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Mark Persavich has been in the collision repair industry since the 1970s. And, over the years, the respected refinish technician has developed an exacting personality that demands excellence of himself. 

The reason for Persavich’s approach is simple: It’s the only way to thrive in his profession. If you get lackadaisical as a painter, the comebacks can add up, and stress can mount. 

Persavich, who was nominated for a 2016 FenderBender Award, sounds rather at ease these days. And it’s understandable, considering he has seldom had a comeback in his roughly three years working for his current employer, Citrus Kia in Crystal River, Fla. 

“You’ve got to be pretty picky with your work,” Persavich explains. “If you’re not, you’re not going to last long at all. You’ve got to give it that extra step, have a little pride.” 

“In all my years doing this, he’s probably the top painter I’ve ever seen, for color matching,” says Denny Johnson, body shop manager at Citrus Kia, who also commends Persavich’s training aptitude.

Persavich provides his tips for getting painters to provide maximum value to their shops. 


Foster a Teaching Environment

Even the occasional comeback can disrupt a shop, Persavich says. Thus, it’s in everyone’s interest to get young painters up to speed swiftly. 

“Let’s just say you’re painting one panel,” he says. “If something’s wrong with it, you’ve got to re-do it, and, the more times you’ve got to re-do something, the worse it gets.” 

That’s why Persavich suggests having young painters take notes and glean as much advice as possible during the first 3–5 years of their careers. 

Learning to color match by viewing vehicles in natural lighting, or using an acetone to avoid issues with metallics? Those are lessons typically learned through studying the habits of experienced co-workers, he notes. 

“It’s all about preparation,” Persavich says. 


Hire for the Hungriest

The main lesson Persavich stresses when he tutors young painters: Outwork everyone. 

He feels the best way to get budding painters up to speed quickly is by stressing the importance of logging as many on-the-job hours as reasonably possible early on. 

“You can never really learn too much,” Persavich says. “Because, if a painter starts getting comebacks, and they don’t even know how to take care of them … that hurts [co-workers]. You’ve got to know how to get yourself out of trouble.”


Utilizing Advisory Boards

Persavich has served as an advisory board member for nearly two decades at Withlacoochee Technical College in Inverness, Fla., occasionally aiding in collision repair education at a school where his brother, Allan, is an instructor. The painter donates his time, working with students on mixing and tinting colors.

Persavich says serving on the advisory board has been valuable in the respect that it helps keep him updated on industry trends. Another perk: Advising at the local technical college allows him to scout for possible apprentices for Citrus Kia. 

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