The Talent Issue


The Talent Issue

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2019 ISSUE 10

The Talent Issue

The Talent Issue
This issue of Collision Reporter is all about supporting the industry’s talent trajectory. Focused on topics like recruiting, training and retaining our next generation of industry professionals. In this issue, you will find:
    •    Changing the Talent Trajectory
    •    Talent Attraction & Retention by the Numbers
    •    Leading by Example: Meet Four Influential Women in Collision Repair
    •    Driving the Conversation Panel: Redefining Talent in our Industry
    •    Business Tools and Tips: Smart Hiring Enhances Retention
    •    What’s New at I-CAR
    •    …and Much More.


Biggest Barriers to Talent Attraction

Immediate Steps

Collision Repair Industry

Biggest Myths


Growth and Retention



John Helterbrand
Ranken Technical College
  John Helterbrand joined Ranken Technical College in 1993 as an evening instructor in the Automotive Collision Repair Program. In 1997, he was one of the first instructors in the St. Louis area to qualify technicians for I-CAR steel welding at the Ranken test site. After 20 years in the industry, Helterbrand joined Ranken as a full-time instructor, specializing in Structural Damage Repair and Welding and began teaching I-CAR classes to industry. In 2010 he was promoted to Ranken’s Department Chair for the Collision Repair Department, moving the department in a new direction by promoting collaboration between students and employers to graduate top-notch technicians.  In 2018, Helterbrand launched the Professional Collision Technician program, which educates students by alternating eight weeks of college-based technical instruction with eight weeks of hands-on, paid internships in a commercial collision facility. In 2018, Helterbrand was awarded the Founders Award for the South-Central Region.

Fern Larochelle
Fern’s Body Shop
  Fern Larochelle is the second-generation owner and operator of Fern’s Body Shop in Lisbon Falls, Maine, a collision repair shop that has been in operation for over 50 years. In addition to owning and operating his shop, Larochelle is also an ASE Master certified and I-CAR Platinum technician. He serves on the advisory board of his local vocational school and on the governance board for ASE. In 2019, Larochelle was awarded the I-CAR Founders Ring Award, recognizing his representation of the vision and mission of I-CAR.

Carlos Lopez
Collision and Refinishing Instructor
East Valley Institute of Technology
  Carlos Lopez has a wide range of experience and passions in the collision repair industry. A collision and refinishing technician by trade, Lopez started his career perfecting his skills in different collision centers and concours restoration shops. After some time at the Phoenix Motor Company, he joined the Western Maricopa Education Center, where he found SkillsUSA, helping students compete at the state level for many years. In 2016, Lopez decided to return to his work in collision as an Area Manager of Operations for CARSTAR, overseeing the western market and managing a shop in Northern Arizona. However, he couldn’t stay away from education for long. Understanding the shortage of talent within the industry, Lopez decided to return to the East Valley Institute of Technology as a Collision and Refinishing Instructor. Lopez is also a longtime I-CAR instructor and Educational Advisory Committee Member.

Jeff Wilson
Educator, CTE Department Chair
Kingwood Park High
  Jeff Wilson was raised in the collision industry. Wilson’s father owned a collision repair facility, as well as a wrecker service and mechanic shop, where his father employed him all through high school. It was through these years that Wilson was taught all the areas of the business and how to be successful. After high school, Wilson attended Sam Houston State University and earned his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology and Engineering with a minor in Education. His first job was teaching manufacturing at Humble ISD, which is where he began his long journey in education. Wilson now teaches Collision and Refinishing at Kingwood Park High School, where students graduate the program entry-level ready with I-CAR credits under their belt.

Bill Stage
Principle, Business Development Career and Technical Education
  Bill Stage has enjoyed over 30 years of success in the collision repair industry and currently serves as I-CAR’s Principal, Career and Technical Education Business Development. He has dedicated a large majority of his 10-year career with I-CAR to working with collision repair educators around the nation. In the past, he has served on I-CAR’s international board of directors and as chairman of the I-CAR international advisory committee. Prior to joining I-CAR, Stage was the owner of a collision center, served as Manager of Network Systems for AkzoNobel Car Refinishes and was Vice President, Field Operations for Mitchell International.