The Auto Body Association of Texas 2nd quarter regional meetings were held May 4th in Plano, and May 5th in Tyler. The well-attended meetings brought three highly respected industry leaders to Texas. Ken Boylan, Global Training Manager, Chief Industries, Carl Dumele, Aeromotive and Jake Rodenroth, Collision Diagnostic Services, all focused on the ‘new’ future of the collision repair industry.

The May 4th meeting was held at the new Collision Diagnostic Services Center in Plano, Texas, a close suburb of Dallas. Collision Diagnostic Services is the company that brings the As Tech scanner to the collision repairer. This recently opened facility is the second CDS service center following the corporate headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida. Attendees watched the ‘online’ technicians in action as they were remotely scanning cars from anywhere in the country.

ABAT, as everyone in Texas calls the Auto Body Association of Texas, is an enthusiastic driven young association. They are focused on the success of the collision repair facility, doing the job right and getting paid for it. President Burl Richards, Burls Collision Center, Henderson, Texas opened the meeting with a State of the Association report. ABAT is beginning the legislative process, working with the Texas Auto Dealers Association. As a first legislative effort, they may look at a database manipulation initiative, similar to laws passed in Minnesota and Montana. Richards reported that the ABAT Board is working on a Trade Show and Education Days, featuring Mike Anderson, September 16 and 17 of this year. “This is so exciting,” it will be the first Auto Body Expo in Texas since NACE, 2003!” He was also happy to report that association membership is growing and encouraged all shops to participate in their future with this association.

The three presenters covered a lot of ground, each topic blending into the other, focusing on the in depth critical importance of the new learning curve. Significant industry change was the message everyone should have heard.
Boylan opened the presentation with an overview of new materials and repair processes highlighting the critical and rapid change of materials and processes being built into today’s new cars without the repairer knowing of the changes. “The critical piece to every collision repairer needs to start with training and education,” states Boylan. He spoke of the potential for dangerous repairs when the repairer assumes materials will be the same on vehicles as it has been in the past. “OEM recommended repair procedures, training and education are the key to a safe and proper repair. Continuous training and education for technicians.”

Carl Dumele, Aeromotive brings another efficient and useful process to collision repairers. Aeromotive specializes in repairing damaged wire harnesses and pigtails. How many times are people waiting on a wiring harness, maybe totaling a car? Dumele offers, “Aeromotive is always working on innovative designs to assist the collision industry in overcoming automotive electrical obstacles.”

ABAT member Chad Kiffe of Berli’s Body Shop in Austin rented a van and brought several shop owners with him to Plano. Kiffe, who already has multiple OEM certifications was encouraged from the information this meeting offered. Here is what he had to say,”



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