Panel to Discuss Profiting from Aluminum Repairs

April 7, 2015

ST. PAUL, MINN., April 3, 2015—The aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 is a game-changer; it’s taken what has been a niche material—used primarily (and sparingly) in high-end vehicles—and made it the essential component of America’s best-selling vehicle. And with more aluminum-bodied vehicles expected in the near future, collision repair businesses are left to consider making a substantial business investment, or be left behind.

In a panel discussion at the FenderBender Management Conference in May, three shop owners from three different regions of the county, each with very different yet equally successful transitions to aluminum repair, will share their stories, strategies and secrets to making structural aluminum repair a profitable investment for your business.

The hour-long discussion, “Profiting from Aluminum,” will take place Tuesday, May 19, in a large-group setting following that day’s Networking Lunch. Tommy Suggs, owner of European Collision Repair; Randy Yockey, owner of Friendly Ford/CARSTAR Friendly; and Ron Reichen, owner of Precision Body & Paint, will serve as the discussion’s panelists, covering the following topics:

  • How to determine whether/when to equip your shop for aluminum
  • Key differences in aluminum vs. steel repairs
  • The essential tools, equipment and training
  • The return on investment and how to make aluminum repair a profitable part of your business  

Reichen, an accomplished collision repair industry veteran, operating two shops in Bend and Beaverton, Oregon, has put his business ahead of the curve for structural aluminum repair, holding multiple high-end automaker certifications and having already worked on the material for nearly two decades.

Suggs is all in on aluminum, having crafted his Georgia-based business around the advanced material. He built his first clean room in 2008, and in 2013, he built a 10,000-square-foot, aluminum-only facility across the street from his shop. Suggs has since opened a second, all-aluminum repair center in Nashville.

Yockey has a different perspective, as both the owner of a Ford dealership and an adjacent collision repair facility operating under the CARSTAR umbrella. His body shop has gone through the process of becoming a Ford-recognized aluminum repair facility, and as part of the CARSTAR network, he has an intimate knowledge of the MSO’s own, unique aluminum consulting-and-certification program

“Both the diversity of the panelists’ backgrounds and their respective track records of success will give attendees a unique opportunity to get an inside look at what makes aluminum structural repair a profitable business opportunity,” FenderBender editor Jake Weyer said. “The knowledge and experience that this group brings will help settle many of the lingering questions—and doubts—shop owners nationwide have about aluminum repair.”

The FenderBender Management Conference, scheduled from May 18–20 in Philadelphia, will include educational sessions, engaging workshops, panel discussions, and networking opportunities, all aimed at helping shop owners and managers make money, save money and work smarter.

For more information and to claim your seat at the conference, go to