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Susanna GotschDirector, Industry Analyst, CCC Information Services Inc.

Susanna Gotsch is Director, Industry Analyst at CCC Information Services Inc. She has been with CCC since July of 1992. Susanna brings twenty-plus years of experience within the automotive claims industry as Director, Industry Analyst.

She has authored The Crash Course, CCC’s annual publication on trends impacting collision repair and total loss costs since 1995. This publication has become a key resource for the industry in understanding how broader trends within the economy, new and used vehicle market places, and collision industry are impacting auto claim frequency and costs. Ms. Gotsch also consults with the on-going development of CCC’s industry-leading data warehouse and reporting products.

Ms. Gotsch has presented her research at numerous industry meetings and symposium. In 2011, Ms. Gotsch was awarded the annual industry honorarium Most Influential Women in the Collision Repair Industry established by AkzoNobel Automotive & Aerospace Coatings America (A&AC). She has also served on the Board for the Women’s Industry Network (WIN®) since 2011.

Vincent RomansManaging Partner & CEO, The Romans Group, LLC

Vincent Romans is the founding principal and managing partner of The Romans Group LLC established in 1996 leveraging four decades of business operator and consulting experience with domestic and global enterprises. The Romans Group provides business, market, financial and strategic development advisory services to the collision repair, property and casualty auto insurance, and the auto physical damage aftermarket ecosystem.

He is a frequent speaker, moderator, panelist and writer on the dynamic and evolving marketplace and industry trends impacting the collision repair, property and casualty auto insurance and auto physical damage supply chain. Through his thought leadership and as a change agent, catalyst and facilitator of concepts and ideas, he drives the development, introduction, understanding and acceptance of new and innovative business models.

Vincent holds an undergraduate degree in Management and Marketing from Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from Temple University

Russ HoffbauerProperty and Casualty Claims Director, State Farm

Russ Hoffbauer, CLU, ChFC, CPCU, is Property and Casualty Claims Director for State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company located in Bloomington, Illinois.

Hoffbauer joined State Farm in June 1981 as a Management Development Trainee in Lincoln, Nebraska. He has held various leadership roles in several departments.

He serves on the Board of Directors of SkillsUSA and also serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Collision Repair Education Foundation.

Hoffbauer received a B.S. degree in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He has achieved his Chartered Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Consultant and Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designations.

Gary LedouxAssistant National Manager for American Honda’s Collision Marketing Department, Honda

A native of New Hampshire, Mr. Ledoux began his automotive career working at a local auto parts and PBE jobber. He then moved on to the dealership side of the business, first as a new vehicle salesperson, then as a service manager and then as a parts manager. He has worked such lines as Ford, Subaru, Toyota, Alfa Romeo, Honda, and Acura. In 1988, Mr. Ledoux began his career with American Honda first as a District Parts Manager, then as a trainer working with Honda auto, motorcycle and power equipment dealers in the U.S. and internationally. He presently serves as the Assistant National Manager for American Honda’s Collision Marketing Department. His primary responsibly includes administration of the ProFirst certified body shop program and collision industry communications.

John EckCollision Manager for the Wholesale Dealer Channel, General Motors

John Eck has over 26 years of automotive aftermarket experience with General Motors. John has held numerous field, marketing and management positions in several business segments in the USA, Canada and South Africa. John joined the Wholesale Business Channel in May 2014 and serves as the Collision Manager for the Wholesale Dealer Channel for General Motors Customer Care and Aftersales. John is responsible for managing the collision business including GM Dealer Wholesale parts strategies, programs and industry relationships. In addition to serving on the I-CAR Board of Director’s Strategic Policy Committee John is the current President and Chairman of the Board for the OEM Roundtable Board of Directors, an active participant on the CIC Governance Committee and the Collision Industry Quality System (CIQS) committee.

Bob ReddingWashington, D.C. Representative, Automotive Service Association (ASA)

Bob Redding is the Washington, D.C. representative of the Automotive Service Association and the President of The Redding Firm, a legislative consulting and advocacy firm located on Capitol Hill.  A native of Edison, Georgia, Bob has spent his professional life in Washington, D.C.  He opened his firm in 1993 after working twelve years on Capitol Hill — six years as a Chief of Staff in the U.S. House of Representatives and six years as an Executive Assistant and Chief of Staff in the U.S. Senate.  He worked with Members of Congress serving on the Senate Appropriations, Energy and Natural Resources, and Budget Committees and the House Small Business Committee.  Bob has served as national and state finance chair for a number of Members of the U.S. House and Senate.

Bob has spent over twenty years as the leading legislative and regulatory advocate of the independent automotive repair industry in Washington, D.C.  He has spoken on behalf of the industry to the U.S. Congress and Executive branches and has spent a tremendous amount of time educating members of the Association and the industry at large about issues affecting the daily lives of automotive repairers.  Bob’s knowledge in this field has resulted in his being recognized on numerous occasions by the automotive aftermarket.  His expertise has led to presidential appointments to Federal Advisory Committees at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Bob is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia and the National Law Center at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  He is married to the former Laura Fallin of Moultrie, Georgia, and they have three children.  They reside in Alexandria, Virginia.

Marcy TiegerPresident, Symphony Advisors, LLC

Marcy Tieger is a principal with Symphony Advisors LLC, specializing in delivering operational, strategic and marketing advisory services to collision repairers, all segments of the aftermarket supply chain and to automobile insurance physical damage claims organizations. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree from California State University, Fullerton, Marcy began her professional career as an insurance claims representative. While working in the insurance industry, she attended Western State University law school and thereafter, began a legal career law specializing in business, employment and insurance related matters before commencing a consulting career with Symphony Advisors. A frequent industry author and speaker, Marcy is a recipient of the Most Influential Woman in the Industry Award. She is also a founding board member of the Women’s Industry Network (WIN). She currently serves as a member of the I-CAR Board of Directors. She is also a member of the California bar.

Kyle ThompsonAssistant Vice President, P&C Claims Experience, USAA

Kyle Thompson holds the position of Assistant Vice President, P&C Claims Experience.  Kyle is responsible for USAA’s Auto Physical Damage Policy, Performance and Programs.

Kyle joined USAA in 2007. Kyle has held several leadership positions at USAA to include P&C Quality Assurance Data Analytics Manager, First Party Injury Director of Operations, Auto Physical Damage Director of Operations and Executive Director of Auto Physical Damage Field Operations. In 2017 Kyle was selected for his current role as Assistant Vice President Claims Experience specifically overseeing the Auto Physical Damage Policy, Performance and Programs.

Kyle has a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of the Incarnate Word. In addition, Kyle holds the Society of Claims Law Associates (SCLA) designation and has been USAA Six Sigma Green Belt and Process Excellence certified.

Kyle serves the industry as a member of the I-CAR Board of Directors. He is also a member of the I-CAR Strategic Planning Committee and Executive Committee.

Kyle and his wife Amy reside in San Antonio, Texas and are the proud parents of two sons (Reagan and Cole).

Sandee LindorferAuto Claims Line Management Director, Allstate Insurance Company

Sandee Lindorfer is the Auto Claims Line Management Director at Allstate Insurance Company. She is responsible for managing outside auto strategy, vendor relationships, Good Hands Repair Network and Tech Cor Body Shop and Research.

Sandee began her career in the automotive industry as a collision repair shop owner in the Chicagoland area. In 1996, she joined Allstate Insurance Company as an auto claims adjuster. Sandee has held a number of frontline leadership roles in the auto discipline. In 2008, she transitioned into auto line management and has led several strategic initiatives to drive business results in the auto discipline.

She currently lives in Lake Zurich, Illinois with her husband Robert and son, Freddie.  She enjoys spending time with friends and family as well as activities including snow skiing and Crossfit.

Chris AndreoliCorporate PD Process Director - Network Repairs, Progressive Insurance

Chris Andreoli has worked in the Auto Claims Physical Damage (PD) Industry for 22 years and held various roles within the company from Physical Damage Team Leader, Regional PD Network Process Leader, Corporate PD Auditor, Corporate Audit PD Network Manager, Corporate Legal, Shop Relations and Corporate Process Director. I’m proud to serve on the Executive Committee for our annual Keys to Progress® program. In partnership with the National Auto Body Council (NABC) and several other organizations the program has gifted over 300 vehicles to deserving military members in the past three annual events.Other industry involvement:     National Auto Body Council (NABC) Corporate Member. Chairman of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) Physical Damage Committee (Current). CIC panels/committees: DRP Reform, Complete Repair Plan, Insurer/Repairer Relations, Definitions Committee. I have also worked as a part of I-CAR’s Insurance Industry Segment Advisory Council (ISAC).

Benito CidCertified Collision Program Manager, Mercedes Benz

My philosophy in life is; Every day is a learning experience. No matter who you interact with or what you do there is always something new to learn so go into every situation with an open mind.

My work background and experience:

I am a licensed appraiser in 6 states, I-Car trained, CIC and SCRS member.

Progressive Insurance-

I worked as a field appraiser initially covering New York City. I then went into a specialist role handling all of the “High End” vehicles in that area. I trained and mentored new employees and prepared them to succeed in the field. I moved into a Network Appraiser role where I managed the relationship with 8 shops in my area. I built strong partnerships with our shops and changed the expectations of the shop and my management. I demonstrated to them that properly repairing a vehicle is the best for our customers and most cost effective repair for the Insurance carrier and shop alike. I then became Manager of the Network Program in the Hudson Valley area of New York. I managed 8 appraisers and worked with 27 shops to ensure a proper repair for our mutual customers. In my quest for knowledge, I then transitioned into a field specialist role handling heavy commercial claims. I was responsible for settling claims for commercial customers. These customers are very demanding because their vehicles are their livelihood. This experience reinforced the importance of valuing a person’s time. I assisted in the implementation of a Network Program for commercial vehicles. The idea was to give our customers a great experience in a timely fashion to get them back on the road making money as quickly as possible.

Mercedes-Benz-

Certified Collision Program Manager. Oversee the Collision Program for the US. I am responsible for the processes and direction of our program. Training is the key differentiator of a certified facility to the others around so I have made training a requirement of all of our facilities. I continue to showcase the importance of a proper repair for the safety and happiness of our customers. I have built strong relationships with insurance carriers again with our mutual customers as the focus. I continue to get involved in industry meetings and conferences to expand my knowledge and awareness of the industry and ultimately help me in performing to the best of my ability always with a focus on our customers whether it be the driver of our vehicles or the shops that repair them.

Wayne WeikelSenior Director of Government State Affairs, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers

Wayne Weikel is Senior Director of State Government Affairs for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade association representing 12 of the world’ largest automakers, including BMW Group, Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz USA, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo. Wayne joined the Alliance in January 2012.

In this capacity, Wayne serves as primary liaison for Alliance interaction with state officials across the country. He manages a diverse portfolio of public policy interests, ranging from green energy and clean manufacturing to distracted driving and digital privacy. Wayne also serves as a board member of the OEM Collision Parts Roundtable, an auto industry group formed to advocate on behalf of consumer interests in post-accident vehicle repairs.

Before moving to Washington, Wayne worked for 11 years in the Massachusetts State House, most recently as Chief of Staff and Policy Director of the House Committee on Ways and Means. In this capacity Wayne was responsible for leading the development of the state’s $27 billion annual budget. Earlier, Wayne spent 7 years on the Joint Committee on Financial Services, the last 3 as Policy Director. In this role, Wayne was part of the negotiating team that produced Massachusetts’ landmark 2006 Health Reform law and also led legislative efforts to deregulate the automobile insurance industry, eventually saving consumers over $270 million in the first year alone.

Throughout the years, Wayne has been involved with numerous political campaigns, including work at the local, state, Congressional, and Presidential levels.

Wayne received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from Bridgewater State University, in Massachusetts. Wayne lives in D.C. with his wife, Kristy.

Russell Thrall IIIEditor-in-Chief, CollisionWeek

Russell D. Thrall III, a second-generation collision repairer, has been involved in the collision repair industry his entire life. Starting as a clean-up person in body shops owned and managed by his father, Thrall has experienced the industry from the bottom up. At the age of 14, Thrall began working part-time as a technician in a shop close to home. By the time he was 17, he was promoted to assistant manager. Thrall joined the staff of Chilton’s Automotive Body Repair News (ABRN) in 1991 as technical editor. In 1992, he was promoted to senior editor, responsible for maintaining the content of ABRN editorial and representing at industry events nationwide.

From 1993 through 2000, Thrall served as editor of Collision Repair Industry INSIGHT, a subscription-based publication with English-language circulation throughout the world. In 2000, Thrall founded CollisionWeek, a business newsletter for all segments of the global collision repair industry. CollisionWeek provides daily business news and trend research on the Internet and in weekly email, fax and print editions to subscribers around the world. Thrall continues to serve as Publisher of CollisionWeek.

Also in 2000, Thrall returned to the staff of ABRN and served as Editor-in-Chief of the world’s largest monthly trade magazine until July 2004. Thrall is a frequent speaker at industry events including, the Collision Industry Conference (CIC), NACE, the Insurance Services Office APD Panel and numerous other U.S. and international events. He served as chairman of the Collision Industry Conference from 2009-2010 and is a Past-President of the National Auto Body Council Board of Directors. In December 2002, Thrall was inducted into the Collision Repair Industry Hall of Eagles.

John WalcherPresident, Veritas Advisors, Inc.

Widely considered to be the most experienced M&A advisor in the collision repair industry, John Walcher has been closing body shop deals since 2000. He is the Founder and President of Veritas Advisors, Inc., an M&A and strategic advisory firm that works with automotive aftermarket companies of all sizes, helping them achieve their growth objectives through acquisitions and capital raises, or representing them in their pursuit of the ultimate milestone: the sale of their business.

Mr. Walcher brings a wealth of knowledge to every engagement. During his more than 20 years in M&A, he has been involved in dozens upon dozens of collision repair transactions, including numerous MSO deals on both the buy side and the sell side. His background also includes multiple deals in health care, engineering & construction, manufacturing and various service industries, and transactions in China, Brazil, England and Canada. He provides expert witness testimony and valuation opinions, speaks on M&A trends and strategies, and has advised some of the country’s largest private equity groups on consolidation strategies.

Prior to starting Veritas Advisors eight years ago, Mr. Walcher spent many years in corporate M&A, doing deals for two Fortune© 500 corporations, as well as spending seven years at Caliber Collision Centers, departing in 2007 as its Vice President of Corporate Development and Governmental Affairs (during which time the company was ranked #9 on the INC. 500© list of Fastest Growing Private Companies).

Prior to graduate school, Mr. Walcher was a senior economist performing econometric analysis as a U.S. Department of Defense contractor. Mr. Walcher holds a Master of Science in Finance from the London Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Economics, cum laude, from the University of California.

Mark MandlCollision Marketing Manager, Ford Motor Company

Mark Mandl has been in the automotive industry since he joined Ford Motor Company in 2001. After a number of vehicle division marketing and sales positions, both within the US and international, Mark joined Ford Customer Service Division in 2011. In late 2014, Mark was promoted to Collision Marketing Manager for Ford Customer Service Division. Mark earned his Bachelor’s degree from Austin College, Sherman, TX and his MBA from Texas A&M in College Station, TX. He currently lives in Southeast Michigan.

AJ LeoneManaging Member, Main Gate Management, LLC

AJ is the former CEO and co-founder of Charleston Collision where he led a team of 48 collision repair professionals operating 3 facilities in the Charleston, SC area. In 2015, he sold the company to the largest collision repair consolidator in the US and remained onboard with them for a year to ensure a successful transition.

With 9 years experience on active duty in the US Air Force and 16 yrs experience in telecommunication consulting and engineering, AJ brings unique perspective to his business activities.

He has provided telecommunication consulting for private equity firms, defense contractors and major healthcare systems. He continues today to provide consulting services for a few, long standing clients. Prior to being a consultant, he handled major commercial accounts for BellSouth, AT&T and Qwest. He also worked as a telecommuncations engineer where he designed copper/fiber optic distribution facilities in a wire center with 18,500 access lines and data circuits.

Previously, he served on active duty in the US Air Force where he led a $40 million avionics and communications procurement program and was a special operations navigator on C-141B aircraft. He also served as a Commander for the 315th Logistics Readiness Flight where he led 42 Air Force Reserve personnel. He also served as Deputy Commander for the 315th Mission Support Group overseeing 5 squadrons and 600+ members at Joint Base Charleston.  He holds the rank of Colonel and currently serves as Director, Joint Reserve, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Assistant Secretary of Defense, Research & Engineering at the Pentagon.

Presently, AJ continues his entrepreneurial activities through owning and managing a portfolio of commercial and residential income real estate.

AJ holds an MBA degree from Auburn University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Specialties

Commercial Real Estate Development, Telecom/IT Consulting, Defense Industry.

Pat JamesConsultant, Retired MSO Owner

Pat lives in Memphis Tennessee where after studying engineering at Memphis State he opened his first bodyshop in 1981 at the age of 21. In 1990 Pat expanded the business into a vacated dealer location and began studying how the best operators in the country operated. Pat opened his second location in Memphis during 1996 and sold majority interest in the business to AutoBody America in 1998. After assisting the private equity ownership grow the business to 15 locations Pat bought the Memphis stores back in 2006. Shortly thereafter Will Johnston became a partner. Together over the next six years the five stores grew to twenty covering Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas while employing over 350 teammates and repairing over 25,000 vehicles per year. AutoBody America was sold at the end of 2012. Pat currently spends his time doing various charitable work with Calvary Rescue Mission, Slingshot Memphis, Memphis Leadership Foundation and Northaven Elementary School. He spends his remaining time with his wife of 36 years, Peggy and kids Patrick, Preston, Paige, Payton and Paul.

Aaron ClarkVice President, Assured Performance Network

Aaron has more than 25 years of experience in the Collision Repair industry and was raised in a family owned collision repair business. Aaron was a technician as a young adult and moved into management and shop ownership in 1994. He has served in the industry in several capacities over the years.

2013-2017    Vice President – Assured Performance Network

1998-2012    Aaron Clark was President and co-owner of Collision Solutions, Inc., a collision repair organization with 5 Indiana locations. Aaron and his brother sold the business in 2012 to ABRA Auto Body & Glass.

2011-2013    Aaron served as the Chairman of SCRS – Society of Collision Repair Specialists

2006-2011    Aaron served as Vice Chairman, Secretary, and National Director for SCRS – Society of Collision Repair Specialists

2004-2006    Mr. Clark founded the Indiana Auto Body Association (IABA) in 2004. He served as the inaugural Chairman and President of the Association.

1994-1998    Aaron was the founder and President of Autokraft Collision Centers in Indianapolis, IN. Aaron sold the business in 1998 to a local dealer in Indianapolis.

1989-1994    Aaron worked as a technician as several capacities for the family collision repair business.

Aaron has always been committed to improving the local and national collision repair industry in several ways; he has volunteered for many organizations including

CIC (Collision Industry Conference) Committees

SCRS (Society of Collision Repair Specialist)

I-CAR ISAC (Industry Segment Advisory Council)

I-CAR Gold Class / Platinum Advisory Council member

Past Chairman of the Indianapolis I-CAR committee

Lincoln Tech advisory board member

Founder, Past Chairman and member of the Indiana Auto Body Association

CIECA (Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association

NABC (National Auto Body Council)

Jim KesslerCOO, ABRA Auto Body & Glass

Jim joined ABRA from vRide in January 2017. At vRide, he led the company through rapid growth and technology improvements, which eventually led to a merger with the world’s largest rental car company.

Jim started his career with Pep Boys Automotive, where he held officer – level positions in accounting, finance merchandising and operations. Over the last six years he has held the position of President, Chief Operation Officer and Chief Financial Officer with two private equity-backed companies. Kessler received his Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in finance from Saint Joseph’s University, and also has his undergraduate degree from Saint Joseph’s University.

Joe AmodeiFounder & President, The Collision Centers of New York

Joe Amodei, the owner of The Collision Centers of New York, operates 5 locations on Long Island since 1989. He is also a member of ASA’s Collision Operations Committee and a member of numerous professional and related associations including the National Auto Body Council, Long Island Auto Body Repairman’s Association and the Axalta MSO Business Council. He is currently a board member of the National Auto Body Council and Co-Chair of the Recycled Rides program.

Rick WoodCO-CEO, Cooks Collision

Rick Wood is automotive operations professional with experience in insurance company relations, technical repair knowledge in vehicle systems, and strong communications skills. Rick is the third generation in the Family business, and 2nd ever C.E.O, with Don Wood, of Cooks Collision Inc. in California, with over 38 years of auto collision industry knowledge.

Rick started working in the collision business for his father Bob while he was in Junior High School. He graduated from Livermore High School in 1978. When Bob bought Cooks Collision in 1979, Rick was a freshman in college at California State University Chico; he was there from 79’-81’. Rick began working for Cooks Collision full time in 1981, where he has worked in all positions from the ground floor, to the office, to managing shops and where he is today.

In the late 90?s Rick and his brother Don wrote their first business plan and decided to take over the Family business, and grow Cooks Collision throughout California. Along the way, Rick has been privileged to hire great employees who have helped him continue to grow and refine his business model.

Today, Cooks Collision has 37 locations with 800 devoted employees, and many invaluable long-term business relationships. Cooks Collision is the largest family-owned collision repair company in the country, and is in the 4th generation of Wood’s actively working in family business. Rick’s daughter Amanda Van Puffelen, and his son Matthew Wood are both Area Managers for the business.

Vince BrockCEO, Procare Collision Centers

Vince Brock is CEO of ProCare Automotive, which has 16 locations across central and south Texas.

Since 2012, Mr. Brock has had a role in successfully leading the expansion of the company from two stores in San Antonio, to a multi-market platform MSO serving Austin, San Marcos, San Antonio, Victoria and Houston, TX.

ProCare has over 300 employees and holds 14 OEM certifications including Porsche, Jaguar, Land Rover, Honda ProFirst, and Ford Aluminum.

Justin KlugEmerging Business Group, GM OnStar

Justin began his career as a Product Manager at a leading auto insurer, GEICO. After successfully managing its competitive intelligence team, Justin decided to switch gears and move into a position where he could play a vital role in transforming the connected vehicle space. To launch this next phase of his career, Justin spent two years at the Kelly School of Business pursuing his MBA. Currently, Justin works for GM OnStar in the Emerging Business Group where he identifies new business opportunities leveraging the connected vehicle to enhance the customer ownership experience.