Bill Shaw has spent nearly his entire life in collision repair. First in his father’s body shop in Ohio, then through his 20-plus years with PPG, and now as the president of the Collision Industry Foundation (CIF), Shaw has seen firsthand what sits at the core of this industry.
“It’s made up of hard workers that are genuine and really care about their industry and all those who participate in it,” he says.
For proof, look no further than the work CIF has done over the past decade, helping areas such as Detroit through the economic downturn, giving disaster aid to the gulf following Hurricane Katrina, and now, on the East Coast, in the aftermath of storm Sandy.
Shaw sat down with FenderBender to discuss the CIF, its plan for helping those out East, and how people in the industry can get involved.
What’s the overall mission of CIF?
It’s really to encourage the industry to give back on two folds. One is on specific charitable projects that are important to the collision industry. And the other element, because CIF is really the charitable leg of the industry, is our disaster relief activity, when we can help those in need. A case in point would be with storm Sandy. Those are really the two key things the CIF is involved with.
What are some of CIF’s more influential past projects?
CIF was really born out of trying to help the National Auto Body Council with Camp Mak-A-Dream [a camp dedicated to children and teens with cancer], way back when. It’s really evolved into some of the charitable projects we’re doing now.
Over the last four years or so, we’ve been really involved with the downturn of the economy and helping with poverty. It started with a project called Blanket the City: Detroit. That’s an automotive community, in Detroit, that was the hardest hit.
—Bill Shaw, president, Collision Industry Foundation
In 2008, we launched Blanket the City: Detroit to raise funds to support three local Detroit charities. The first was Gleaners, the local, Detroit-metro-based food bank. The second was the Downtown Detroit Project, which was an organization in conjunction with United Way that helped the homeless get jobs through the United Way to help clean up the streets in Detroit. Roger Penske and his organization were heavily involved and able to donate some of their resources, and we were able to make a donation to that. Then, the third one was the Children’s Home of Detroit.
Can you talk a bit about the CIF’s Crash Hunger campaign?
To be able to impact communities in other areas of the industry, we launched Crash Hunger, a current campaign that ran through 2012, and one we’re considering for 2013. That campaign was widespread, and it had a number of different legs.
Primarily, it was to raise funds into the CIF budget to where, in turn, we were able to help support Feed America, which is kind of the umbrella organization that all the local food banks participate in. We sponsored donations at our Collision Industry Conference (CIC) meetings, as well as our gala event that we held at SEMA, where for the past three years, we’ve raised about $15,000 each year.
Also, we really encourage the industry, as part of Crash Hunger, to host local food drives and volunteer their time. So, Crash Hunger was really about rallying the collision industry to helping give back.
Can you describe the work CIF has done to help the East Coast following storm Sandy?
As far as disaster relief in Sandy, what we’re trying to do is bring awareness—which really started at the CIC planning meeting in Palm Springs (Jan. 24–25)—and let the industry at large know that there are a number of industry partners and collision repair shops that have lost a lot of their business assets.
A number of these shops were well under six feet of water. So, all of their equipment, office equipment, paper work and supplies were all lost. A lot of these businesses didn’t have flood insurance. So, insurance claims were denied.
—Bill Shaw, president, Collision Industry Foundation
It’s our understanding that FIMA (the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration), from a subsidy standpoint, is primarily focused on residential loss. Although FIMA has provided some business loans, those are loans that need to be paid back. Those are expenses those businesses will have.
What we’re trying to do, which started in Palm Springs and we’ll be communicating over the next several months, is to encourage the industry to make donations into the CIF disaster relief fund. Within the CIF, we have an application process for those in need to describe their situation. All independent businesses or actual technicians can apply. And then all the funds that are raised, we will allocate those funds to those who applied.
It’s a similar process to what we used with Katrina a few years ago, and really just trying to give back and help those in need.
Can you describe the state of things for those on the East Coast?
Myself and two other trustees—Kelly Broderick and Jim Muse—spent a day visiting some shops in both Brooklyn and Staten Island and saw firsthand the devastation.
I think, not only were we overwhelmed with the devastation that was done, but we were very touched by the resiliency of these collision shop owners and technicians and their ability to stand up and rebuild so quickly. What I mean by rebuild is not only rebuild their offices and get new furniture and equipment and sort through all their paperwork that was lost, but also support their technicians and still pay them through this process—[and support] their customers. In one case there was a shop owner that was covering the deductibles of his customers, because the vehicles that were in possession of the body shop were total losses because they were completely flooded.
We were amazed how these operators with very little support kind of took it upon themselves to rebuild so quickly.
What does that say about the industry?
I think it says that the industry as a whole is a very giving and caring industry. Over the years, as I’ve been a part of the CIF, I’ve seen that. Whether it’s disaster relief with Katrina or what we’ve seen so far in Sandy, or in Detroit, or with Crash Hunger, people have been willing to get involved and help others. It’s a very caring industry, made up of mostly independent business people. It makes us very encouraged as to how we can continue our overall mission and get others involved.
What do the next months hold for the relief effort?
It’s our hope that the collision industry really stands up and gives as much help as needs to be done.
There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done. We’ll make subsequent trips over there to make sure we can reach out to all those in need. We’ll be reaching out to the local body shop associations to make sure they’re aware of the Collision Industry Foundation’s disaster relief efforts, so that we can partner and help as many as we can.
We have an all-day planning session coming up in March to set the stage for the future of CIF, and to review our current campaigns like Crash Hunger, disaster relief, but also the education projects we’ll be working on.