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Q&A: A Look at CIC's Projects, Goals

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May 20, 2019—The Collision Industry Conference introduced a new committee at the meeting in April. The committee, Talent Pool, Recruitment & Development, aims to bring a talented pool of people together to discuss and take action into solving the talent shortage in the collision repair industry.

Dave Luehr, owner of Elite Body Shop Solutions, is the new committee's chair. According to Luehr's presentation and data provided by the Collision Repair Education Foundation, more than 21,500 collision repair technicians leave the industry every year. An additional 31,000 technicians leave their current employers for another job within the industry. 

Luehr shares some insight into the committee's plans going forward.

As told to Melissa Steinken

Why was this committee formed?

Jeff Peevy,the CIC chairman, and I recently had a discussion about the shortage of people entering our trade. He asked me if I would be willing to take on a committee at CIC to address the problem. I agreed and I can't think of a better group of people to assemble a think tank than the people that attend CIC.

What can you share about some of the projects on the horizon? 

Many of the people I've spoken to agree with me that much of the problem we faced could be partly solved if shop owners could make their businesses more "attractive" to the potential workforce. This could mean the creation of such projects as an apprenticeship program, structured career paths,etc. We've also been in discussions with the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) about how we can bring a very fragmented industry together to make a bigger impact working with schools. 

What did you mean at the CIC meeting when you referred to a mastermind group that has leaders with all types of skill sets working together?

I don't think any group is better qualified to attack the problem like the talented folks that attend CIC. There is a wide array of skill sets with people working in many different facets of the collision repair industry. 

If, as a committee, we can bring all this talent together, working in a focused manner, I really believe we can make a difference.

How can people in the industry start not only getting others interested in this trade but retain these people?

Leadership is always the answer. People nowadays want to work for a place that has a vision, a higher purpose than just wrenching on a car in exchange for a buck. People want to know how the work they do with their hands is contributing to something important. People also want structure and understanding about how they can reach their own career goals. 

A good leader knows how to do these things. I don't know if the Talent Pool Committee can  teach people to become leaders, but it is certainly one of my personal missions in life. 

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