless of how large or small their businesses are.”

The AAAA has appointed automotive industry engineering specialist Luke Truskinger to the role of Innovation Lab Project Manager. Along with his Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, the AAAA says Truskinger brings extensive local and international OEM experience to this new role and a history of supporting the Innovation Lab project, understanding the critical role that the labs will play to support the future growth of Australia’s automotive manufacturing industry.

The AAAA says it will be engaging in extensive discussions with Australia’s automotive parts and accessories industry to build on the significant work already undertaken as part of the Innovation Lab feasibility study. The next few months of the establishment phase will ensure that the equipment and services offered by the Australian Innovation Labs are closely aligned with the current and future needs of the Australian automotive manufacturing industry.

“We look forward to inviting automotive manufacturers to take advantage of the services and facilities that our Innovation Labs will offer to assist in taking their products from concept to domestic and global market success,” said Charity.

To find out more or to register your interest in the Automotive Innovation Labs, contact AAAA Innovation Lab Project Manager Luke Truskinger – [email protected].

Matrix Electronic Measuring Appoints Travis Young As President

Matrix Electronic Measuring Inc, inventors of the Matrix Wand 3D Measuring System, announced the promotion of Travis Young to President. Previously, Young served as the company’s Vice President of Business Development.

“Travis has a proven track record of leadership and business success throughout his career,” said Jan Srack, CEO and co-founder of the company. “During his tenure as Vice President, he injected a new and exciting energy into the company and it has delivered great results for our customers and employees.”

Prior to Matrix, Young was based in the United Kingdom and served as vice president of global business development for an industrial equipment manufacturer.