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Preventing Corroision After Collision Repairs Protects Profits, Performance for the Long Haul

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When a truck or commercial vehicle is manufactured, preventative measures are taken to resist corrosion over the life of that vehicle. These preventative measures come in the form of primers, sealers, and coatings along with various application and process methods. In the event of a collision, these protective materials can be compromised and need to be restored properly. Restoring the corrosion protection and being careful not to create new corrosion hot spots is the key to a proper repair.

When asked to identify the causes of corrosion on trucks today, the common responses are salt and corrosive chemicals, moisture or damaged coatings from stone chips. Most owner/operators and repair technicians don’t consider that collision repairs are commonly the cause of premature vehicle corrosion. Common processes such as grinding, welding and cutting in the truck collision repair process can create opportunities for corrosion. If these processes are not understood and addressed with proper repair methods and corrosion protection, it can lead to cosmetic consequences or, more importantly, compromised protection of structural parts which are critical to the safety of the truck.

What exactly is corrosion? Corrosion is an electrochemical reaction called oxidation that is formed when combining exposed metal, oxygen and an electrolyte such as an acid, salt or moisture. Galvanic corrosion is another type of corrosion that occurs when two dissimilar metals come together in contact with an electrolyte such as moisture.

When OEM coatings are damaged in an accident, it leaves bare metal exposed. Once bare metal is exposed, a corrosive hot spot can start to form on the exterior and interior panels by forming flash rusting. The corrosive hot spot can negatively affect rivet joints, weld joints, floor pan, cab corner extensions and reinforcement pillars. One such coating that could be compromised during the accident is the electrodeposition coating or known as “E-Coat”. During the repair process it is very important to maintain or keep the E-Coat intact and to only remove this coating in the necessary locations.

Areas known as the seam sealer joints can be stressed in an accident resulting in distortion, twisting and damage. Seam sealers are designed to eliminate moisture, air intrusion and, in some situations, noise. Seam sealer joints should be thoroughly inspected after an accident to determine if the seam sealer has been damaged or compromised in any way.

Improper collision repairs can affect exterior and interior truck components. Heat is a promoter of corrosion and can be neglected during the repair process. Repair technicians need to keep in mind that they create heat through grinding, cutting and welding. Continuation of applied heat to surfaces can accelerate metals to high temperatures. When the metal cools, this can result in condensation or moisture. Even though the technician works on the outside of the panel during the repair process, the backside of the panel can be affected throughout the repair. The coating on the backside of the panel is usually compromised or even removed through hammering, pulling, dollies, stud weld pin inserts and even prying. This can leave the exposed metal susceptible to corrosion.

To restore the integrity of this coating when access to the backside is difficult or limited, use 3M™ 08852 Cavity Wax Plus. This product will effectively coat and protect these areas from corrosion by sealing out oxygen from the metal. This is an easy-to-use aerosolized product that can be used with a variety of application wands. The 3M™ Cavity Wax Plus Applicator Wand Kit 08851 contains and 8” wand for easy-to-access areas as well as two longer wands for accessing enclosed areas (frame rails, cab corners/supports).

Technicians need to keep in mind while working with bare metal that bare hands can leave behind salt, moisture and other contaminants. This neglected habit can also lead to corrosion. Wearing gloves and designating tools for specific metals can also help to reduce the potential for creating corrosion during the repair process.

Removing rivets during a heavy duty truck repair can also contribute to galvanic corrosion. For example, steel particles being removed from the substrate can get lodged into surrounding crevice areas. Also, high amounts of heat can be generated while grinding on these substrates which can lead to a potential corrosion hot spot. 3M™ Cubitron™ II sanding and grinding abrasives run cool during the rivet removal process due to consistent shape mineral and fast cutting action. This can help reduce the negative effect of heat during these applications.

The other area of concern during the riveting process is the reattachment point of the rivet. During the repair process the technician inserts coated steel rivets into an aluminum substrate. Even though a coating has been applied to the surface of the rivet, the coating could be scratched during the insert process leading to galvanic corrosion. This is why it’s important during the refinish process to completely coat the rivet on the backside of the panel or even apply 3M 08852 Cavity Wax Plus as added protection.

You can see how a neglected repair processes could potentially lead to corrosion. Neglecting corrosion protection can affect the life of the truck or possibly change the designed path of energy in the event of a future accident. 3M’s commitment to the commercial vehicle and heavy duty truck market help deliver solutions for corrosion protection as well as other challenges within the repair process.

For more information on heavy duty truck repair solutions from 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division, visit 3MCollision.com/HDtrucks.

An Introduction to Paint Booth Filters & Maintenance

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The filters you choose for your truck refinish paint booth — and how well you maintain them — can have a direct impact on everything from booth efficiency and paint finish quality to booth maintenance costs and the safety of technicians. But before you select your booth filters, it’s important to understand all your booth’s filtration locations and the types of filters that can be used for each location.

Air Make-Up Filters
Depending on your paint booth setup, the first line of filtration defense may be in the air make-up unit, which provides pressurized air to the booth. These filters trap large particles before air reaches the air make-up unit. In addition to protecting the air make-up unit itself, these filters play an important role in extending the life of more expensive intake filtration further down the line. Relatively inexpensive, air make-up filters are sometimes known as a sacrificial layer.

Intake Filters
You likely wouldn’t know it because they are invisible to the naked eye, but particles as small as 10 microns can cause defects in your paint job. For reference, that’s about 0.0004 inches. A paint booth relies on high-quality intake filtration to remove these particles before they can contaminate the paint job.

Intake filters are often internally-supported polyester panel filters or linked panel filters, which are typically designed to be installed without the aid of clips or other mounting hardware to create a leak-free static fit when inserted into the frame. Your paint booth’s airflow style determines the type and efficiency of intake filter used.

Crossdraft Booths: In crossdraft booths, air is either pulled through a filtered intake door or pushed through a filtered intake plenum. Global Finishing Solutions® (GFS) supplies intake filters for crossdraft booths with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) 7 rating, which is higher than the industry standard.

Side Downdraft, Semi-Downdraft and Downdraft Booths: Air is introduced into these booths through a filtered ceiling. The diffusion-type media pad used for ceiling intake filtration is much more efficient, with a rating of MERV 10 or higher. This rating ensures an internal cleanroom atmosphere that removes more than 99 percent of all particles 10 microns or larger from the air entering the booth.

Exhaust Filters
Where intake filters ensure that you are working with clean air from the start, exhaust filters ensure the air leaving the booth is safe for the environment, while also preventing potentially dangerous chemicals from remaining in the booth.

Exhaust filtration also protects your fans, exhaust stack and plenum from the buildup of overspray contamination. To do this effectively, exhaust filters need to hold enough paint to avoid constantly replacing them. At same time, these filters must provide a minimal pressure drop in the booth to ensure particles don’t harden and end up on the painted surface.

Traditional exhaust filters are generally single-stage filtration media made of multilayered polyester and/or fiberglass. Differences in fiber configuration, density and composition impact how exhaust filters will perform. With a 99.94 percent particle removal efficiency and holding capacity of 4.4 pounds, GFS Wave filters are designed to meet or exceed the performance of the original equipment filters.

The same type of exhaust filter can be used in crossdraft, side downdraft, semi-downdraft and downdraft booths but the location and frame configuration differ:

Crossdraft and Semi-Downdraft Booths: Exhaust filters are secured to the plenum located at the rear of the booth.

Side Downdraft Booths: Air is pulled into floor-level filtered exhaust plenums on both sides of the booth.

Downdraft Booths: Filters are located in the exhaust pit in the floor.

Filter Maintenance
Just as important as deciding which filters to use is establishing a regular schedule for changing your intake and exhaust filters. The cleanliness of your spray booth and the work you do within depend heavily on it. Clogged or overloaded filters may not allow proper airflow through the booth, causing dust or overspray to recirculate through the booth and affect the finish of your paint job.

Beyond that, it is also an important step in ensuring your paint operation meets the health and safety standards required by OSHA and NFPA regulations. In more severe situations, clogged filters may create flammable or explosive conditions within your booth.

Filters will reach their “target” reading and require replacement at varying rates. These rates also depend upon the paint type, booth design, fan speed, temperature, spray equipment, etc. One way to establish a change-out schedule for exhaust filters is to compare readings from a manometer or magnehelic pressure gauge with the booth manufacturer’s specs. Without a pressure gauge, it is best to establish a strict maintenance schedule based on the volume of spraying taking place on a day-to-day basis.

Ultimately, it is best to work with your spray booth manufacturer or filter supplier to design an effective schedule for changing your filters that finds a good balance between filtration needs and cost efficiency in your booth’s performance. GFS and many of their distributors throughout North America offer preventative maintenance plans — with quarterly, annual and just-in-time filter replacement offerings — to take the hassle out of paint booth filter maintenance.

     

Road to Green: HD Vehicle Technology Will Change Labor Measurement

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The progression of heavy duty vehicle technology will make a dramatic difference in measuring a typical HD service shop business. The HD aftermarket will have to relearn this portion of the business all over again. You will find that a typical HD shop owner is going to require 6 to 8 days of management training per year moving forward. This labor measurement is one of the changes that will have to be relearned as the old way of setting and measuring labor rates will leave too much money on the table.

As commodity margins decline and HD vehicle software grows, everyone must understand where their management attention must be directed.

A redefined labor measurement will take place within the next year to maximum 2 year period.

A “maintenance labor” category will be just that, pure maintenance work based on the manufacturers recommended service intervals and repairs of worn out or broken parts.

Diagnostic labor will be the analyzation of a situation or interpretation of information. (What is the problem, what caused it and what is the solution?)

Inspection labor will be all completed paid inspections.

Re-Flash will be strictly updating the vehicle from the OEM website.

Calibration labor will be a new category as the lining up of sensors after a repair has taken place will become an additional specialty skill within the HD shop. Software platforms will have to be understood.

The key information that will need to be understood is “what will the mix of each labor category be within the shop?” This brings back the importance of key efficiency measurement for each category as specific training will have to be required and making sure the shop has the right skill set within the team to ensure professional execution of the services on behalf of the HD client. The efficiency measurement of each category will also help establish the billed hours per R/O.

Measuring the “effective” rate will be critical in the labor mix measurement. How much labor should we be getting from each labor category to justify the staffing level?

All that being said another big change coming to the industry will be the setting of labor rates for each category. Labor rate multiples will change from what they are now based around the technicians hourly wage to working with the individual shops actual cost per billed hour.

Better “job quoting” skills will have to be embraced because the knowledge for “how” a job must be done and “what kind of labor” is involved to complete the job to total client satisfaction must be learned.

As you can see, personnel development and business measurement will become more intertwined than ever before. All of these things combined will affect the net profit of the business.

Our heavy duty industry is changing so rapidly and dramatically and the reason for this is due to vehicle technology and technician competency that will be required to fix and maintain a vehicle properly.

I see this as just the beginning of so many changes coming to the heavy duty aftermarket sector within the next 1 to 2 years maximum. What will happen to the HD shops that don’t have a learning culture in their business or won’t want to re-learn and move in the direction they must? Time will not be on their side. It is this kind of change that will dramatically separate the heavy duty shops in a given marketplace.

As the business owner you want to be committed to keep “ahead of the wave” and seek out the business knowledge you will need to keep the business moving forward. Hold on for the ride over the next 2 years, it will be a great one for the heavy duty shops that get it.

Bob Greenwood

Road to Green: Do You Have a Problem with Too Much Staff Turnover?

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Everyone acknowledges the shortage of competent technicians, and staff in general, in this heavy duty industry, but it becomes really scary when a HD service shop can’t keep the staff it does find. When a shop can’t keep good people, it not only affects the shop’s general attitude, it affects the profitability too.

Constant personnel “replacement” is not personnel “management”.

Too much personnel replacement is not good for business. It creates a situation where too much time by the shop owner is used in a perceived negative process, rather than spending time working on the positive processes of the business that builds a client base, and profitability. If the business is not moving forward, then the fact is, it is stagnant, or moving backwards.

Consider the following:

  • In many cases, it is not the staff that is the problem; it is “shop management” that is the problem.
  • If an employee would leave a shop for a $4 or $6 per hour raise, then the employee does not “see” a future with the current shop that would allow him/her to earn in excess of the amount offered, to enjoy a career. The employee sees the current situation as a job. The owner does not seem to believe in, or have the skill to, create positive employee business relationships.
  • Due to a shortage of competent people, it must be recognized that dealing with staff members today must change substantially compared to the 1990’s mentality.
  • It must be recognized that you can buy a man’s time; you can buy his physical presence at a given place; you can even buy a measured number of his skilled muscular motions per hour. But, you cannot buy enthusiasm today; you cannot buy initiative today; you cannot buy loyalty today; you cannot buy devotion to the business today. You must EARN these.
  • Heavy duty shop employers today must learn to be supportive, and willing to take responsibility, of its employee’s long-term “well-being”. The employer, in essence, is stating, “You are not easily replaced, therefore, I am interested in you, and your future, and how working with, and being part of this company can meet, or exceed, your personal goals. Let’s talk.”
  • In the past, you would hear people saying “wouldn’t it be great to work for company X or company Y?” You don’t hear that anymore because in an age known for “slash and burn”, “downsizing”, and “lean and mean management”, which has created a psychological atmosphere within the marketplace, where the prevailing perception among employees is that there are not too many companies out there that VALUE their people.
  • As much effort must be made to nurturing your employees as you do servicing your heavy duty clients. This is a role management must be willing to “get their head around”, because if it doesn’t, what are the long-term financial consequences to the business?
  • An employee-centered management philosophy makes sound business sense. Any corporation, in our industry, that wants to succeed today, has to care passionately about its business and compassionately about its people because businesses that fail to understand, and act on this, will probably fail.
  • The only sustainable competitive advantage in business today is its people. The competition can copy your technology and latest feature, but they can’t copy the skills, knowledge, judgement, and creativity of your committed workforce. People ARE the edge today.
  • There is a new “social contract” being made today where companies are asking employees to change, to be innovative, and creative. Employees, in return, are then stating, “well in that case let me try and do it, rather than watching over my shoulder trying to clone me like you, because I am not you. Yes, I will make mistakes, because no one, including you, is perfect, but I will learn through my mistakes and become a much better employee, and person, for it. When you display, and support, confidence in me, in the long run, I will not let you down. Also, for my concerted effort and dedication to the task requested, it is only fair that I am properly compensated.”

All these are key points, and there is no doubt there are heavy duty service shops who will either agree with them, or argue it is still the employees fault anyway because “they just don’t want to work.” At this point, with statements like that, one must make an assessment as to whether this shop owner is willing to change the way he/she thinks. People are willing to work when they have something positive to be motivated about that creates the desire to work. A good starting point for management is to have a respect for the employee as an individual, and a respect for the skills that they have worked so hard to achieve. The next hint is to display pride in your “team”, and each member, openly in front of the client. If you arer not proud of your team and each member in your shop, it doesn’t say much for management’s ability; after all, who hired them, who trained them, and who pays them?

Today everyone must be willing to understand that personnel management is not a “one time meeting”, but rather a nurturing process that requires on-going discussion and understanding of points of view from both sides over a longer period of time. The over-all benefits to the business, and its bottom line, are enormous. This is truly the expression of “entrepreneurship” where the

management of the shop is leading the business, and the “employees” have a strong desire to follow.

As this sample problem has shown, if the owner is not prepared to change, then one must accept that the shop will not grow, and will actually experience serious financial difficulties, if not already there. Entrepreneurs must devote their time to the progression of their business, because they realize that their shop will be one of the few that will be here in five years, coupled with a “team” standing alongside with them. Everyone has each other’s back !!!

Take the time to learn about your employees. Express, and show, your concern for their future, and I believe you will be amazed at the positive response you will get from the better technicians/staff in the marketplace.

Taking the steps to strengthen your relationship with your employees is good business sense. Strengthen it by having open discussions about the industry, the business, and every individual’s role within the business. It does take time. It does take several meetings. It does take commitment, but the long-term rewards are great. The choice is yours.

Effective personnel management takes creative thinking. Consider that anyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea. However, it’s only the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it that succeeds.

If you’d like help, I’m here; it’s my specialty. Reach out and e-mail me: greenwood@aaec.ca

Bob Greenwood

Road to Green

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The following is a checklist of items for consideration to be measured each and every month.  Keep in mind that “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”.  Get focused, measure your HD service business properly so you can make the right management decisions to move forward and achieve what you want to achieve.  

  1. Labor rates – fluid service rate, maintenance rate, diagnostic rate and re-flash rate.  Are you up to date on the right multiples to achieve between the amount paid hourly to the technician and the rate charged to the HD client?
  2. Effective Labor Rate  — what are you really achieving in your labor rate after it is measured against the shop’s potential? Knowing the shop’s potential number is a critical calculation to understand.
  3. Number of R/O’s written each month.  Are you controlling your volume or are you missing potential revenue because the service shop is too busy?
  4. Average Labor Hours Billed per R/O.  Are you measuring productivity accurately or just sales?
  5. Average Sales and Gross Profit per invoice.  What are you really making on that average sale in your shop?  Is it growing or shrinking? Measure the total Gross Profit dollars against your total cost per billed hour times the number of hours billed on that invoice.
  6. Average Labor produced per technician. Are your people above or below average, and are they improving as their knowledge increases?  Minimum 8 hours billed for 8 hours worked? If not why not?
  7. Daily Operating Expense of the Shop.  What does it cost to turn that key in the morning? Are you giving more thought to the “common sense” expenses of the shop?
  8. Current Ratio.  Is the business getting more “liquid”?  Can all the bills be paid when due?
  9. Age of the Receivables.  How long is it taking to collect the average receivable from the HD client?  Is progress being made to eliminate receivables?  What is the true net profitability of each account factoring in the number of days to get paid?  
  10. Age of Payables.  Are we paying all bills when due and taking advantage of discounts offered for prompt payment?
  11. Labor to Total Wage Package Ratio.  Helps measure the effectiveness of management’s ability to “make the shop productive”
  12. Gross profit by Revenue Category.  What is the contribution to our business of each revenue category?  Are we focusing on the important issues that drive “net profit”?
  13. The Shops Sales Mix.  What is the breakdown which, when analyzed properly, can tell what type of client base is in the service shop, therefore competent management decisions on the type of staff, equipment and training can be made.
  14. Inventory Turn / Earn Index.  Is the shop carrying the right level of inventory in each category or are we under or over stocked? Cash is king and we want to make sure it is working properly for the business.
  15. Shop Efficiency. This seems to be the most misunderstood term in the Heavy Duty industry and yet “inefficiency” is the biggest cost per hour in running a service shop.  Is the shop meeting the right site efficiency percentage for the HD client it is serving?

By following the trend  in your business (always analyze the year to date numbers), one can start to maximize profitability, enhance business relationships, and really move their  HD service shop to the next level that is necessary today; the level that is required to ensure you do not buy yourself a job and therefore allowing you to enjoy a career.

Make the time to learn Heavy Duty Business Management techniques and get focused on your future. One of the biggest factors in success today of any Heavy Duty service shop is the courage to understand something. Enroll into a class and really start the process to understand your business.  If you are interested in a personal business coach to help guide you to move your business forward let me know and we can discuss the depth of what is involved and how it works in your favor.

Robert (Bob) Greenwood, AMAM
1-800-267-5497
greenwood@aaec.ca

MSO Symposium Announces Advisory Board for 2017

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North Richland Hills, Texas, January 24, 2017 – The MSO Symposium, the exclusive and preeminent meeting for the leadership in the collision repair industry, announces its 2017 Advisory Board following a meeting of industry executives and ASA staff and board members. This year’s Advisory Board members include:

  • Paul Gange, Fix Auto, President & COO, Chair of MSO Symposium
  • Marcy Tieger, Symphony Advisors, LLC., Principal
  • Vince Romans, The Romans Group, Managing Partner & CEO
  • Mike LeVasseur, ABRA Auto Body & Glass, Director of Corporate Development
  • Dave Roberts, FOCUS Investment Banking, LLC., Managing Director
  • Russell Thrall III, CollisionWeek, Publisher & Editor-In-Chief
  • Scott Benavidez, Mr B’s Paint & Body Shop Inc., Owner
  • Mark Sanders, Caliber Collision Centers, President & COO
  • Darrell Amberson, LaMettry’s Collision, President of Operations
  • Larry Siembab, CARSTAR, Sr. Director of Insurance Relations
  • Tim O’Day, Gerber Collision & Glass, President & COO
  • John Walcher, Veritas Advisors, Inc., President
  • Roy Schnepper, Butlers Collision, President
  • Joe Amodei, The Collision Centers, President
  • Mike Anderson, Collision Advice, President
  • Jim Keller, 1 Collision Network, President
  • Bruce Bares, Certified Collision, CEO

The 2017 MSO Symposium will take place during NACE Automechanika on Wednesday, July 26, in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place. This year’s symposium will offer insight on the latest trends, as well as new information for vital industry topics.

The MSO Symposium will open with a private lunch followed by presentations and panels. The event will end with a private reception for attendees and sponsors. Executives representing MSOs, along with multi-location and single location collision repair executives, are invited to attend this closed meeting. The event is also open to property and casualty insurance company executives.

Paul Gange, chairman of the committee, the master of ceremony and Fix Auto president & COO, said, “Similar to years past, this program is being developed with the guidance and direction from the leadership in the industry. The Advisory Board is instrumental in ensuring that the content and speakers reflect the things attendees what and need to hear.”

Marcy Tieger, principal, Symphony Advisors, will once again moderate the Insurer Panel. “The MSO Symposium is unique because of the environment it creates,” said Tieger. “Often times, insurers are reluctant to participate on panels and attend collision repair driven events. The Symposium allows insurers an opportunity to not only share insightful information, but interact with attendees in a professional environment where information and dialogue is welcomed and encouraged.” All insurers are welcome and encouraged to attend the MSO Symposium.

The first Advisory Board meeting this year focused on content for the Symposium, and members discussed what topics are most relevant to the multi-shop owner today. Topics discussed include: collision industry economics and trends; advanced automotive technology (what repairers need to do today and in the future to be prepared to repair vehicles); pre- and post-scanning specific to cost, staffing, tooling and operational best practices; training, retaining and hiring employees; industry consolidation; insurance panel; new political regime and the government’s potential effect on the industry and more.

Dan Risley, ASA president and executive director, said, “This is the only event that is exclusive to MSOs and the strongest independent operators in the collision repair industry. The Advisory Board has made a huge impact in developing content relative to the needs of these leaders. Some businesses are preparing for expansion through growth or acquisition, while others are preparing for merger or divestiture. The symposium will provide insight on these top companies and their respective leadership through the sharing of knowledge, experience and information essential to understanding market conditions and preparing for the future.”

Registration for the MSO Symposium will open soon at www.NACEAutomechanika.com along with all other events taking place during NACE Automechanika in Chicago, July 24-29, 2017.

For media or marketing inquiries, please contact Bala Vishal, bala.vishal@ubm.com, or Kim Porter, kim.porter@usa.messefrankfurt.com.

About Automotive Service Association
The Automotive Service Association is the largest not-for-profit trade association of its kind dedicated to and governed by independent automotive service and repair professionals. Headquartered in North Richland Hills, TX, ASA serves an international membership base that includes numerous affiliate, state and chapter groups from both the mechanical and collision repair segments of the automotive service industry. ASA advances professionalism and excellence in the automotive repair industry through education, representation and member services. asashop.org.

About Stone Fort Group
???????Stone Fort Group does a lot… And we do it the way you want it.

We run dynamic and transformational b2b gatherings for the communities we serve, provide information resources and facilitate industry communication all year round – in multiple channels. We deliver content, relevancy, audiences – and drive business.

Our brands in HR / Workforce, Energy and Transportation are about serving you, talking about your challenges, opportunities, solutions and bringing buyers and sellers for emerging markets together year-round. It’s how our b2b media channels can help improve the quality, value and performance of the networking for communities we serve. www.stonefortgroup.com.

About NACE Automechanika Chicago
Now held annually, NACE Automechanika Chicago was the 14th installation into Automechanika worldwide. NACE Automechanika Chicago is the largest U.S. trade show dedicated to high-end technical and management-related training for automotive collision and service repair shops. Messe Frankfurt, producer of Automechanika, the leading international brand of automotive trade shows, has joined forces with UBM Americas, the largest U.S. tradeshow organizer, and NACE (the International Autobody Congress & Exposition), the premiere event for the U.S. collision repair industry to create this extraordinary event. The co-production between Automechanika Chicago and NACE will create a unified stage using NACE’s strong relationships within the collision and OE community combined with Automechanika Chicago’s global strength throughout the automotive aftermarket. Working in collaboration, these entities will create an unprecedented partnership focused on training and product discovery for the automotive technicians, shop owners and distributors. www.NACEAutomechanika.com.

About Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is one of the world’s leading trade fair organizers, generating around €648 million in sales and employing 2,244 people. The Messe Frankfurt Group has a global network of 30 subsidiaries and 55 international Sales Partners, allowing it to serve its customers on location in 175 countries. Messe Frankfurt events take place at approx. 50 locations around the globe. In 2015, Messe Frankfurt organized a total of 133 trade fairs, of which more than half took place outside Germany.

Comprising an area of 592,127 square metres, Messe Frankfurt’s exhibition grounds are home to ten exhibition halls. The company also operates two congress centres. The historic Festhalle, one of the most popular venues in Germany, plays host to events of all kinds. Messe Frankfurt is publicly owned, with the City of Frankfurt holding 60 percent and the State of Hesse 40 percent.

For more information, please visit our website at: www.messefrankfurt.com

The North American headquarters in Atlanta is currently producing eleven trade shows in the USA, Canada and Mexico across various industries. For more information about Messe Frankfurt, please visit our web site at www.MesseFrankfurt.us.

About UBM Americas
UBM Americas, a part of UBM plc, is the largest business-to-business events and trade show organizer in the U.S. Through a range of aligned interactive physical and digital environments, UBM Americas increases business effectiveness for both customers and audiences by cultivating meaningful experiences, knowledge and connections. UBM Americas has offices spanning North and South America, and serves a variety of specialist industries with dedicated events and marketing services covering everything from fashion, tech and life sciences to advanced manufacturing, cruise shipping, specialty chemicals, powersports and automotive, concrete, hospitality, cargo transportation and more. For more information, visit: www.ubmamericas.com.

Trade Show Leader: Stone Fort Group’s Sean Guerre

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Sean Guerre is a media entrepreneur and currently is the co-founder of Stone Fort Group- a Live Event & Digital Media startup serving b2b communities in the Energy, Transportation and Workforce/HR markets.

His claim to fame is serving as a former chairman of the Society of Independent Show Organizers, and he has been a keynote presenter and speaker at SISO, IAEE, Folio, Niche EventFest and CEIR Predict.

Prior to founding Stone Fort Group, he co-founded TradeFair Group (energy media), which was sold in 2012 to private equity firm Veronis, Suhler & Stevenson.

Guerre graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a BBA/Marketing, lives in Houston with his wife Katy and 2 daughters. He has served on the boards of SISO, St. Cecilia Catholic Church, Southeast Media and Pink Petro.

He is passionate about launching live events, new digital media brands, startups, running, cycling, craft beer and spending time with his family.

Guerre’s favorite quote aptly captures his sense of humour as well: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face” – Mike Tyson.

He took some time to tell us how he got started in trade shows and to give some witty wise words.

TSNN: How did you get started in the industry?

Sean Guerre: I was fortunate enough to have a fraternity brother who was working at an oil & gas publisher launching a trade show group. He asked me to come over from my current job…selling fax machines…I think I made the right choice 😉 We had an awesome adventure building and growing shows for them in the US and then globally. After a few years we jumped over to our own startup to manage and build shows for ourselves and I have never looked back!


TSNN: How different was the industry when you started, compared with today?

Guerre: As you can guess from my 25 year-old starting point, all of the tech was built well after I started in the trade show business. Rolodexes, phone calls and foam core floor plans were the norm…and fax machines of course! Print marketing/Direct Mail was king and business moved at a slower pace. Everyone worked in the office and there weren’t many shows held by corporations, mostly association and some for-profit. The majority of events were horizontal and focused on major industries and large segments.

It is a much faster business pace today with instant feedback from digital ads, social media and the ubiquitous email. It is easier to test a new event concept and determine the likelihood of its success with the marketplace. The ability to connect with a marketplace is also significantly easier through all the channels that exist in today’s trade show industry. Our teams work virtually, they are global, and events serve key niches regularly.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the focus of bringing a community together to share knowledge and have buyers and sellers trade challenges and solutions.


TSNN: What are some of the lessons you have learned being a part of this industry?

Guerre: I have been incredibly fortunate to have had strong mentors in the trade show business right from the start, and the lessons they have taught me are priceless. Sharing information is something that you rarely see in business, but in the event business it happens everyday and makes us all stronger.

David Johnson, my first boss, showed me this business and all the possibilities of how we can serve a market need, which is the only real reason you should launch an event.

Michael Hough, Denyse Selesnick and Lew Shomer showed me how to profitably launch and build a trade show as a small company without any real investment, but with passion for a market.

Don Pazour taught me how to be gracious, grow a business to the next level, make it more profitable…all at the same time.

David Audrain, Joel Davis, Phil McKay, Scott Goldman, John Failla, Carl Landau and so many more from my experience at SISO are a constant set of sharing peers that give me great counsel on launching & building our events.


TSNN: What is your favorite part of being in the industry?

Guerre: There are actually 2 fave parts for me:

1.     The people! I truly love the great people I have met in the trade show industry. From the folks in the industries we serve, the awesome teams who made our shows successful over the years, and of course the great people who are all part of the trade show industry.

2.     Shows! That feeling you get when you start a show from scratch with your team. Finding the market need, developing the relationships, creating the marketplace and then seeing it all come to life…it is one of the most magical experiences that one can have.


TSNN: Anything you miss that you wish was still around?

Guerre: I’m a pretty optimistic person and stay focused on the present and future, so honestly there isn’t anything I really miss from the past, it was all a great adventure. If I had to pin down one item…I do kinda miss those big foam core backed floorplans. It was just cool to see them around the office every day, get colored in as booths were sold, contracted and collected $$$. Salesforce Reports and Online Floorplans don’t have quite the same feel.


TSNN: Anything you are thrilled went away?

Guerre: Fax machines!


TSNN: What do you hope your personal impact on the industry is?

Guerre: Hopefully I have given back at least a small amount back for what the industry has given me, which has been tremendous. I will continue to strive to give back, help new folks entering the industry, give advice and time to young entrepreneurs and promote the live event industry as a fantastic marketing channel for b2b marketers.


TSNN: Any wise words about what this industry means to you overall?

Guerre: I’m not sure this is wisdom but here are 2 quotes that I love which sum up much of what I have learned as a 25 year veteran in the trade show industry:

· “Anytime someone throws money at you…don’t duck!”- Sheldon Adelson

· “Everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face”- Mike Tysonhttps://lh3.googleusercontent.com/NRJvp0kuN9efkMXo1WOIeLq5mMHq0iVOGtj4If5vV4crQjEcF0U2-ufRggMaJQMvEsa9Mvw8odEKyP118r-DMVk5YFaBZTaPiHGvGXA0Gc7V3OTexjzYLgC0VpIl_eSIhcZwsNCr